For almost thirty years, David Thomson’s Biographical Dictionary of Film has been not merely “the finest reference book ever written about movies” (Graham Fuller, Interview), not merely the “desert island book” of art critic David Sylvester, not merely “a great, crazy masterpiece” (Geoff Dyer, The Guardian), but also “fiendishly seductive” (Greil Marcus, Rolling Stone). This new edition updates the older entries and adds 30 new ones: Darren Aronofsky, Emmanuelle Beart, Jerry Bruckheimer, Larry Clark, Jennifer Connelly, Chris Cooper, Sofia Coppola, Alfonso Cuaron, Richard Curtis, Sir Richard Eyre, Sir Michael Gambon, Christopher Guest, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Spike Jonze, Wong Kar-Wai, Laura Linney, Tobey Maguire, Michael Moore, Samantha Morton, Mike Myers, Christopher Nolan, Dennis Price, Adam Sandler, Kevin Smith, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlize Theron, Larry Wachowski and Andy Wachowski, Lew Wasserman, Naomi Watts, and Ray Winstone. In all, the book includes more than 1300 entries, some of them just a pungent paragraph, some of them several thousand words long. In addition to the new “musts,” Thomson has added key figures from film history–lively anatomies of Graham Greene, Eddie Cantor, Pauline Kael, Abbott and Costello, Noël Coward, Hoagy Carmichael, Dorothy Gish, Rin Tin Tin, and more. Here is a great, rare book, one that encompasses the chaos of art, entertainment, money, vulgarity, and nonsense that we call the movies. Personal, opinionated, funny, daring, provocative, and passionate, it is the one book that every filmmaker and film buff must own. Time Out named it one of the ten best books of the 1990s. Gavin Lambert recognized it as “a work of imagination in its own right.” Now better than ever–a masterwork by the man playwright David Hare called “the most stimulating and thoughtful film critic now writing.”
With more than one hundred new entries, from Amy Adams, Benedict Cumberbatch and Cary Joji Fukunaga to Joaquin Phoenix, Mia Wasikowska and Robin Wright, and completely updated, here from David Thomson - 'The greatest living writer on the movies' (John Banville, New Statesman); 'Our most argumentative and trustworthy historian of the screen' (Michael Ondaatje) - is the latest edition of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, which topped Sight & Sound's poll of international critics and writers as THE BEST FILM BOOK EVER WRITTEN.
In 1975, David Thomson published his Biographical Dictionary of Film, and few film books have enjoyed better press or such steady sales. Now, thirty-three years later, we have the companion volume, a second book of more than 1,000 pages in one voice—that of our most provocative contemporary film critic and historian. Juxtaposing the fanciful and the fabulous, the old favorites and the forgotten, this sweeping collection presents the films that Thomson offers in response to the question he gets asked most often—“What should I see?” This new book is a generous history of film and an enticing critical appraisal written with as much humor and passion as historical knowledge. Not content to choose his own top films (though they are here), Thomson has created a list that will surprise and delight you—and send you to your best movie rental service. But he also probes the question: after one hundred years of film, which ones are the best, and why? “Have You Seen . . . ?” suggests a true canon of cinema and one that’s almost completely accessible now, thanks to DVDs. This book is a must for anyone who loves the silver screen: the perfect confection to dip into at any point for a taste of controversy, little-known facts, and ideas about what to see. This is a volume you’ll want to return to again and again, like a dear but argumentative friend in the dark at the movies.
This book is both more and less than history, a work of imagination in its own right, a piece of movie literature that turns fact into romance.' Gavin Lambert was reviewing the first edition of David Thomson's monumental work in 1975. In the eight years since the third edition was published, careers have waxed and waned, reputations been made and lost, great movies produced, trends set and scorned. This fourth edition has 200 entirely new entries and every original entry has been re-examined. Thus the roster of directors, actors, producers, screenwriters and cameramen is both historical and contemporary, with old masters reappraised in terms of how their work has lasted. Each of the 1,000 profiles is a keenly perceptive, provocative critical essay. Striking the perfect balance between personal bias and factual reliability, David Thomson - novelist, critic, biographer and unabashed film addict - has given us an enormously rich reference book, a brilliant reflection on the art and artists of the cinema.
A book that sees Hollywood as an idea, a trick, a religion even that swept the world, a book that knows what the bosses did, and why and how, but which also feels the impact on the mass audiences in the dark auditoriums. There isn't a book that explains - even at a basic level - how the business, the money, of pictures operates. THE WHOLE EQUATION takes the history and describes the grand panorama so that the reader knows how he or she fitted in, along with Bogart, the Marx Brothers and Daryl Zanuck. The business is the neglected aspect of the story, neglected because its truths threaten the alleged magic, the romance of the movies. Yet, the money is the true sexual secret of Hollywood, and David Thomson leaves the reader quite clear, that amid all the hype and pretension, we should always 'follow the money'.
From one of the most admired critics of our time, brilliant insights into the act of watching movies and an enlightening discussion about how to derive more from any film experience. Since first publishing his landmark Biographical Dictionary of Film in 1975 (recently released in its sixth edition), David Thomson has been one of our most provocative authorities on all things cinema. Now he offers his most inventive exploration of the medium yet: guiding us through each element of the viewing experience, considering the significance of everything from what we see and hear on-screen—actors, shots, cuts, dialogue, music—to the specifics of how, where, and with whom we do the viewing. With customary candor and wit, Thomson delivers keen analyses of a range of films from classics such as Psycho and Citizen Kane to contemporary fare such as 12 Years a Slave and All Is Lost, revealing how to more deeply appreciate both the artistry and (yes) manipulation of film, and how watching movies approaches something like watching life itself. Discerning, funny, and utterly unique, How to Watch a Movie is a welcome twist on a classic proverb: Give a movie fan a film, she’ll be entertained for an hour or two; teach a movie fan to watch, his experience will be enriched forever. From the Hardcover edition.
Why are some films regarded as classics, worthy of entry into the canon of film history? Which sorts of films make the cut and why? Movie Greats questions how cinema is ranked and, in doing so, uncovers a history of critical conflict, with different aesthetic positions battling for dominance. The films examined range across the history of cinema: The Battleship Potemkin, The 39 Steps, Modern Times, Citizen Kane, It's a Wonderful Life, Black Narcissus, The Night of the Hunter, Lawrence of Arabia, 8 1/2, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Godfather, Raging Bull, The Piano and Kill Bill: Vol. 1.Each chapter opens with a brief summary of the film's plot and goes on to discuss the historical context, the key individuals who made the film, and initial and subsequent popular and critical responses. Students studying the history of film, canon formation or film aesthetics will find this book relevant, provocative and absorbing.
"Cooper was heroic, of course, in his own mind as much as in his scripts. He was manly, tall, ruggedly handsome. He was a man for a fight." On screen Gary Cooper was the ultimate all-American hero: lean, laconic, and masculine, a lone sheriff battling his enemies in High Noon, or a tough individualist in The Fountainhead. Off-screen he bedded a host of leading ladies and carefully honed his image, making hundreds of movies and winning two Oscars in the process. The acclaimed film writer David Thomson explores the career and the contradictions of "Coop," the star who lived the dream in the golden age of Hollywood.