Celluloid Skyline
published by
Alfred A. Knopf
(US) and Bloomsbury (UK).

A tale of two cities, both called “New York.”
One is a real city, an urban agglomeration of millions. The other is a mythic city, so rich in memory and association and sense of place that to people everywhere it has come to seem real: the New York of films such as 42nd Street, Rear Window, King Kong, Dead End, The Naked City, Ghostbusters, Annie Hall, Taxi Driver, Do the Right Thing, and The Fifth Element – a magical city of the imagination that is as complex, dynamic and familiar as its namesake of stone and steel.

As Celluloid Skyline reveals, the dream city of the movies – created by more than a century of films, since the very dawn the medium itself – may hold the secret to the glamour of its real counterpart. Here are the cocktail parties and power lunches, the subway chases and opening nights,




the playground rumbles of observation-deck romances. Here is an invented Gotham, a place designed specifically for action, drama, and adventure, a city of bright avenues and mysterious sidestreets, of soaring towers and intimate corners, where remarkable people do existing, amusing, romantic, scary things. Celluloid Skyline takes us from the tenement to the penthouse, from New York to Hollywood and back again, from 1896 to the present, all the while showing how the real and mythic cities reflected, changed, and taught each other.

Illustrated with scores of rare and unusual production images culled from the author’s decade-long research in studio archives and private collections around the country, Celluloid Skyline offers a new way to see not only America’s great metropolis, but cities the world over.