This book is way more than a pet project and it ended up being a deep, deep dive not just into the actor’s film work but also to archival press sources. Yul Brynner: Exoticism, Cosmopolitanism and Screen Masculinity has a due date for March in Edinburgh University Press’s International Film Stars Series. I’m tickled pink and it’s been a joy working with the publisher. Here’s the blurb:
Yul Brynner’s star image was built on cosmopolitan flair, shifting tales of origin, baldness, as well as film roles as foreign rulers, freedom fighters, army officials, gunslingers and secret agents of ever-shifting ethnicities. Whether Cossacks, marauding pirate captains or cross-dressing torch singers, Brynner’s characters were invariably stand-outs.
This book explores his exotic and masculine star image and its transformations from lavish Orientalist Hollywood spectacles of the 1950s to 1960s European co-productions, 1970s action films and scifi. Extensively researched, it covers the actor’s entire film catalogue, his rumoured yet unrealised projects, television work and stage appearances, as well as their international media reception. Thematically organised, the book inquires after racial casting politics, the construction of sex symbols, Brynner’s humanitarian work and the recurring poses and gestures that characterised his performance style.