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The Film Encyclopedia

The Film Encyclopedia

3.0 2
by Ephraim Katz

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The Film Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive one-volume encyclopedia on film and is considered the undisputed bible of the movie industry. The fourth edition features more than 7,000 A-Z entries on the artistic, technical, and commercial aspects of movie-making, including:
  • Directors,producers, stars, screenwriters, and cinematographers
  • Styles,


The Film Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive one-volume encyclopedia on film and is considered the undisputed bible of the movie industry. The fourth edition features more than 7,000 A-Z entries on the artistic, technical, and commercial aspects of movie-making, including:

  • Directors,producers, stars, screenwriters, and cinematographers
  • Styles, genres, and schools of film making
  • Motion picture studios and film centers
  • Film-related organizations and events
  • Industry jargon and technical terms
  • Inventions, inventors, and equipment
  • Plus, an index of Academy Award winning films an artists, top grossing films, and much more.

Editorial Reviews

Film Library Quarterly
There is no question that Katz's Film Encyclopedia is number one.
Katharine Hepburn
Wow! What a book!
Rex Reed
Heavy with indispensable information and worth every pound, this is one of the most valuable books in my library. I don't know what I'd do without The Film Encyclopedia.
Jeffrey Lyons
The book for the film buff and the casual moviegoer... incredibly researched... a must for any film library.
A one-volume encyclopedia on film containing some 7,000 entries on directors, screenwriters, and stars, studios and film centers, styles of filmmaking, organizations and events, and industry jargon and technical terms. This second edition adds hundreds of new entries and includes new information on technical developments in filmmaking, and the growth of Asian, African, and Latin American cinema. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.16(w) x 9.14(h) x 2.18(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Preface to the First Edition

This work is a one-man project. It has taken many years to compile, and its scope has gradually expanded far beyond the original plan, because of my desire to include in it much information that can be found elsewhere only in a wide variety of sources or that is treated sketchily in other works — to make it, in fact, the most comprehensive one-volume encyclopedia of world cinema ever published in the English language.

Every consideration has been given to the range and depth of material, even when this has meant the sacrifice of features that would make the book superficially attractive. Although the publishers and I would have liked to use photographs to enliven the text on one of the most visual of arts, we hope the reader will agree that their omission is preferable to the skimping on entries and information that the use of photographs would have necessitated. At my suggestion, the publishers have agreed to drop an entire category of subjects — the factual and critical survey of specific motion pictures. Even a modest sampling of the thousands of notable films would have added hundreds of pages to this already hefty volume and the selection would have been severely limited in both number of titles and information about them. We have, then, elected to disappoint the natural expectations of our audience rather than risk its protest with half-measures.

In the present volume I have concentrated on a broad range of entries about filmmakers and filmmaking with, I trust, a good balance of America, United Kingdom, and international subjects. Country by country, the history of major film industries is covered fromits inception to the present day. Important film-related organizations and events are discussed; inventions, techniques, processes, equipment, and technical terms are explained in language that is at once precise and easy to follow. The numerous biographies of directors, producers, screenwriters, cinematographers, art directors, composers, film editors, stars, and featured players are sufficiently rich in personal and professional details (including, in most cases, day of birth and education) to please both the film scholar and the movie fan. Complete filmographies accompany the entries of most directors and of all major stars. The film credits of other personalities are extensive and carefully selected to represent their most important work.

Looking back on the years I have invested in this volume, perhaps my most sobering discovery was that an openended ratio exists between one unit of fact and multiple units of time. For every hour of actual writing time that went into the preparation of the encyclopedia, I must have spent ten hours of research — checking, cross-checking, and rechecking every fact in a great variety of sources in my own vast library and in outside facilities with film collections. I have tried, to the best of my abilities, to resolve conflicts between sources of information and to correct factual distortions that have been perpetuated in film literature over the years. But in a work of this size, a degree of oversight is inevitable, and I beg the indulgence of the reader if, after all, some errors have crept in.

As with any work of magnitude, this encyclopedia was seen into print with the aid of many people, and I am indebted to all of them. My grateful thanks to members of the combined Crowell and Harper & Row editorial staffs-particularly Nicholas Ellison, Bernard Skydell, Leland Lowther, and Patrick Barrett-who were always at hand with practical help, good advice, and gentle spurs. I owe a very special acknowledgment to James Daly, who, over several years of devoted, meticulous care to the manuscript as editor/copyeditor, gained an invaluable overview of the work and saved me from many slips and inconsistencies. For help in confirming a prodigious array of facts, I am indebted to Naomi Ben-Gur, Julie Guibord, and Louise Spence. Finally, an appreciation of my wife Helen, for loving encouragement, intelligent help in research, and, above all, forbearance during the long years the work played bob with our lives.

— Ephraim Katz

Editors' Note

Once again, we are proud to have had the opportunity to update and enlarge The Film Encyclopedia. The book remains an invaluable resource, featuring many new faces and facts as well as the latest news about the creative forces that make up the world of cinema. We have kept our word and not eliminated any of the nearly 8,000 entries, although we felt that it was necessary to tighten some of the existing entries — the book simply can't get any bigger. One editor has spent the intervening years in New Haven, Connecticut, juggling college drama courses, tests, and stage appearances while resorting to frequent midnight-oil sessions. On the opposite coast, the Santa Barbara partner has relied on phone cajolery, library scavenging, and Internet surfing. Our combined efforts in writing The Film Encyclopedia have resembled a game of coast-to-coast electronic Ping-Pong.

Our thanks to all the various people and institutions throughout the country who have been so helpful, with a special thanks to the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. We hope that the end result lives up to the esteemed tradition of Ephraim Katz.

— Fred Klein and Ronald Dean Nolen Editors, The Film Encyclopedia, 4th Edition

What People are Saying About This

Katharine Hepburn
"Wow! What a book!"
Gordon Hitchens
Lively and readable...can become the house reference-source for film organizations, production companies, schools, libraries, and the like.
Jeffrey Lyons
The most comprehensive, thoroughly researched and indispensable book on movies ever!

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Film Encyclopedia 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
How many other people has this encyclopedia said was dead when they were really alive? This encyclopedia said Harold Russell was dead, but he is still alive.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first edition of this extraordinary compendium of information on film makers...their personal as well as professional bios etc., was incredibly well researched, well balanced and comprehensive. Unfortunetly, the still young author, Ephrim Katz died shortly after publication before he had completed a companion volumn on the films themeselves. Since then, other people have written updated editions. However, although they don't acknowledge this, they deleted a number of selected entrants with each new edition. (For example, gone without a trace is Helen Broderic, the brilliant film comedian, whose performance in Rogers' and Astaires' 'TOP HAT' is legendary.) This is a nasty cheat. If possible, find a used copy of the first edition on a used book site, to complement this updated, but recklessly abridged new edition.(I leave it to the reader to deal with my spelling errors.)