John Baxter was born in Sydney in 1939, but raised in the small town of Junee, where his father was a baker. With little else to do, he read voraciously, and went to the movies three times a week for most of his adolescence, which provided an instant education in Hollywood film making. His second interest, however, was science fiction, which he began writing in his late teens. He sold stories to British and American magazines, and in 1966 his first novel, THE GOD KILLERS, was published in the US and Britain. Meanwhile, he had moved back to Sydney, where he worked on a ‘girlie’ magazine, edited the first anthologies of Australian science-fiction, and wrote the first history of the Australian cinema.
In 1967 he joined the Australian Commonwealth Film Unit, becoming head of publicity. In his spare time, he wrote documentary scripts and joined a young director, Chris McGill, to produce and write the short films AFTER PROUST and NO ROSES FOR MICHAEL, which won a number of prizes. In 1969, he came to Europe, and showed AFTER PROUST at various film festivals, while also writing reports for Australian magazines. Meeting a Canadian radio journalist at the Venice film festival, he became a correspondent for Canadian radio, launching a long career in that medium.
Settling in London, he began writing books on the cinema, including a biography of the director Ken Russell, and studies of John Ford, Josef von Sternberg and the gangster film, and working as an arts journalist for various magazines, and for BBC radio. He also served on the juries of European film festivals.
In 1974 Hollins College in Virginia, USA, invited him to become visiting professor of film. He remained there for two years, during which time he collaborated with Thomas Atkins on THE FIRE CAME BY, a highly successful book of science speculation, and wrote a study of director King Vidor, as well as completing two novels, THE HERMES FALL and BIDDING.
Returning to London, he published the technological thriller THE BLACK YACHT. In 1979 he moved to Dublin, Ireland, and the following year returned to Australia. During his eight years there, he co-scripted the 1988 science fiction film THE TIME GUARDIANS, starring Carrie Fisher and Dean Stockwell, wrote and presented three TV series on the cinema, and produced and presented the ABC radio’s BOOKS AND WRITING.
In 1989 he moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a screenwriter and film journalist. The following year, he met his present wife, Marie-Dominique Montel, and moved to Paris. They have a daughter, Louise. Since moving to France, he has published biographies of Federico Fellini, Luis Bunuel, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas and Robert de Niro.
He also published a memoir, A POUND OF PAPER : CONFESSIONS OF A BOOK ADDICT, dealing mainly with his fascination for collecting and dealing in rare books. He has a major collection of about 10,000 modern first editions. He has recently written and published WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS : SEX AND LOVE IN THE CITY OF LIGHT, Paris as the erotic capital.
When not writing, he can be found prowling the bouquinistes along the Seine or cruising the internet in search of new acquisitions.
NORMAN LINDSAY : A LIFE. Random House, Sydney. In preparation.
WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS : SEX AND LOVE IN THE CITY OF LIGHT. Doubleday, London 2005. HarperCollins, New York, March 2006.
A POUND OF PAPER : CONFESSIONS OF A BOOK ADDICT. Doubleday, London 2002. St. Martin’s, New York 2003.
ROBERT DE NIRO. HarperCollins, London, October 2003.
THE MAKING OF DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS : THE MOVIE. Wizards of the Coast, 2000.
MYTHMAKER : THE LIFE AND WORK OF GEORGE LUCAS. HarperCollins, London 1999. Avon/Spike, New York 1999. Edizioni Lindau, Turin 2000.
WOODY ALLEN. HarperCollins, London 1998. Carroll and Graf, New York 1999. Edizioni Lindau, Turin 1999. Flamarion, Paris 2000. Sakuhinsha, Tokyo 2002.
STANLEY KUBRICK. HarperCollins, London 1997. Carroll and Graf, New York 1997. Editions de Seuil, Paris 1999. Edizioni Lindau, Turin 1999.
SPIELBERG : THE UNAUTHORISED BIOGRAPHY. HarperCollins, London 1996. Elsevier, Holland 1996. Kodokawa, Japan 1997. T&B Editores, Madrid 1999. Also China and Poland.
BUNUEL. Fourth Estate, London 1994. Carroll and Graf, New York 1998. T&B Editores, Madrid 1997.
FELLINI. Fourth Estate, London 1993. St. Martin’s, New York 1994. Ediciones B, Madrid 1995. Kodensha, Tokyo 1995.
FILMSTRUCK. Australia At the Movies. ABC Enterprises/Thomas Nelson, Melbourne 1987.
WHO BURNED AUSTRALIA? The Ash Wednesday Fires. New English Library, London 1982.
KING VIDOR. Simon and Schuster, New York 1976.
THE FIRE CAME BY : THE GREAT SIBERIAN EXPLOSION OF 1908. (with T.A. Atkins) Doubleday, New York. Macdonald, London 1976. Plus Warner (US), Futura (UK), Sperling and Kupfer (Italy), Tuttle (Japan), Tammi (Finland), Pomaire (Spain), Elsevier (Holland) and Econ Verlag (Germany).
THE HOLLYWOOD EXILES. Taplinger, New York 1976. Macdonald, London 1976.
STUNT : THE STORY OF THE GREAT MOVIE STUNT MEN. Doubleday, New York 1974. Macdonald, London 1974.
AN APPALLING TALENT: KEN RUSSELL. Michael Joseph, London 1973.
HOLLYWOOD IN THE SIXTIES. Tantivy Press, London 1972.
THE CINEMA OF JOHN FORD. Tantivy Press, London 1971.
THE CINEMA OF JOSEF VON STERNBERG. Tantivy Press, London 1971
SCIENCE FICTION IN THE CINEMA. Tantivy Press, London 1970. Paperback Library, New York 1971.
THE GANGSTER FILM. Tantivy Press, London 1970. Thomas Yoseloff, New York 1971.
HOLLYWOOD IN THE THIRTIES. A.S. Barnes, London 1968. Paperback Library, New York 1971
THE AUSTRALIAN CINEMA. Angus and Robertson, Sydney 1970.
BONDI BLUE. Allen and Unwin, Sydney 1993.
TORCHED. Grafton, London 1986 (with John Brosnan as ‘James Blackstone’). (as BRASIERS HUMAINS) Fleuve Noir, Paris 1988.
THE BLACK YACHT. Berkeley/Jove, New York 1982. New English Library, London 1982.
BIDDING. Granada, London 1980. (as BIDDERS) Lippincott, New York 1980. Berkeley Paperback, New York 1980.
THE KID. Viking, New York 1981.
THE HERMES FALL. Simon and Schuster, New York 1978. Granada, London 1978. Warner Paperback, New York 1978.
ADAM’S WOMAN. (Novelisation of screenplay by Richard Fielder and T.E.B. Clarke). Horwitz, Sydney 1968.
THE OFF-WORLDERS. Ace, New York 1966. (as THE GOD KILLERS) Horwitz, Sydney 1968.
(editor) THE PACIFIC BOOK OF AUSTRALIAN SCIENCE FICTION. Angus and Robertson, Sydney 1969.
(editor) THE SECOND PACIFIC BOOK OF AUSTRALIAN SCIENCE FICTION. Angus and Robertson, Sydney 1970.
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John Baxter Inventory
John Baxter's own web-site