Ginette Vincendeau – Encyclopedia of European Cinema (1995)

On December 28, 1895, the Lumiere brothers demonstrated their cinematograph to 33 people in Paris. Despite Louis Lumiere’s notorious declaration that “the cinema is an invention without a future, ” the occasion marks the birth of the movies. Written to coincide with the 100th anniversary of this seminal event, “Encyclopedia of European Cinema” is a celebration of the scope and variety of film in all European countries. Compiled under the auspices of the prestigious British Film Institute, this uses the expertise of over 30 international authorities on the subject. Continue reading

Howard Hughes – Stagecoach to Tombstone: The Filmgoer’s Guide to Great Westerns (2008)

British author Howard Hughes charts the development of the modern Western movie in this insightful, informative volume published in 2008 by Tauris & Company. By examining 27 movies he views as key, Hughes shows the evolving nature of the genre. Western fans are in for an interesting ride since the films range from classics like ‘Stagecoach’ to B-oaters such as ‘Ride Lonesome’ to misfires like ‘One-Eyed Jacks.’ Continue reading

Douglas Brode – Fantastic Planets, Forbidden Zones and Lost Continents (2015)

Whether you judge by box office receipts, industry awards, or critical accolades, science fiction films are the most popular movies now being produced and distributed around the world. Nor is this phenomenon new. Sci-fi filmmakers and audiences have been exploring fantastic planets, forbidden zones, and lost continents ever since George Méliès’ 1902 film A Trip to the Moon. In this highly entertaining and knowledgeable book, film historian and pop culture expert Douglas Brode picks the one hundred greatest sci-fi films of all time. Brode’s list ranges from today’s blockbusters to forgotten gems, with surprises for even the most informed fans and scholars. He presents the movies in chronological order, which effectively makes this book a concise history of the sci-fi film genre. A striking (and in many cases rare) photograph accompanies each entry, for which Brode provides a numerical rating, key credits and cast members, brief plot summary, background on the film’s creation, elements of the moviemaking process, analysis of the major theme(s), and trivia. He also includes fun outtakes, including his top ten lists of Fifties sci-fi movies, cult sci-fi, least necessary movie remakes, and “so bad they’re great” classics—as well as the ten worst sci-fi movies (“those highly ambitious films that promised much and delivered nil”). So climb aboard spaceship Brode and journey to strange new worlds from Metropolis (1927) to Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). Continue reading

Jon Tuska – The Detective In Hollywood (1978)

The Detective In Hollywood: The Movie Careers Of The Great Fictional Private Eyes And Their Creators is a fascinating study of classic Hollywood detective movies (and some of the nearly forgotten series like the Crime Doctor and Mr. Wong), based on interviews with some of the men and women involved in creating them (authors, directors, screenwriters, and actors and actresses) like Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock, Leigh Brackett, Barbara Hale, Robert Montgomery, and many others. Continue reading

Farhang Erfani – Iranian Cinema and Philosophy: Shooting Truth (2012)

In film studies, Iranian films are kept at a distance, as ‘other,’ different, and exotic. In reponse, this book takes these films as philosophically relevant and innovative. Each chapter of this book is devoted to analyzing a single film, and each chapter focuses on one philosopher and one particular aesthetic question.

‘A fascinating piece of work which brings the insights of Continental philosophy to bear on Iranian cinema and perhaps more importantly brings Iranian cinema to bear on those insights.’ – Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research Continue reading

Barry Forshaw – Sex and Film: The Erotic in British, American and World Cinema (2015)

Sex and Film: The Erotic in British, American and World Cinema is a frank, comprehensive and insightful analysis of the cinema’s long love affair with the erotic – and how society is reflected through the many and bitter censorship battles that have accompanied all attempts by filmmakers to broaden the limits of what is acceptable. Barry Forshaw’s lively and scholarly study moves from the sexual abandon of the silent era and the 1930s through the enforced innocence resulting from the restrictive Hays Code (and the ingenious attempts by filmmakers to circumvent censorship) and the demolition of taboos by arthouse directors such as Ingmar Bergman in the 1950s and 1960s. The book highlights all the key moments in this incendiary area, including the shocking exploitation and pornographic movies of the 1970s, while a discussion of the graphic and explicit imagery of today’s mainstream cinema takes the book up to the present – and beyond. Continue reading