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'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 updated fourth edition has 30 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 1,330 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.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780316726603
ISBN-10: 0316726605
Format: Paperback
(234mm x 172mm x 43mm)
Pages: 976
Imprint: Little, Brown & Company
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publish Date: 2-Oct-2003
Country of Publication: United States


UK Kirkus Review » As a reference about the movies this book stands head and shoulders above its competitors. For starters, there's the style, the author's particular note, which lifts it immediately out of the realm of other A-Z directories. Thompson has much to say about the movie stars and their directors, and he does it in a unique and lively way. He critiques each artist thoughtfully, provocatively, in an almost detective-like spirit to get to what makes them tick. He passes on gossip, he delights in going against received wisdom, he really relishes his subjects with a lip-smacking enthusiasm. On Woody Allen: 'he seems to be averse to acting yet so skittish about real confession that he risks dealing in self-glorification by neurosis.' On Katherine Hepburn's voice: 'like a lace hem being lifted above the mud'. There's no swift 'been there, done that' resume of the stars' lives in this string of intriguing cameos. Instead he gives enough meat to engage you with their personalities and motives; every snippet about their media-enhanced lives is larger than life, fascinating, exotic. There's no mere list of films and credits, either, although every important achievement is mentioned, along with dates. Instead, he gives a very personal take on those in the limelight, past and present. Thompson is not afraid to say what he thinks, to knock entertainers and moguls alike from their pedestals. Resembling a scurrying, gossipy film-set, the book reads like a novel with hundreds of characters. Even if you're not a film buff these acute quippy biographies are a rich source of cultural definition for all of us, underscoring the vast influence the movies have had, and still do have, on our perceptions and style. With its wit, challenging observations, and strong opinions, to call this book a dictionary does it little justice. It deserves a place on every bookshelf. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - David Thomson

David Thomson is London-born but has lived and worked in California for over twenty years. He writes and reviews films regularly for major press publications.

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How to Watch a Movie by David Thomson

How to Watch a Movie

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Why Acting Matters by David Thomson

Why Acting Matters

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Breaking Bad: The Official Book by David Thomson

Breaking Bad: The Official Book

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