The Best Books About Film

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domino harvey
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#951 Post by domino harvey » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:23 am

ianthemovie wrote:Honestly if you're looking to familiarize yourself with the greatest hits of film theory you might consider an anthology like Leo Braudy's Film Theory and Criticism. It contains key pieces by Eisenstein and Metz, Bazin's "On the Ontology of the Photographic Image," Andrew Sarris' "Notes on the Auteur Theory," Rick Altman's "A Semantic/Syntactic Approach to Film Genre," Paul Schrader's "Notes on Film Noir," David Bordwell's "The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice," and Laura Mulvey's "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema," among many others.
It's a great book, highly second ianthemovie's recommendation. Plus, you can pick up an earlier edition quite affordably

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#952 Post by domino harvey » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:00 pm

dda1996a wrote:Also couldn't find French New Wave Reader, the results that showed up are The French New Wave: Critical Landmarks and Reading the French New Wave: Critics, Writers and Art Cinema in France
I was referring to French New Wave: Critical Landmarks.

Also, Lapsley and Westlake's Film Theory: An Introduction is a good overview of film theory as well (and would be a good complement to Braudy's larger collection of film theory essays)

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#953 Post by dda1996a » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:51 pm

I've never really liked anthology books, as they always end up making me buy all the individual releases available. But I'll definitely will check all these out and thanks a lot. Actually I learnt about Metz through a comment of yours a while ago Domino!

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#954 Post by wattsup32 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:07 am

This seemed the most appropriate thread to pose this question and since we have some here who teach film courses it also seemed the most fruitful place: how does a person start a film education from scratch? A friend asked me and I didn't feel qualified to answer. I told him two things:1) everything I know I learned from watching the films themselves and then sometimes watching with commentary when I have time, and 2) I'd ask people here for a beginner's syllabus as I've read very little.

If it is any help, I believe the son of my friend is 15. He is interested enough in film for me to have run into him all by himself at a screening of Witness for the Prosecution. As far as I know, he's read next to nothing, but is beginning to watch as much as he can.

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#955 Post by Caligula » Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:57 am

I'd recommend starting with Roger Ebert's Great Movies (either in bookform or on his website). That pretty much started it all for me

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#956 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 5:56 am

For a more academic/encyclopaedic review of the history of film (including some fascinating chapters on the early developments of film and the different techniques being used to capture images), and run through the history of various world cinemas and their key titles and filmmakers, I'd also recommend the Gerald Mast and Bruce Kawin book A Short History of the Movies (though with the proviso that it seems pretty pricey on Amazon, and that I'm only familiar with the Seventh edition from around 1999-2000, so I don't really know how it has been updated since this point. Though even at that early point there was a dedicated website with film links attached to it, so maybe that has expanded more in later editions).

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#957 Post by wattsup32 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:06 am

Thanks for both of these. I think he's looking for a more academic type of learning for his kid as Colinr suggested (what can I say, he's a double Ivy douche). Do people who teach have a sort of academic progression they like to follow for teens?

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#958 Post by essrog » Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:18 pm

I was lucky enough to get handed our high school film course to teach 15 years ago because I had taken a class in my master's program on how to teach visual literacy, and I had the right kind of teaching license. Beyond that, I hadn't taken any other film classes in college, and hadn't read much of anything film-related. In my research on how to teach a film course, one title kept coming up: David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson's Film Art. As I understand it, it's the go-to text for intro to film classes in college, which means it should be accessible enough for a motivated 15-year-old like the one you describe. It provided me with the framework of the language of film (ins and outs of mise-en-scene, cinematography, etc.), which could be incorporated into discussions and activities for any film we watched in class. Even better, students often talk about how they notice things in films they watch outside of class that they learned through the class (that I borrowed/stole from Bordwell and Thompson, of course). New editions of the book are ridiculously expensive as all college textbooks are, but used copies of older editions (8-10 years old) can be had pretty cheaply on Amazon.

Aside: Even if the school was willing to buy a bunch of copies of the text (very unlikely), I wouldn't have handed it out a college-level textbook to all of my students, some of whom are there because they're trying to avoid required reading in a "normal" English class and haven't had much success there. So I use the book by adapting the concepts (and in some cases, the scenes the authors use as examples) into a bunch of Prezi presentations that incorporate text and video and try to make the learning a bit more interactive.

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Upcoming Lubitsch book

#959 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:03 am

Since I couldn't find a Lubitsch entry in the Directors forum, I'll post this here.

How Did Lubitsch Do It? by Joseph McBride, coming from Columbia University Press next June:

https://cup.columbia.edu/book/how-did-l ... 0231186445" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Upcoming Lubitsch book

#960 Post by Emilio » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:29 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:Since I couldn't find a Lubitsch entry in the Directors forum, I'll post this here.

