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Designs on Film ~ A Century of Hollywood Art Direction
Author: Cathy Whitlock and the Art Directors Guild
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: It Books
Publish Date: November 30, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060881224
ISBN-13: 978-0060881221
Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 9.1 x 1.3 inches


With hundreds of rare photographs, set sketches, and original renderings showcasing films of every era and genre—many shown here for the very first time—author Cathy Whitlock offers movie fans a backstage pass to 100 years of Hollywood’s most memorable film sets. In the vein of Deborah Landis’s Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design, Whitlock’s Designs on Film delivers a fascinating tour through Hollywood’s back lots, including the stories of how numerous movies came to their final on-screen looks—whether by collaboration, conflict, or divine chance. Movie enthusiasts, set designers, and fans of classic and modern Hollywood will thrill for this look behind the scenes of Tinsel Town’s greatest triumphs.

Book Description

Who can forget the over-the-top, white-on-white, high-gloss interiors through which Fred Astaire danced in Top Hat? The modernist high-rise architecture, inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, in the adaptation of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead? The lavish, opulent drawing rooms of Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence? Through the use of film design—called both art direction and production design in the film industry—movies can transport us to new worlds of luxury, highlight the ornament of the everyday, offer a vision of the future, or evoke the realities of a distant era. In Designs on Film, journalist and interior designer Cathy Whitlock illuminates the often undercelebrated role of the production designer in the creation of the most memorable moments in film history. Through a lush collection of rare archival photographs, Whitlock narrates the evolving story of art direction over the course of a century—from the massive Roman architecture of Ben-Hur to the infamous Dakota apartment in Rosemary's Baby to the digital CGI wonders of Avatar's Pandora.

Drawing on insights from the most prominent Hollywood production designers and the historical knowledge of the venerable Art Directors Guild, Whitlock delves into the detailed process of how sets are imagined, drawn, built, and decorated. Designs on Film is the must-have look book for film lovers, movie buffs, and anyone looking to draw interior design inspiration from the constructions and confections of Hollywood. Whitlock lifts the curtain on movie magic and celebrates the many ways in which art direction and set design allow us to lose ourselves in the diverse worlds showcased on the big screen.

About the Authors:

Cathy Whitlock is an interior designer, journalist, and the author ofRe-de-sign. She is a contributing writer for Traditional Home and The Huffington Post and her design, film, lifestyle, and celebrity profiles have appeared in American Airlines Celebrated Living, Architectural Digest, Glamour (UK), and Veranda magazine, among others. Her blog, Cinema Style, chronicles the world of art direction in film. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Art Directors Guild is the successor to several organizations, the earliest formed in 1924 in Hollywood. The Guild is both a professional society and a labor organization, recognized as IATSE Local 800. Its 2,000 members practice the art-crafts of: production design, art direction, illustration, set design, model making, graphic design, matte art, scenic art, and title art. Thomas A. Walsh, a narrative designer for film, television, and the Broadway stage, has served as the Guild's president since 2002.

Editors Note:

Cathy will be presenting and signing her book at the following venues:

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
Barnes and Noble
Book Signing
1800 Rosecrans Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
11:00 AM-3:00 PM

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
Beverly Hills Women’s Club
1700 Chevy Chase Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
6:30 PM

Friday, February 4th, 2011
Book Soup
Book Signing
8818 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA
7:00 PM

Saturday, February 12th, 2011
Book Signing and Lecture
Nashville Antiques and Garden Show
2:00 PM

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
Book Signing and Lecture
F. Schumacher
979 Third Avenue
New York, NY

Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Book Signing
J. Robert Scott
Los Angeles, CA
11:00 - 2:00
also Friday,March 25th, 2011
1:30 - 2:30

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
Book Signing and Lecture
Atlanta History Center
Margaret Mitchell House
Atlanta, GA 30305

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011
Summit Speech School
Summit, NJ

Thursday, April 7th, 2011
Book Signing and Lecture
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
Memphis, TN


Check her website under the heading of "Events" for TBD dates and times.  For signed copies contact Caty at:


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