Despite the subtitle and a preface warning of a "humorous and quirky approach," this British import is an absorbing, fact-filled cinema history. Alphabetically arranged, it resembles Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion (HarperCollins, 1995. 11th ed.) in its sparkling style and topics (e.g., disguise), characters (e.g., Tarzan), and analysis of important films. Entry lengths compare favorably with those in Ephraim Katz's exhaustive Film Encyclopedia (HarperCollins, 1994. 2d ed.), with exact performer chronologies and credits as well as supporting player biographies. Brewer also quotes actors and filmmakers. Among the esoterica: Barabbas was the only movie made during an eclipse; King Kong's native extras devised a nonsense language. There are some errors and omissions, e.g., Lillie rather than Lilli Palmer, Bad Days rather than Bad Day at Black Rock, identifying American-born director Stanley Kubrik as "British," and listing Nina Foch but not Susan Hayward. Still, this reasonably priced reference is recommended for all cinema and most general collections.-Kim R. Holston, American Inst. for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Malvern, Pa.