THE BIG BOOK OF B MOVIES Or How Low Was My Budget. Alex Cross. St. Martin’s Press; 1981.
A very entertaining, lavishly illustrated look at the low-budget second features of Hollywood’s golden age. Cross traces the B film from its origins up to seventies "B" style movies to the television programs they engendered with a breezy, informative style. Chapters deal with thrillers, series and serials, westerns, horror films, musicals, epics and so on. Only on occasion does Cross examine any film with much depth; mostly this is an overview of the subject, but it is full of some good background details as well as notes about the stars of these films, both the up and comers and bigger stars on their way down. Cross also looks at the history of such studios as Republic, Monogram, PRC and others who churned out low-budget B’s alongside some of the majors. There are dozens and dozens of great, crisp black and white photos often with highly amusing captions. [Photo: Beverly Garland screams at one of The Alligator People; from the book's inside cover.
Verdict: Good show! ***.