How Did Lubitsch Do It? by Joseph McBride, coming from Columbia University Press next June:

https://cup.columbia.edu/book/how-did-l ... 0231186445" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
That's a great find, thanks!

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#961 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:12 am

What's the best book on old Hollywood tittle-tattle? The whole who-slept-with-who, who-killed-who, kind of stuff? Is Hollywood Babylon by Kenneth Anger the best place to start? Scandals of the silent era to the 50s say?

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#962 Post by Big Ben » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:59 am

thirtyframesasecond wrote:What's the best book on old Hollywood tittle-tattle? The whole who-slept-with-who, who-killed-who, kind of stuff? Is Hollywood Babylon by Kenneth Anger the best place to start? Scandals of the silent era to the 50s say?
That book is known to contain half truths and flat out lies. The only reason I can think of it being of interest is seeing how all those Hollywood tabloids were enabled by it.

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#963 Post by Shrew » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:13 pm

I think it's the other way around: how Hollywood Babylon was enabled by the tabloid press. But it's better to approach Hollywood Babylon as a work of creative exaggertation, maybe in the same class as John Hodgman's "Extent of My Knowledge" book, only more salacious.

It's not a book, but Karina Longworth's You Must Remember This Podcast has a lot of great stuff about classic Hollywood, both on and off screen, and is both well-delivered and well-researched. The focus is broader than just scandal, but I prefer her method of putting rumor and scandal in the broader context of a subject's career and the production system, personally. For the silent-50s era, the Dead Blondes series should make a good start, but the Star Wars (Hollywood in WWII, not George Lucas), MGM Stories, and Blacklist series are all good, if less scandal-focused. There are also good episodes on the 30s in the early, unthemed period, including one on Theda Bara and others on "The Many Loves of Howard Hughes," which she's apparently developed into a forthcoming book.

Her show notes on the website also give several research sources for each episode, which should make a good bibliography if you're looking for actual books.

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#964 Post by mistakaninja » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:27 pm

Otto Friedrich's City of Nets is a great read on the personalities of 40s Hollywood. It was a big influence on Longworth.

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#965 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:03 pm

The Bad and the Beautiful: Hollywood in the Fifties is the 50s equivalent and also highly recommended

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#966 Post by tenia » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:22 pm

I'm currently having a frenzy about BFI Film Classics books and am looking at buying a lot of them. However, considering how many there are and how, in total, it might amount to (both in terms of money, shelf space and time to read them), I'm wondering if any of you here would already know which ones can be avoided altogether because of how little they add.
I'm extremely curious, and don't care about buying stuff about movies I haven't seen or even heard about before, so feel free to add about whichever book you know.
I've only bought 8 so far (Olympia, The General, The Shining, Pandora's Box, The Birth of a Nation, The Thing, Pan's Labyrinth, Night and the City) but have seen about 50 or so that might fit what I'm interested in / curious about.

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#967 Post by Lost Highway » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:35 pm

tenia wrote:I'm currently having a frenzy about BFI Film Classics books and am looking at buying a lot of them. However, considering how many there are and how, in total, it might amount to (both in terms of money, shelf space and time to read them), I'm wondering if any of you here would already know which ones can be avoided altogether because of how little they add.
I'm extremely curious, and don't care about buying stuff about movies I haven't seen or even heard about before, so feel free to add about whichever book you know.
I've only bought 8 so far (Olympia, The General, The Shining, Pandora's Box, The Birth of a Nation, The Thing, Pan's Labyrinth, Night and the City) but have seen about 50 or so that might fit what I'm interested in / curious about.
Camille Paglia's on The Birds made me laugh (in a good way) Sometimes its interesting when someone makes a case for The Sound of Music or Titanic, films which are popular classics rather than hugely admired films which have been written lots about by film historians. Simon Callow on The Night of The Hunter and Penelope Houston on Went the Day Well are great.

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#968 Post by Lost Highway » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:49 pm

Shrew wrote:I think it's the other way around: how Hollywood Babylon was enabled by the tabloid press. But it's better to approach Hollywood Babylon as a work of creative exaggertation, maybe in the same class as John Hodgman's "Extent of My Knowledge" book, only more salacious.

It's not a book, but Karina Longworth's You Must Remember This Podcast has a lot of great stuff about classic Hollywood, both on and off screen, and is both well-delivered and well-researched. The focus is broader than just scandal, but I prefer her method of putting rumor and scandal in the broader context of a subject's career and the production system, personally. For the silent-50s era, the Dead Blondes series should make a good start, but the Star Wars (Hollywood in WWII, not George Lucas), MGM Stories, and Blacklist series are all good, if less scandal-focused. There are also good episodes on the 30s in the early, unthemed period, including one on Theda Bara and others on "The Many Loves of Howard Hughes," which she's apparently developed into a forthcoming book.

