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Conan the Barbarian: The Official Story of the Film review

Also available in Spanish: ISBN-13: 9788467964325
Conan el Bárbaro: La Historia Oficial de la Película

Also available in German: ISBN-13: 9783986663438
Conan der Barbar: Die Entstehungsgeschichte des Kultfilms

Also available in French: ISBN-13: 9782364809482
Conan le Barbare: L'histoire d'un Film Culte

Also available in Portuguese: ISBN-13: 9788550822174 
Conan o Bárbaro: a História Oficial do Filme

John Milius's magnum opus gets an official hefty coffee-table book on its 41st anniversary.

You know the sword-and-sorcery story: Warrior. Thief. Gladiator. Conqueror. Conan.

It takes a little from "The Tower of the Elephant", "Queen of the Black Coast", "The Devil in Iron", "Shadows in Zamboula", "A Witch Shall Be Born", "Worms of the Earth", "The Shadow Kingdom", "The Cat and the Skull", "The Thing in the Crypt" and Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954).

Young Conan learns of the Riddle of Steel from his dad (William Smith doing his best Jack Palance impersonation). 
Thulsa Doom kills Conan's family and straps Conan to Friedrich Nietzsche's Wheel of Pain, it doesn't appear to do anything, all we know is that it just makes you dead or ripped. 
After 15 years of going around in circles, dreaming of revenge and gulping down genuine Joe Weider Olympian Super Protein shakes all day, Conan is bought and sent to gladiator college where he picks up an Austrian German accent. 
He performs well in the arena, is given his freedom, has adventures with Hyrkanian archer Subotai and Queen of thieves/girlfriend Valeria. 
He finally tracks down Thulsa Doom. 
Thulsa puts Conan in a time-out on the Tree of Woe.
Thulsa kills Valeria.
Conan kills Thorgrim, Rexor and beheads Doom.

Do we get exclusive content in this new retrospective hardback? Yup, we get fresh stuff from:

Film Producer Raffaella De Laurentiis (Dino's daughter)

Film Producer Buzz Feitshans (Husband of Raffaella)

Assistant Film Editor María Luisa Pino

Special Effects Makeup Artist Colin Arthur (former Husband of María)

Special Effects Makeup Supervisor Carlo de Marchis

What I did like:

A nice preface authored by Raffaella.

The involvement of the Frazetta Girls.

Production artist William Stout's oil painting portrait of Sandahl Bergman as Valeria.

Lots of movie poster art by Renato Casaro.

Kwaidan (1964) and El Condor (1970) are mentioned.

Bearded and beardless pics of Arnold Schwarzenegger as King Conan.

John Milius’s screenplay: King Conan - Crown of Iron is mentioned.

Animator Jim Danforth's art for the unmade Oliver Stone/Edward R. Pressman version of Conan set in the future which should have been called Conan: Castles in Spain.

Visual effects director Mark Wolf's concept scale models.

Emilio Ruiz del Río's miniature of King Osric's castle.

3 Polaroids of Thulsa Doom's transformation.

Rare pictures of maverick film director John Milius in his prime.

Valeria alternate wardrobe by costume designer John Bloomfield.

James Earl Jones's hilarious response to the notorious roast meat rumour. 

Subotai could have been played by Hong Kong actor/director Jackie Chan.  

The Universal Studio Tour "The Adventures of Conan: A Sword and Sorcery Spectacular" 18-minute show is not overlooked.

What I did not like:

Only 175 pages! I wanted more, much more. It's a quick read.

Only for the casual Conan the Barbarian (1982) movie fan. Longtime Conan movie connoisseurs will be left wanting.

Concentrates too much on the special effects and not enough on the actors.

Where are the NEW interviews with Peter Alexander (president of Totally Fun Company), Saralo MacGregor (female pit fighter/John Milius's personal assistant), Dragon Dronet (pit fighter), Donald Gibb (Osric's Guard), José Luis Ayestarán (double for Arnold), Corrie Jansen (stunts), Terry Leonard (stunt coordinator), Tony Brubaker (stunt double for James Earl Jones), Conan Angelo (massage therapist who played eleven different characters, killed three different times by Valeria), Jorge Sanz, Jack Taylor, Pilar Alcón, Sven-Ole Thorsen, Sandahl Bergman, Mr. Pipeline Gerry Lopez and Arnold?

