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Grass: Untold Stories
Bahman Maghsoudlou
Mazda Publishers, 2008

Reviews and Blurbs

 

“Mr. Maghsoudlou has helped us fill many gaps in our understanding of the direction taken by the world in the early years of the 20th Century. It is a book to be read, savored and treasured by the enlightened and curious reader.”
—Andrew Sarris

Grass, the legendary documentary by the King Kong of filmmakers, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, and the remarkable adventurer/spy Marguerite Harrison, remains one of the most incredible records of man versus nature in cinema history. The even more astonishing story of how they accomplished such a feat has now been told with great skill and affection by Bahman Maghsoudlou."

—Dennis Doros, film historian/archivist.

“The making of Grass has always been shrouded in mystery; now, Bahman Maghsoudlou has lifted its veils and not only told us how the film was made, but also why it deserves its unique place in film history."

—Richard Peña, Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Professor of Film Studies, Columbia University.

"As riveting and action-packed as a great adventure novel, ranging from the trenches of World War I to the icy mountain passes of Persia, Bahman Maghsoudlou's account of the personalities, passions and perils behind the making of the legendary documentary Grass brings to brilliant life one of cinema history's most daring exploits. In filmmakers Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack and Marguerite Harrison, the author sketches three of the most extraordinary characters to ever grace a movie, behind or in front of the camera. This book would make a fascinating movie itself."

—Godfrey Cheshire, film critic, filmmaker

“In addition to providing an unusually detailed “Making of,” as it might be called today, this book recounts dozens of remarkable stories, and suggests many others. Hanging over the whole project is the irony that the first feature film to be shot in Iran was made by Americans, six years before the first Iranian-produced feature.”

—Peter Scarlet, Artistic Director, Tribeca Film Festival

The Reviews:

“A filmmaker himself, Maghsoudlou offers his narrative in a distinctly cinematic fashion with close-ups, flashbacks and traveling shots. The Bakhtiaris' quest for grass may be long gone, but the record of the tribe's epic struggle for survival remains.”

— Amir Taheri, Asharq Al-Awsat Book Review, August 21, 2009

“…Maghsoudlou has ably brought together material that lets him tell the story of three extraordinary American adventurers and their excellent adventure filming the arduous Bakhtiari spring migration. The tale itself is a remarkable one, and Maghsoudlou conveniently brings together several sources to provide the non-specialist reader with a fine – if not fully contextualized – account of it.”

—Daniel Bradburd, Review of Middle East Studies, MESA, Volume 43, No. 2, Winter 2009.

“…I recommend this book enthusiastically to all who love cinema, who love Iran (and Anatolia), and who are fascinated by the incredible difficulties endured in making this landmark film. Those who study transhumant migration will find much of interest when the book is read in conjunction with the film itself. It goes without saying that for students of film history, this book is absolutely required reading.”

—William O. Beeman, The Middle East Journal, Volume 65. No. 3, Summer 2011.

“Anyone interested in cinematographic documentaries of primitive tribal life, tribal customs and ways of life, Iranian anthropology, as well as the strange lives of three American adventurers must read this book and obtain a DVD of the original documentary.”

—Cosroe Chaqueri, academic/historian, Paris.

Grass: Untold Stories carries the imperative of an extensive historical document, though it’s imbued with the pulp-like nature of two men and a woman following the path of a migratory Iranian tribe with adventurous rather than strictly anthropological motivations.”

Bidoun Magazine, New York, Spring 2010.