In Magnificent Obsession: The Outrageous History of Film Buffs, Collectors, Scholars, and Fanatics, author Anthony Slide looks at the way film has dominated the minds and lives of film buffs, film collectors, film academics, and just plain fans of past movies. Based on the author's more than fifty years in the field and his personal, up-front knowledge of the subject, chapters provide unique documentation on film buffs who once created a livelihood from their hobby, including long-forgotten Chaw Mank and the vast array of film clubs that he headed and New York radio and television sensation Joe Franklin. The history of fans and their fan clubs are discussed, as well as the first and only periodical, Films in Review, which catered both to film scholars and film buffs. The histories of several legendary film collectors such as David Bradley and Herb Graff are featured, as is Hollywood's Silent Movie Theatre, where film buffs found a home from the 1940s onwards, sharing it with drug dealers, male prostitutes, fantasists, and hit men.
Magnificent Obsession is vast in its approach, discussing the entire history of the phenomenon of the film buff from the early 1910s through the present and documenting the manner in which film buffs have changed--thanks to the internet--from relatively gentle and kind individuals to the obsessive, sometimes overbearing, and often self-important film buffs of today.