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I never go to see them. So did eggs. Yes, the eggs you eat. Blood is jolly, red. But egg yolk is yellow, revolting. As the late Bruce Dern detailed in his autobiography via Biography. He just [wants] to sit at your feet for five minutes and chat with you. And I took it and I did it. More: Top 10 Halloween Movie Heroines. And here everyone thought the shower was the most famous thing from the movie.

So much so, he had the apartment complex showcased in the movie built. Hitchcock himself superintended the huge and complex construction that took six weeks to set up. Like most people in the unique position of foreknowledge of what others have said, I have avoided the choices that now seem obvious in this survey. My list is therefore devised partly to champion books neglected by everyone else. It was out of print by the time I wanted to buy it, but I found a copy on my first trip to New York in along with Kings of the Bs , devoured it, then lent it to a friend and never saw it or him again.

Call it deferred gratification. As befits his flinty films, Melville is a pugnacious, affectionate and slightly melancholy observer: sanguine and unequivocal about the daring with which his films were made. Again, for me this book was about self-education. Not at all professionally involved in film when I bought it, I wanted something to help a London art student get more out of the films of Godard, Truffaut, Rohmer, Chabrol and Rivette.

The Hitchcock Hollywood Portfolio

And if it was as puzzling in its way as some of the films seemed at the time, then that only intrigued me more, as any introduction to so important a subject should. Ray, Harvard University Press, In recent decades there has been no more cogent a rethinking of the physical and psychological experience of film as it evolved, both as a technology and as an artform. I want to read it again, soon. Janin, I started reading about cinema in the late s, the heyday of auteurism: the books that I read then formed my taste and have marked me as a certain kind of cinephile and, 40 years on, after the great adventure or misadventure of theory, that is still how I would define myself.

Over the years this little volume must surely have been the Bible for many of us. Another bible can there be two? Alas, only one more book! There are so many wonderful writers out there. Or Pauline Kael? Or Robert Warshow? Or either of the two wise Gilberts Perez and Adair? The peerless lucidity of his writing about cinema is underscored by a profound moral passion. Indeed, this is true about all the writers on film that I admire most — even the aesthetes and dandies.

Hiatus at 4 a.m.

Tarkovsky is my all-time favourite director. But while this is fascinating, I sometimes find his statements frustratingly evasive. Yet this is what he had to say about them, and that makes it uniquely valuable. Notes: On the Making of Apocalypse Now! For a while I became obsessed with what must have been the best-documented disaster shoot in film history.

I had the photo of Francis Ford Coppola pointing a revolver at his head up on my office wall the whole time I was writing Corpsing.

Observations on film art : Directors: Hitchcock

Louise Brooks was one of the few actresses with absolute integrity. This may have something to do with why she also had the most vivid screen presence. In the absence of a full book on my favourite contemporary film-makers, this pamphlet that came with the DVD Quay Brothers: The Short Films will do very well. I loved his willingness to find excitement in unexpected places, to do justice to merit when he found it and to write in such a strongly personal voice.

This still seems to me the definitive account of the ethos of a studio. Lucid, rigorous and utterly readable. An enthralling account of a man enraptured by cinema, written by another man enraptured by cinema. Tauris, Gives a whole new perspective on the phenomenon of male stardom in British film, wears its theory lightly and is written with wit and perception.

Infuriating and stimulating by turns, this is an idiosyncratic inclusion. It leaves out Phyllis Calvert and includes Audie Murphy, which enrages me, but I read it from cover to cover.

Spellbound in Darkness Edited by George C. Pratt, University of Rochester, A loving anthology, with commentary, on the silent cinema. An invitation to discovery on every page, and perhaps the best title for any film book yet published.


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The nearest we have to a British national filmography was created not by any institute or university but by one man. There is no better stimulus to look at films seriously. On the other hand, it is also a self-portrait by a brilliant and uncompromising English film-maker. Published to accompany a BFI documentary, this is a beautifully illustrated and very sharp-eyed tour through a century of American cinema by a true obsessive. He is honest and self-lacerating about his own foibles and equally caustic about those of others.

Morbidity and lyricism run side by side as he lays bare his demons. This book is easy to undervalue. At first glance it looks like a series of nostalgic, fireside chats with actors and film-makers from the good old days of British cinema. However, no one else was doing these interviews. Thirteen years on, many of the interviewees have died.

McFarlane did future British historians an extraordinary service by capturing their reminiscences. A book that opens minds to formalism in the fullest and most supple way. So you think you know what intertextuality is? Iampolski, a pre-eminent contemporary Russian theorist, gives a dazzling demonstration of how, when, where and why films quote other films and other media and why we should care.

Has anyone ever written this beautifully about Dovzhenko, Renoir or Straub-Huillet? Writings on film by film-makers form a generally undervalued genre.

Bizarre Facts About Alfred Hitchcock & His Twisted Movies

It will forever change the way we regard his life, work and thought. Fortunately, thanks to the gifted Russian-Australian scholar Julia Vassilieva, this project is on the way.

Top 10 Most Influential Directors of All Time

Brenez is our greatest living critic. Emerging from Filmkritik magazine in the late s, this lively pair shaped much future German-language film culture to come with their analyses, programming, teaching and restoration work. Grafe , in particular, combined a crisp, evocative, Barthesian style with a rigorous eye and brilliant mind. The saddest lacuna of all is Roger Tailleur , an extraordinary prose stylist and encyclopaedic brain who, on a good day, makes Manny Farber seem like Harry Knowles.

Ever the disappointed idealist, Agee offered grudging praise to such compromised efforts as Meet Me in St. Louis and Double Indemnity in long, delicately cadenced sentences that would never survive the copy editor now. Stars back then embodied vital social contradictions — one doubts whether the featureless pretty people of contemporary celebrity would repay so subtle and scrupulous a treatment.

For one thing, Perez magnificently vindicates the beauty of illusionism — a salutary attitude after decades of academic militancy that judged it a ruling-class plot. But even more crucially, he understands how every general theory of cinema must start from its concrete particulars as an artform. A work of transcendent intelligence. These aphoristic memos from the legendary director are often as inscrutable as Zen Buddhist koans, yet reflecting on them can produce a similar enlightenment. Essential reading for anyone curious about the physics and metaphysics of film, this slender volume can be profitably revisited over a lifetime.

A book that revolutionised film studies. Through his sophisticated apologia for melodrama, a despised genre was propelled into the academic spotlight where it has remained ever since. Minh-ha, Routledge, Very little was outside her scope. Hard to pick just one Durgnat. A study that manages to say a lot of fascinating, illuminating things about its subject even though it labours under the handicap that when it was published Hollywood had made almost no films about the Vietnam War.

Like all books I go back to, it has solid information, wide-ranging insight and an elegant, precise, wry prose style. Four little volumes of essays and reviews written in the s and s, published posthumously, that were absolutely formative for the film-makers of the nouvelle vague and for critics ever after.

The selective and not very good English translation as What is Cinema?