The Complete Idiot's Guide to Movies, Flicks, and Films

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If you love movies, this entertaining, user-friendly manual offers you a selective guide for finding what you like and for discovering films that are new to you, from 1920s French films to classic Westerns. It covers Hollywoods entire hundred-year history and explains film genre and terminology.
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If you love movies, this entertaining, user-friendly manual offers you a selective guide for finding what you like and for discovering films that are new to you, from 1920s French films to classic Westerns. It covers Hollywoods entire hundred-year history and explains film genre and terminology.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780028639888
  • Publisher: Alpha Books
  • Publication date: 12/15/2000
  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 7.36 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Table of Contents


1. Flicks, Movies, and Films: Developing Distinction.
When Is a Movie a Film?
Old Movies. Foreign Films. Avant-Garde Cinema.
Taking in a Movie vs. Watching a Film How to Watch a Flick as If It Were a Film.
“Entertainment” . Didacticism. Some Examples to Contrast.

2. “Lights, Camera, Action!”
There Are Many Ways of Making Films. Development: Birth of a Notion.
Ethel, I Have an Idea: The Story. Magic and Mud.
Storyboarding. Scripting. Location, Location, Location. Technical Concerns.
The Big Production.
The Breakdown Script. Principal and Other Photography.
Editing. Sound Mix.
To Market, to Market, to Market We. Some Films Worth Viewing.

3. From First Fidelity to First Run: Film Economies.
The Economic and Industrial Setting: The Primitive Era. Production, Distribution, Exhibition.
Production. Getting Gold in the Golden Era. Financing Now.
Primitive Distribution. Block Booking.
Nickelodeons. Movie Palaces. Drive-Ins: Asphalt and Art. Multiplex Madness.
Stars' Bucks. Independent Films Today. Foreign Films. Some Films About the Film Industry.

4. Gaffers, Grips, and Gofers: The Personnel.
Mystifying Movies. Employment History. Unions.
The First Unions. Unions in theMcCarthy Era. I'm Stickin' to the Union-Not: Labor Today.
The Job Descriptions. Films Worth Viewing.


5. The Earliest History of the Movies.
Film Firsts and First Films.
Before There Was Film£.
The Big Breakthroughs.
Mechanics and Movement. You're Projecting, Louis! Rolls and Rolls of Celluloid.
“The Illusion Is Complete” . Cinema at the Century.
The First Movie Monopoly. Seven Early Silents to Savor.
D. W. Griffith and the "Birth" of Narrative Film.
The Michelangelo of Film. D. W. and His Klan.

6. The Quiet Pleasures of Silent Film.
Learning to Love, Honor, and Cherish Silent Film.
Why Bother?. Reasons to Shut Up and Watch.
Studio City. HollyWorld.
The Giant Sucking Sound. Born in the USA£Not!
New Directions.
The Ones to Watch.
Committing (to) Harry Carey: The Early Genre Film.
Film West, Young Man! Reel Funny.
Silent Stars.
The Best Medicine. A Thing of Beauty Is a Joy Forever. Film Acting as Art Form.

7. Hollywood in the “Golden Age” .
“You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet!” : The Coming of Sound. Studios and Their Identity.
Money Plus Glamour Equals Movies (MGM). The Brothers Warner. Sly as a Fox. Other Studio Stalwarts.
The Auteur Theory.
The Man Who Shot The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Sir Alfred, King of Suspense. Of Casts, Commies, and Kazan. Mr. Feelgood. “The Greatest” .
Hollywood's Not-So-Secret Code. Face Time: Actors and Actresses in the Golden Age.
Six Simple Star-Gazing Strategies.

8. The Decline and Fall of the Studio Empire.
Singin' in the (Acid) Rain. Hollywood's Headaches (and HUAChes).
The Curse of the Little Black Box. HUAC and the “Hollywood Ten” . Hollywood's Changing Economy.
Flirting (but Coping) with Disaster.
A Wider View. Dodging the Red-Baiting Bullet.
Independence Days. Foreign Factors.

9. Staying Afloat in the Hollywood Mainstream.
Yes, But Is It Art? Who Really Decides What Films Get Made?
Creative People Who Call the Shots. What Is a Hollywood “Insider” ? Who Makes It? Miscellaneous Concerns.
The Categories. White Guys in the Mainstream.
Woody Allen: Outsider Player. George Lucas: Nostalgia Merchant. Steven Spielberg: Commercial Artist.
Women in the Deep End: A Shorter But Not Shallow List.
Jodie Foster: Foster Children Can Grow Up Happy. Barbara Streisand: Mental Yentl.
Ethnic Directors Making a Difference.
Robert Townsend: Painfully Funny. Mario Van Peebles.
Gen X, Y, Z Filmmakers: New Kids on the Block.
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Paul Thomas Anderson. Kevin Smith.
Some Films Worth Viewing.

