Film on Paper: The Inner Life of Moviesby Richard Schickel
In absorbing essays on books about film, the distinguished critic Richard Schickel offers more insights into moviemaking on every page than a reader will find in an entire shelf of film encyclopedias. His trenchant observations about films, actors, directors, producers, and the machinations of an always fascinating industry are consistently authoritative and
In absorbing essays on books about film, the distinguished critic Richard Schickel offers more insights into moviemaking on every page than a reader will find in an entire shelf of film encyclopedias. His trenchant observations about films, actors, directors, producers, and the machinations of an always fascinating industry are consistently authoritative and entertaining. Here are charming but clear-eyed appraisals of Hollywood's major players, its low comedy and high self-regard, its bedrock of bourgeois values, its strange and convoluted affair with sex, and its relentless drive to give the customers what they want, regardless of critical failings. Film on Paper promises to be one of the most enjoyable movie books of the year.
Schickel, film critic for Timemagazine, contends the majority books on film are by "hack journalists or dull-witted academics." To help movie fans size up those books, Schickel has compiled his own book reviews into a user-friendly collection. It's well written and has the added virtue of expounding on the history of cinema. Originally published in the Los Angeles Times, Schickel's reviews cover books written between 1989 and 2007. He admits that covering the movie industry can be a daunting task. Myths that surround it are accepted without analysis. Directors' bios or interviews can be tricky, he adds, since the subjects often "refuse to illuminate their work." A notable exception is On Film-makingby Alexander Mackendrick (The Guns of Navarone), which he calls a valuable guide for a novice director. Yet standard texts, such as The Genius of the System, are slammed for faulty logic rather than applauded for solid insights. For Schickel, Edward Epstein's The Big Pictureillustrates the worst offenses: obvious deductions, vague theories and substandard writing. Yet he gives credit where it is due, honoring the commendable research in The Dame in the Kimono, an examination of the Hays Code. Schickel sets a high bar for film books and provides a trusted stamp of approval. (Apr.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Meet the Author
Best known as a film critic for Time, Richard Schickel also makes award-winning documentary films about films and filmmakers. He is the author or co-author of more than thirty books. He lives in Los Angeles.
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