The Best Books About Film

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Roger Ryan
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1276 Post by Roger Ryan » Sun Jan 28, 2024 2:31 pm

Welles consumed films voraciously throughout the 1920s and 1930s by his own account, then said that he had trouble enjoying films as entertainment once he began making them himself (“I can’t help but imagine the clapper board that was edited out” is a paraphrased quote). In the 1950s and 1960s he talks about enjoying European films and praises the early cable “Z Channel” towards the end of his life for showing films uncut and without commercials. I suspect he watched more throughout his life than he let on.

Also, there’s a through line in his career starting with the aborted 1942 It’s All True project to F For Fake and Filming Othello where Welles returns again and again to the “essay film”, essentially an expansion on his radio lectures.

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Matt
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The Best Books About Film

#1277 Post by Matt » Sun Mar 03, 2024 6:48 pm

Last edited by Matt on Sun Mar 03, 2024 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tom Amolad
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1278 Post by Tom Amolad » Sun Mar 03, 2024 10:42 pm

Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly was this? Was the whole of CdC translated into English as a periodical? And how long did that run?

If it goes back to the 50s, I'd really love to see that -- but I ahve a feeling the demand for translation wasn't until later? (I'm aware of this volume, but that's just a few selected articles of course.)

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Never Cursed
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1279 Post by Never Cursed » Sun Mar 03, 2024 11:23 pm

Tom Amolad wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2024 10:42 pm
Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly was this? Was the whole of CdC translated into English as a periodical? And how long did that run?

If it goes back to the 50s, I'd really love to see that -- but I ahve a feeling the demand for translation wasn't until later? (I'm aware of this volume, but that's just a few selected articles of course.)
One of the magazine's devotees on here can fact-check me on this, but I believe these periodicals were only created for a brief period of time, and were assembled from a collection of translated articles taken from recent previous issues and original English-language commentary discussing film news particular to the East Coast of America (the English periodical was run out of New York City; its editor-in-chief appears to have been Andrew Sarris). The first issue of the English periodical was mostly dedicated to the (re?)publication of English translations of a bunch of the most famous Cahiers pieces (Bazin's "On the Politique Des Auteurs", Truffaut's "Certain Tendency" essay, etc.). I guess in summary they functioned somewhere between a collection and a monthly for the short length of their existence.

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Tom Amolad
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1280 Post by Tom Amolad » Mon Mar 04, 2024 12:19 am

Thanks. I figured I'd have heard more about it if it had lasted longer.

nicolas
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1281 Post by nicolas » Thu Mar 07, 2024 10:30 am

This is just wonderful. Thanks for sharing, Matt. I'm still a little concerned if the copyrighted (?) volumes are indeed safe and (semi-)legal for us to download via this link? I hope this is nothing in the vein of file sharing, which has incredibly strict laws here in Germany and I really don't want to get into trouble.

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Matt
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The Best Books About Film

#1282 Post by Matt » Thu Mar 07, 2024 2:23 pm

The publications are still under copyright. US laws allow for non-commercial “fair use”, especially when the publication is otherwise unavailable and out of print. No idea about Germany, I’m afraid. They’re definitely safe in terms of free of viruses and what not.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1283 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 07, 2024 4:20 pm

Does anyone know of a complete list of the titles released in the 70s under Prentice Hall's "Focus On" / "Film Focus" series? Can't seem to find anything approaching a full list using the usual Google tricks, but know these are some of the editions:

the Birth of a Nation
Blow Up
Bonnie and Clyde
Chaplin
Citizen Kane
Film and Theatre
Jean-Luc Godard
DW Griffith
Howard Hawks
Hitchcock
the Horror Film
Rashomon
the Science Fiction Film
the Seventh Seal
Shakespearean Films
Shoot the Piano Player
the Western

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TechnicolorAcid
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1284 Post by TechnicolorAcid » Thu Mar 07, 2024 4:39 pm

There’s also one on Orson Welles and I think France in Focus also counts as one

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Tom Amolad
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1285 Post by Tom Amolad » Thu Mar 07, 2024 4:42 pm

If you have access to a university library, have you tried WorldCat? I think they have a field for series, though I'd better not swear. (Also, it's not a given that all books would have been catalogued correctly, though it ought to pick up at least some missing titles).

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domino harvey
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1286 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 07, 2024 4:56 pm

TechnicolorAcid wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2024 4:39 pm
There’s also one on Orson Welles and I think France in Focus also counts as one
If we’re looking at the same France in Focus, it’s not part of this series— but it did look good, so I picked it up anyways, so thanks!

And thanks Tom Amolad for the WorldCat reminder— I didn’t see any more titles there, but didn’t see the Bonnie and Clyde edition listed with the rest when I searched, so I’m not sure if this is it or not

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Matt
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The Best Books About Film

#1287 Post by Matt » Thu Mar 07, 2024 9:05 pm

This WorldCat search should catch everything

I think your list has everything except the Welles volume (already caught by TA above)

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domino harvey
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1288 Post by domino harvey » Fri Mar 08, 2024 9:36 am

Thanks Matt! I picked up their volume on the Truffaut film in a used bookstore recently and was blown away by a lot of material I’d never seen collected before and love that they picked what is, now at least, not one of his more talked about films to give this treatment. I also learned David Bordwell wrote about the film in the 60s from the bibliography, though sadly it’s one of the few pieces not included. If other books in this series are of the same composition, these are likely great resources for those interested in the topics selected

Great bon mot I heard for the first time: Truffaut said the only thing the Nouvelle Vague filmmakers had in common was that they all loved playing pinball!

