"These hefty, valuable volumes are stuffed with tons of information about all your favorite filmmakers."
Scene, January 29, 2008
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A copy of this valuable book is destined to find its way into the home of every true movie fan, cinema scholar, and film critic. It's a chronological compendium that profiles the 501 most important film directors of all time. Entries--augmented with a photo of each director plus movie stills from his or her films--describe such major figures as Sergei Eisenstein, Martin Scorsese, Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, Leni Riefenstahl, Orson Welles, Federico Fellini, Steven Spielberg, Robert Altman, and many, many others. Written by an expert team of film critics and historians, this book was compiled under the direction of editor Steven J. Schneider, who's 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die has sold a half-million copies worldwide to date. Readers will learn--
All filmmakers receive at least a one-page entry, which includes discussion of their work and influences, their complete filmography, and listing of awards they have received. Seventy-five directors of special importance are profiled in larger entries--two-page spreads--while 15 internationally acknowledged master directors are discussed and examined in two double-page spreads. Here is a comprehensive survey of the creative imaginations behind more than a hundred years of filmmaking. It's a wonderful book for browsing, for reference, and for gaining insights into the personalities who directed the most memorable movies ever made.
Scene, January 29, 2008
Schneider, the editor behind 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, has assembled a large team of professors, film historians, writers, editors, and others to contribute to these entertaining single-volume references. Primarily of Anglo-American authorship, both books are arranged chronologically by date of birth and follow the same format: e.g., the bibliographical entries include one highlighted brief but revealing quote either by the person under consideration or by a highly recognized individual about the person in question. Of the total number of contributors to Directors, about 40 percent are from the United States, 24 percent are from the United Kingdom, and the balance is mostly from Australia, Canada, and four European countries. The volume represents quite a variety of perspectives, both in terms of the nationality and of the disciplines of the contributors. The filmmakers do not always garner the same level of coverage as the movie stars (perhaps because information about movie directors is not as readily available as that for movie stars). For this reason, Directorsis useful for bringing to our attention directors born between the 1860s and the 1970s (the last entry is for David Gordon Green, born in 1975).
Movie Starsalso starts with the 1860s but ends with the 1980s (with actress Natalie Portman, born in 1981). The unusual choice of arranging the entries by sequential birthdays means that in order to find someone of interest, readers must use the contents pages. There is a pithy index, but it covers only references within the entries. There is no index to the film titles mentioned in each entry. Each person receives at least a one-pageentry, with a photograph (usually in color) and a list of "Top Takes...." (a list of film credits). The birth date and place of birth begin each entry, followed by a section titled "Star Qualities." (Marilyn Monroe, for example, is described as "'The Blond Bombshell'; quintessential blue-eyed, blonde movie star with a breathless voice and enviable figure; natural comedy talent.") The most notable actors are represented with additional photographic stills from their significant films. The biographical aspects tend to be very limited and inconsistent from one entry to another. The film highlights are of the greatest value.
Graham R. Walden
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Steven Jay Schneider is a film critic, scholar, and producer with an academic degree in philosophy from Harvard University and in cinema studies from New York University. He is also the general editor of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, published in North America by Barron's.
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