This celebration of Hollywood moviemaking, a tie-in with a forthcoming PBS series, moves from Edison's invention of the peephole kinetoscope in 1894, through cinema's emergence as a sophisticated narrative form, to recent films like Thelma and Louise and Batman. Emphasis is on classics of the 1930s, '40s and '50s. Basinger, chair of film studies at Wesleyan, uses 200 film stills (half in color) in a savvy analysis of how movies manipulate audiences and how genre conventions such as screwball comedies, war movies, westerns and film noir shape and reflect American values and behavior. Her history of the Hollywood studio system detects a shift of power to directors, stars and agents after conglomerates bought the studios. She also investigates the synergistic interaction between television and the silver screen, and includes sections on competition from Europe, political blacklisting in the 1940s and '50s, and the star-manufacturing process. (Nov.)
Though Europe was perhaps first in capturing moving images on celluloid strips, Hollywood invented "The Movies." Film is one of our nation's few native art forms, and as this book amply illustrates, we could have done worse. Although essentially a tie-in to a PBS series of the same name, this luscious coffee-table volume stands well on its own. In 13 chapters, film scholar Basinger covers a century of domestic filmmaking, from Edison's 1894 capturing of a man's sneeze to recent full-length features. Fans of old classics and those of modern films will find something of interest as the text surveys both the film-factory world of the long-deceased studio system and today's independent productions. The text, which not only follows the history of film but dabbles in its sociology and psychology as well, is buttressed with 300 photographs (100 in color)-some standards, some new. Basinger rounds up the usual information, but there's an equal amount of original material on today's movies and stars here, making this a worthy purchase for large film collections. Smaller collections may wait to see how much interest the PBS series generates before ordering. [For a review of the accompanying video series, see p. 194.-Ed.]-Michael Rogers, "Library Journal"
YA-Those who enjoyed the television series will delight in this companion to it. Basinger's full-scale, chronological survey of film technique, genre, and industry changes will captivate filmgoers and students of all ages. A lively text accompanies the superb pictorial layout. This book is a jewel!