Local author will discuss life of famed director


LEWISTON — Writer Mark Griffin was born and raised in Lewiston and spent many hours as a teen wandering through the stacks of the Lewiston Public Library in search of books about his passion: classic movies.

He will return to the LPL Tuesday, March 9, to talk about and sign copies of his own book, “A Hundred or More Hidden Things,” a 346-page volume dealing with the life of famed film director Vincente Minnelli.

His presentation, open to the public free of charge, will take place at 7 p.m. in Callahan Hall on the library’s third floor.

The Oscar-winning director of such cinematic classics as “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “An American in Paris” and “Gigi,” Minnelli infused his films and their characters with depth and complexity.

That Minnelli was also married to Judy Garland (among others) and Liza Minnelli’s father only added to his notoriety and mystique.

Minnelli’s intense privacy regarding his personal life, including his sexuality, has long intrigued film aficionados. Hollywood historians and devotees of his work have interpreted Minnelli’s themes to be at least partly autobiographical, but until now the extent to which Minnelli’s life both shaped and is reflected in his films has remained unsatisfactorily explored.

Griffin became fascinated with Minnelli and his work in 1984, when he discovered Minnelli’s “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.” Calling the incident “life-altering,” Griffin committed to piecing together every facet of Minnelli’s life in an effort to understand how his experiences were captured in his richly layered movies.

As part of his research, Griffin interviewed more than 100 of people close to Minnelli, including actors Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Lauren Bacall and Angela Lansbury.

Griffin will illustrate his talk with a video-montage showing clips from several of Minnelli’s most popular films, enhanced by audio overlays of Griffin’s interviews with actors, screenwriters and others familiar with the director’s work.

“It’s interesting how things in life come full circle,” said Griffin. “Many years ago, when I was a high school student and a cub reporter for the Sun Journal’s Academic Advocate, it was Rick Speer at the library who suggested that I write a weekly video review column for the Advocate, which I did for two or three years, often when I should have been doing my homework. Now, so many years later, I can say that that early training and experience has resulted in this published biography of a legendary Hollywood icon.”

Griffin’s essays, film reviews and reporting have appeared in the Boston Globe, several anthologies and other publications.

The LPL is at 200 Lisbon St. For more information, call 513-3135.