10. The American Independent Film.
A Brief History of American Independents.
The Silent Era. The Sixties and Seventies: “The New Hollywood” . The Eighties and Nineties: How Much Success Is Too Much?
The Independent Scene Today.
Hollywood Be(Blair)Witched.
The Postmodern Polyglot.
Film's Hardest Nose: Documentary. New Technologies, New Cinemas.
Declaration of Independents.


11. French Revolutions.
It's Art, Stupid! A Century of Cinematic Splendor.
The Movies' First Magician.
Before the War.
Avowing the Avant-Garde. The “Other Renoir” . The Real Poetic Realism.
Surfing the “New Wave” .
The Changing of the 'Garde. Cahiers du Cinéma. True Truffaut. Thank God(ard) for French Film.
The Eighties and Nineties. Ten Fabulous French Films.

12. A Century of Italian Film.
Turnin' to Turin.
The Wages of War.
Ringing the White Telephone. A Few Good Films.
The Other Michelangelo. Getting Real(ist) with Roberto. Fellini the Fabulous. Falling for Fellini. Face Time.
The Past 20 Years.
New Blood. Italy's “Little Devil” .

13. Cleaning Up Germany's History of Propaganda Film.
Germany's Greatest -Ism.
Dr. Caligari and Beyond. Fantastic Fritz.
Hitler's Hired Help. A Few Young Men. Roads Not Taken: Film in East Germany. Unification and Beyond.

14. The Silver Screens of Scandinavia.
Danish Directions.
World's Oldest Surviving Production Company Shoots All. Denmark's Fabulous Five. From Olsen to Oscar Night.
The Networks of Norway. Swedish Sweetness.
Magnusson the Magician. Victor's Victories.
Ingmar Bergman and the Triumph of Scandinavian Cinema.
A Cinema of Life, Death, and Everything in Between. How to Watch a Bergman Film.

15. In the Limey Light: England's Cinematic Century.
The Beginnings.
England's Griffith: Cecil Hepworth. Those Bloody Americans. Alexander the Great.
Shooting (in) the War.
Of D-Day and Documentaries. True Lies.
The Lean Years.
Pulling Rank. Freeing British Cinema. The Atlantic Conduit Continues.
The Eighties and Nineties: Mixed Success. England's Left Foot: Irish Cinema.

16. Seeing Through the Red Filter: Eastern Europe.
Volga Displays: A Brief History of Russian Filmmaking.
Czars and Stars: Pre-Soviet Moviemaking. The Soviet Era: First Five-Year Plan. The Soviet Era: Second Five-Year Plan. The Soviet Era: Totalitarianism. Late and Post-Soviet Filmmaking.
Other Eastern European Cinemas: Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland.
Czech and Counter-Czech. Hungary for Film. Projecting Poland.
Avant-Garde Directors and Theorists to Remember.
Lev Kuleshov. Dziga Vertov (Denis the Red Menace). Vsevolod I. Pudovkin. Sergei Eisenstein. Andrei Tarkovsky.
Some Soviet Movies Worth Watching. Other Eastern Bloc-Busters.

17. Asian Angles: Filming in the Far East.
Two Chinas, Two Cinemas.
Movies on the Mainland. Top of the Fifth. Hou's Who in Recent Taiwanese Film.
Hong Kong: Cantonese, Kung-Fu, and a New Wave.
Bodies in Motion: The Violent Art of Kung-Fu Films. Rolling with the Punches: Hong Kong's “New Wave” .
Benching the Benshi: Japan's Illustrious Century.
Japan's Modern Masters.
The Master: The Art of Akira Kurosawa.
How to Watch a Kurosawa Film.

18. Third (World) Cinema.
Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Postcolonialism.
Politics and Filmmaking.
Filmmaking Collectives.
Local Color. U.S. and Them.
Africa. India. Latin America.
Argentina. Brazil. Mexico.
The Middle East.
Egypt. Israel.
Films Worth Remembering.


19. Frame and Mise-en-Scène: Film and Its Space.
The Mise-en-Scène Really Means Everything, Almost.
A Little History. Control Freaks vs. the Look of Reality.
Elements of the Mise-en-Scène.
Aleatory vs. Artificial Cinema. Framing: Mr. Inside-Outside. Spatially Speaking. Composition. Lighting Up the Room. Character Placement. Decor.
Films Worth Remembering.