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Black Hat
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1289 Post by Black Hat » Fri Mar 08, 2024 2:34 pm

Those books are great! I spent a good amount of time a while ago trying to find a list of everything too, thank you Matt! I'll second the quality of the book on Shoot the Piano Player/Truffaut.

edit: I may be wrong but, I think that list is incomplete.

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Matt
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The Best Books About Film

#1290 Post by Matt » Fri Mar 08, 2024 6:57 pm

WorldCat will only catch what’s owned and cataloged by libraries mostly in the US. There may be more out there.

I did find an old advertisement (see below) for the Film Focus line on JSTOR [Film Quarterly 26, no. 2 (1972)]. It is not complete yet does not include any titles that weren’t already listed above.

I also found an entry in a weird reference book [Guidebook to Film: An Eleven-in-one Reference. Switzerland: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972]. It shows planned titles (which may or may not have come to fruition).

Image Image

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domino harvey
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1291 Post by domino harvey » Fri Mar 08, 2024 7:27 pm

Great find! Hilarious to see Hawks called “often-ignored” in the early 70s

Sadly, the Marienbad volume doesn’t appear to have ever materialized— that would be a great film to receive this treatment

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domino harvey
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1292 Post by domino harvey » Fri Mar 08, 2024 7:41 pm

Here’s a cool website with transcriptions of a bunch of articles/essays on the film though

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bottlesofsmoke
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1293 Post by bottlesofsmoke » Sun Mar 10, 2024 11:48 am

William J. Mann’s Bogie & Bacall is a lot like his previous Katherine Hepburn biography, attempting to break through the studio created image of Bogart and the Bacall-nurtured legend of the man and their great love affair (interestingly, Bacall was enamored with Hepburn and Mann suggests she used her as a model for creating a legend.) I’d say it was successful on that front, though not as surprising as the Hepburn book was. The most interesting revelations aren’t about any emotional or physical affairs they might have had, or the timeline of their relationship, or the rage and disaffection that Bogart and eventually Bacall felt towards the world (though all those things are interesting) but instead the image we get of Bogart as someone who truly loved and took pride in acting. Bogart drifted through the first 20+ years of his life without direction or passion until he got a job in the theater, which sparked a love for acting that gave him a direction that stayed with him his whole life, even barely clinging to life he held out hope he could work again (including Underworld USA, which Samuel Fuller eventually made, though he probably wouldn’t have been involved at that point.) Mann mentions several times how Bogart usually curtailed his drinking while working on a movie - it’s easy to lay this at the feet of professional pride, but it also feels like his passion for acting itself was what staved off the demons.

There’s a lot of different flavored Bogart books out there, of the ones I’ve read this is the most focused and complete look at his life, with a whole Bacall biography thrown in for good measure. However, the films they starred in don’t get as much focus, outside of an few, even some of Bogart’s later films (like Battle Circus) aren’t mentioned at all, even in a throwaway manner and given the book’s focus, I was surprised that In a Lonely Place only got a few paragraphs and little analysis outside of the Louise Brooks line about it being closest to the real Bogart. In general Casablanca and his film’s with Huston get the most time, perhaps because the stories behind their creation are more obviously interesting.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1294 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Apr 05, 2024 12:28 pm

I had no idea, but last year saw published Tsui Hark: The Dragon Master of Chinese Cinema, a 700+ page fully illustrated critical study. Of course it’s obscenely priced. I’m not familiar with the author, Jeremy Mark Robinson, but it looks like he’s also written a million and one books for Crescent Moon Publishing on everything from anime, to Pasolini, to Tarkovsky, to Godard, to Borowczyk, on to authors like Gide, Beckett, Dworkin, and more. This makes me suspicious: is he a genuine scholar, or a jobbing writer cranking this stuff out?

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Maltic
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1295 Post by Maltic » Fri Apr 05, 2024 2:13 pm

That's hilarious

536 pages on Pasollini, 592 on Ching Siu-tung, 696 on Tarkovsky, 444 on British painter Kurt Jackson, 728 on Katsuhiro Otomo, 500 on Godard (vol. I, vol. II presumably forthcoming), a 292 page "pocket guide" to Roeg's Performance....

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knives
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1296 Post by knives » Fri Apr 05, 2024 2:18 pm

That publisher’s website looks like such a lazily designed front.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1297 Post by domino harvey » Fri Apr 05, 2024 2:40 pm

I thought I had a copy of every book on Godard, but that one escaped me... probably for good reason, considering the back cover invites me to check out his book on Liv Tyler

My guess is that this is one of those books that serves as a collection of online articles (Wikipedia, &c), especially based on the excerpt from the Godard book on Amazon-- I couldn't find the thread, but someone once collected all of our posts on this forum into a "book", so maybe we're even in this one too

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TechnicolorAcid
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1298 Post by TechnicolorAcid » Fri Apr 05, 2024 3:05 pm

Just wanna mention something pretty funny, at least to me, that I found while looking through his “Pocket Guides”, specifically in his one on Tommy where he writes:
If Richard Wagner was making movies out of his music in the 1970s, this is what it would look like.
Which I find funny because Ken Russell hated the Wagner family a lot and wasn’t shy about that (especially if you’ve seen Lisztomania) and Mahler definitely would be a better comparison, but I will admit it does seem pretty comprehensive, at least in an archival sense, which I imagine is the appeal of Robinson’s writings.

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