The Bookshelf

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Tony Crawley's informal and engaging biography, The Steven Spielberg Story lets the director talk at length about his filmmaking methods. From such teenage experiments as Firelight to his elaborate space fantasies, Close Encounters and E.T., Spielberg pursues stubbornly his youthful film dreams (Morrow, New York. $5.95).

In Ernest Lubitsch's American Comedies, William Paul presents an impressively perceptive analysis of the director's flair for sophisticated, witty and caustic comments on social mores. In films like Trouble in Paradise and Design for Living, Lubitsch reveals an urbane skepticism particularly attuned to changing trends in film comedy (Columbia U. Press, MBW, York, $24.95).

In Charles Bronson, a critical study of the macho actor, David Downey attributes the essential sameness of Bronson's films to his strong personality that inhibits the casting of top female stars opposite him (St. Martin's, New York, $9.95).

A paperback reprint of David Gallon's sensitive and absorbing biography, James Dean, The Mutant King, illuminates Dean's vulnerability that brought his promising career to an early and tragic end (St. Martin's, New York, $8.95).

In her posthumous autobiography completed by Paddy Calistro, Edith Head's Hollywood, the famous couturiere to the stars looks back on 60 years in the film industry. Her spectacular creations, honored with eight Oscars, glamorized such celebrities as Dietrich, Lombard, Swanson, Davis and Bow (Dutton, New York, $19.95).

A definitive study of an animation classic, Walt Disney's "Fantasia" is a large format volume whose elegant layout and superb illustrations enrich John Culhane's eloquent text. It follows the production of Disney's most ambitious undertaking, quoting staff conference transcripts and interviews, and using sketches, storyboards and film frames (Abrams, New York, $35).

Jay Leyda's classic, Kino, appears in a long awaited edition that updates his basic study of the historic role of Russian and Soviet movies in the development of cinematic art. Extensively documented with original material, Leyda's definitive work discusses with impressive authority the social events, the films and the creative artists that profoundly affected cinema's esthetics, techniques and content (Princeton U. Press, Princeton. NJ, $40/12.95).

Wes D. Gehring's Charles Chaplin: A Bio-Bibliography effectively assesses Chaplin's life and times in a well-rounded biographical, bibliographical and critical survey. Significant reference materials are synthesized into an essay summing up the comedian's career (Greenwood, Westport, CT, $35).

In Something Like An Autobiography, Japanese director Akira Kurosawa offers a penetrating and utterly honest assessment of his life and career. …