20. Director's Cut: Calling the Shots.
Rating the Directors. How to Recognize a Great Director.
Technical, Aesthetic, and Political Innovation. Social Impact. Contemporary Impact. Continuing Influence. Lasting Recognition.
Theories of Directing.
Auteur Theory. Filmmaker as Traditional Artist. Filmmaker as Social Conduit.
The Directors.
Western and Central European Directors. Eastern European Director. Third-World Director. Hollywood Director. Avant-Garde Director.
Some Films on Directing.

21. The Fine Art of Camera Movement.
Tracking the History of Camera Movement.
The Primitive Era.
The Five Basic Techniques of Camera Movement. The Camera Moves in Relation to Something.
The Camera Moves in Relation to People. The Camera Can Move in Relation to Things. People Move in Relation to the Camera. Characters Move in Relation to Each Other. The Framing of a Picture Can Move. No Motion Is Good Motion.
Films Whose Movement Is Worth Watching.

22. Color My World.
Blitz-Klieg: A Brief History of Black-and-White Film.
Black-and-White Film Stock. Early Lighting for Early Film.
A Condensed History of Color.
Coloring in the Lines: Hand-Coloring. Coloring in the Lines: Stenciling. Totally Tinted. Killer Color: The Technicolor Solution. Post-Technicolor Technologies.
The Aesthetics of Black and White and Color.
Black and White and Technicolor in Hollywood's Golden Era. Black and White. Black and White Today. The Golden Era: Color Classic. Black and Blue: Using All the Crayons in the Box. Self-Reflexivity and Other Kinds of Color.
The Politics of Color: The Contemporary Scene. Draining Away and Saturating with Color. Famous Instances of Black and White and Color.

23. Making the Cut: Film Editing.
Fade In: A Brief History of Editing.
Before Editing. “Primitive” Editing. Griffith and Beyond. In Editing, Sometimes Less Is More. Editing Today.
The Purposes of Editing.
Determine the Speed at Which Events Move Along. Give or Withhold Information. Determine Your Feeling for Events and Characters. The Illusion of Unity.
Cutting for Content.
Cutting to Continuity. Parallel Editing. Match on Action. Eyeline Match. Flashback. Cutting for Chaos.
The Manner of Cutting. From Shooting to the Final Product.
Before the Cutting: Storyboarding and Shooting. The Editing Process.
Some Films Whose Editing Is Worth Visiting.

24. BOOM! The Sonic Side of Film.
A Brief History of Sound in Movies.
You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet: Before Sound. Inventing Sound. Look Who's Talking: Sound Changes the Industry.
Bring on Da Noise: Synchronous and Nonsynchronous Sound. Sound Effects and their Functions.
Simulating Reality. Adding or Creating Something That Is Not Really There. Creating a Mood.
A Musical Interlude.
Music: In or Out of the Plot. Musicals.
Some Sound Worth Hearing.

25. Artists or Stars? The Aesthetics of Acting.
Playing the Human Instrument. Film Acting vs. Theater Acting. The Star System. The Schools of Film Acting.
The Repertory System. “The Method” to Their Madness. “You talkin' to me?” : Improvisation and Amateurs.
“The Actor's Director” : Priming the Prima Donnas. The 14 Most Influential American Film Actors and Actresses.


26. An Idiot's Guide to Film Theory.
What Do We Mean by Theory?
Movie Reviews. Film Criticism. Theory of Cinema.
A History of Film Theory: Plato to Pluralism. Theory to Go.
Traditional Aesthetics: It's Art, for Pete's Sake. Marx at the Movies. Historicism. Cinema and Psychoanalysis. Gender. Race, Multicultural, and Ethnic Theory. Structuralism and Semiotics.
Further Reading.

27. From Theory to Practice: Putting It All Together.
Why Nosferatu? Unpacking Nosferatu: Plot, Aesthetics, and Technique.
Mise-en-Scène. Camera Work. Editing Counts. Special Effects. Acting Up a Storm. Low-Key but Not Laid-Back Lighting.
Specters of Nosferatu: Theorizing the Film.
Negotiating Nosferatu: A Marxist Approach. What Lies Beneath: A Psychoanalytic Approach. Vamping with the Vampire: Gender and Sexuality. Nosferatu, the Nazis, and the Jews.
Tying It All Together. A Dozen Films to Compare. What Now?


Appendix A. Other Good Books on Movies, Flicks, and Film.
Appendix B. Major North American Film Festivals.
Appendix C. Movie-Related Web Sites and Video Distributors.
Appendix D. Glossary.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2001

    A book that puts it all together.

    A fast but intelligent and comprehensive intro to the history of film and to the filmmaking industry. The 'Idiot's Guide' format makes it easy to find what you're looking for (British film, the roles of people on the set, whatever). Smart, funny writing, and lots of illustrations -- essential for a book on movies. A good buy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2001

    Great Start

    For anyone who loves movies, this is a great starting point to learn about this media. I absolutely loved it!

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