NO deep dive into the philosophy presented in the film. 

Where's Arnold's eulogy from Dino De Laurentiis's funeral?

NO Almería Walk of Fame pics.

NO mention that The Indalo of Almería (a magical symbol) is painted numerous times on Conan's body.

Where are the concept sketches of the Tower Troll and of Yaro by production designer Ron Cobb? 

NO mention that the death screams of Sven-Ole Thorsen and Jack Taylor are sampled in Sega's Golden Axe arcade video game.

NO mention of the FCA PPI commercials in the Heads Rolling section.

NO mention that Milius is known as "The Father of the Kickturn".

The Egyptian Queen Painting was an inspiration, but it's not featured in the Frank Frazetta's art section. 

NO page for Pictish Scout Franco Columbu. NO pic of his back tattoo! NO vintage Columbu interview.

NO page for Slave Girl Pilar Alcón. 

NO page for High Priestess Celia Kaye. 

NO page for Princess Yasimina Valérie Quennessen.  

Danish actor Erik Holmey is completely ignored. Not cool!

NO Valeria pit fighter pics with her arms raised in the air. The reason why Conan puts his arms up at the end of the movie. It's the Pit-fighter’s salute. 

NO pics from the filmed but cut procession scene.

Where are Alban Yves de Vestel's pics of the Thulsa Doom cut fountain scene and of Mako in armour?

NO Richard Corben storyboard art!

NO Bill Sienkiewicz "A Conan Event" 1984 calendar art.

NO mention of the early screening of the movie in Nairobi (Capital of Kenya).

NO pics of Arnold and Sandahl at the premiere.

Where are the one-sheet posters from Thailand by Kwow (Anuwat Chairussamewong) and the Czech Republic by Zdeněk Vlach.

NO "He conquered an empire with his sword. She conquered HIM with her bare hands" newspaper advert featuring Valeria as a different actress.

Cabiria (1914), Alexander Nevsky (1938), The Virgin Spring (1960), One-Eyed Jacks (1961), Blazing Saddles (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979), The Hand (1981), The Running Man (1987), The Last Stand (2013) and Stranger Things (Season 4, Episode 9) are not mentioned for their Conan connections.

NO mention of The Swords of Zinjaban by Catherine Crook de Camp and L. Sprague de Camp.

NO mention of the dragon ship figurehead of carved oak (Drakenkop van Appels - Museum number: 1938,0202.1).

NO mention of the Wheel of Pain by Rogue Fitness. Designed and built for the Arnold Strongman Classic.

NO mention of the Rueda del Dolor reconstrucción total - Wheel of Pain total rebuild project in Spain.

NO mention of the gossamer gown that was reused in Conan the Destroyer (1984).

NO mention of Thomas Danneberg, Arnold's voice for the German-speaking market. Schwarzenegger's native Austrian German accent was too strong for the dub. 

NO translation of the Latin that is heard in Basil Poledouris's choral music.

NO mention that the Total Recall theme (The Dream by Jerry Goldsmith) is an homage to the Conan theme (The Anvil of Crom by Basil Poledouris).

We needed to hear more from Swordsmith Jody Samson and Tim Huchthausen. No explanation on how to properly read "Suffer no guilt yee who wield this in the name of Crom" from the runes on the Father's Sword.

NO mention that Rexor, was named after Fred Rexer, the Spiritual Advisor for the film.

NO pic of Milius crossing swords with Schwarzenegger while Ben Davidson is watching.

NO vintage Ben Davidson interview.

NO Gerry Lopez Pipeline gear advert.

NO LIFE Magazine October 1982 cover.

NO pics of the Halloween Collegeville costumes.

NO pics of the Remco fully poseable action figures.

NO mention of Kallias and the Sword of Crom.

The typos, missing captions and inaccuracies that appear from time to time. The book feels rushed and it needed a good editor. 

I give it a 7/10. A beautifully made making-of book! But... I can hear the lamentations of the super fans. This could have been a much more insightful time capsule... If only John Walsh had taken the time to interview the actors and stunt performers, extensively. Many incredible, hilarious and touching personal stories are still very much in need of being chronicled. A meatier second edition would be amazing!

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