Her show notes on the website also give several research sources for each episode, which should make a good bibliography if you're looking for actual books.
I love her podcast and her book on Meryl Streep is very good too. I'm not even that great a fan of Streep but Longworth writes well about the art of acting and the career choices Steep made and how they reflect her feminism. This is not a biography, Longworth selects several key films in Steep's career which she writes about.

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#969 Post by filmyfan » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:22 pm

tenia wrote:I'm currently having a frenzy about BFI Film Classics books and am looking at buying a lot of them. However, considering how many there are and how, in total, it might amount to (both in terms of money, shelf space and time to read them), I'm wondering if any of you here would already know which ones can be avoided altogether because of how little they add.
I'm extremely curious, and don't care about buying stuff about movies I haven't seen or even heard about before, so feel free to add about whichever book you know.
I've only bought 8 so far (Olympia, The General, The Shining, Pandora's Box, The Birth of a Nation, The Thing, Pan's Labyrinth, Night and the City) but have seen about 50 or so that might fit what I'm interested in / curious about.
I have approx 20-30 BFI classics and most are pretty good-and in fact I just started On the Waterfront a week or so ago and its a good one.

I tend to like the ones that talk about the director/production history and also analysis of scenes etc..but not all of them are like that.

Some of my faves are:-8 1/2, Sweet smell of Success, Cleo, Bringing up Baby, Chinatown, Double Indemnity, Rome Open City, Once Upon a Time in America.

But thats just me!

Just dip in and see what you think!

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#970 Post by Werewolf by Night » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:06 pm

Gary Indiana's volume on Salo is great but eccentric. Mark Kermode's on The Exorcist is an essential if you like that film.

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#971 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:33 am

I would also highly recommend John Rockwell's book on The Idiots from the series, though that is from the modern classic strand.

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#972 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:08 am

tenia wrote:I'm currently having a frenzy about BFI Film Classics books and am looking at buying a lot of them. However, considering how many there are and how, in total, it might amount to (both in terms of money, shelf space and time to read them), I'm wondering if any of you here would already know which ones can be avoided altogether because of how little they add.
I'm extremely curious, and don't care about buying stuff about movies I haven't seen or even heard about before, so feel free to add about whichever book you know.
I've only bought 8 so far (Olympia, The General, The Shining, Pandora's Box, The Birth of a Nation, The Thing, Pan's Labyrinth, Night and the City) but have seen about 50 or so that might fit what I'm interested in / curious about.
Is there a way to buy these en masse? I love them, but they're so short I never wind up picking them up

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#973 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:16 am

Shrew wrote:I think it's the other way around: how Hollywood Babylon was enabled by the tabloid press. But it's better to approach Hollywood Babylon as a work of creative exaggertation, maybe in the same class as John Hodgman's "Extent of My Knowledge" book, only more salacious.

It's not a book, but Karina Longworth's You Must Remember This Podcast has a lot of great stuff about classic Hollywood, both on and off screen, and is both well-delivered and well-researched. The focus is broader than just scandal, but I prefer her method of putting rumor and scandal in the broader context of a subject's career and the production system, personally. For the silent-50s era, the Dead Blondes series should make a good start, but the Star Wars (Hollywood in WWII, not George Lucas), MGM Stories, and Blacklist series are all good, if less scandal-focused. There are also good episodes on the 30s in the early, unthemed period, including one on Theda Bara and others on "The Many Loves of Howard Hughes," which she's apparently developed into a forthcoming book.

Her show notes on the website also give several research sources for each episode, which should make a good bibliography if you're looking for actual books.
Cheers - I'll start with the Jean Seberg/Jane Fonda parallel!

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#974 Post by Lost Highway » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:25 am

When it comes to You Must Remember This it's worth checking out the early non-serialised episodes as a start. Her Frances Farmer episode is fantastic, doing the exact opposite of Hollywood Babylon, stripping away the gossip and mythology to arrive at something far less garish and more plausible than the familiar tale of the ultimate Hollywood martyr. The ones of Raquel Welch and Isabella Rossellini are also great, they all are. The Charles Manson series is what got her the most attention, but it's my least favourite stretch, maybe due to over familiarity with the subject matter. It's still more thoughtful than most on the matter.

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#975 Post by tenia » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:37 am

Thanks filmy, colin and Werewolf for your answers !
matrixschmatrix wrote:Is there a way to buy these en masse? I love them, but they're so short I never wind up picking them up
Not really. They're currently being published translated in France, so it got me curious, and it turns out many are quite cheap on Amazon.co.uk (down sometimes to £5.6 apiece). So I just strolled through the listings, placed aside those which might interest me, and now, I'm looking at a way to filter these down, because this list looks a bit too long.

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