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Criticism, Theory and History

See also: On Individual Films and Media > Film Criticism

New & Featured

In Glorious Technicolor: A Century of Film and How it Has Shaped Us In Glorious Technicolor: A Century of Film and How it Has Shaped Us
Francine Stock
Despite decades of rapid change, we are still hypnotised and seduced by the power of cinema; it remains our most persuasive mass entertainment. In this fascinating, entertaining and illuminating book Francine Stock takes us on a personal journey through a glorious century of cinema, showing in vivid detail how film both reflects and makes our world. Hardcover, 344 pp. $43.95.

The Story of FilmThe Story of Film
Mark Cousins
Weaving personalities, technology, and production with engaging descriptions of groundbreaking scenes, Mark Cousins uses his experience as film historian, producer, and director to capture the shifting trends of movie history withot recourse to jargon. Softcover, 512 pp. $30.95.

The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline KaelThe Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael

Pauline Kael & Sanford Schwartz
Pauline Kael, in her years as film critic for the New Yorker, emerged as one of the most important film critics of the century. Here is a collection of some of her best writing, and endlessly revealing and entertaining dialogue with Kael at her witty, exhilarating, and opinionated best. Hardcover, 828 pp. $46.00.

I Found It at the MoviesI Found It at the Movies

Philip French
Essential reading for anyone who enjoys witty, intelligent engagement with the big screen, this is a collection of some of Philip French's best film writing from 1964 to 2009. The subjects explored are as various, entertaining and challenging as cinema itself. Softcover, 294 pp. $32.95.

An Army of PhantomsAn Army of Phantoms

J. Hoberman
A refreshingly original and well researched examination of the effect that the cold war had on how America made, watched and understood movies, and how American movies affected the Cold War. Hardcover, 383 pp. $34.50.

Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy

Saul Austerlitz
From Charlie Chaplin to Will Ferrell, The Marx Brothers to the Coen Brothers, and everyone in between, this is an affectionate, biographical chronicle of the best and most hilarious people in American film comedy. Softcover, 512 pp. $27.95.

Warning ShadowsWarning Shadows: Home Alone With Classic Cinema

Gary Giddins
From the first nickoleons to the era of DVDs and online streaming, Warning Shadows traces the way we watch movies. Writing with his signature wit and insight, Gary Giddins explores more than two hundred films, classics and neglected gems. He focuses on great directors, from Hitchcock's suspense to Lubitsch's comedy, and actors, from Edward G. Robinson's tough guys to Joan Crawford's shop girls, while placing dozens of movies in context: horror, noir, animations, literary adaptations, comedies, musicals, biopics, war films, and more. Softcover, 416 pp. $23.50.

The Great Movies IIIThe Great Movies III

Roger Ebert
This is Roger Ebert's third collection of essays on the creme de la creme of the silver screen, each one a model of critical appreciation and a blend of love and analysis that will send readers back to the films with a fresh set of eyes and renewed enthusiasm -- or perhaps just a suggestion for a first-time viewing. From The Godfather: Part II to Groundhog Day, from The Last Picture Show to Last Tango in Paris, the hundred pieces gathered here display a welcome balance between the familiar and esoteric, spanning Hollywood blockbusters and hidden gems, independent works and foreign-language films alike. Hardcover, 418 pp. $34.50.

Illuminations: Memorable Movie Moments	Illuminations: Memorable Movie Moments
Richard D. Pepperman
Great films etch themselves on our lives. By juxtaposing archival reviews with contemporary appraisals, this book analyzes the most memorable moments from 50 classic films. The book investigates the clashing judgements, the irresistable attractions, and the lifelong impact of movies -- their exacting moments as well as individual and collective cinematic remembrances. Softcover, 242 pp. $32.95.

Goodbye Cinema, Hello CinephiliaGoodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia
Jonathan Rosenbaum
This new book brings together over fifty examples of Rosenbaum's criticism from the span of his writing career, each of which demonstrates his passion for the way we view movies, as well as how we write about them. Charting our changing concerns with the interconnected issues that surround video, DVDs, the Internet, and new media, the writings collected here also highlight Rosenbaum's polemics concerning our digital age. In all, this is a consummate collection of his work, not simply for fans of this seminal critic, but for all those open to the wide variety of films he embraces and helps us to understand. Softcover, 391 pp. $30.00.

Hooked: Drug War Films in Britain, Canada, and the United StatesHooked: Drug War Films in Britain, Canada, and the United States

Susan C. Boyd
In Hooked, Susan C. Boyd explores over a century of American, British, and Canadian films containing fictional representations of drug use, the drug trade, and the war on drugs. She examines not only popular, mainstream films but also counter-culture, alternative, and 'stoner' movies, including Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, and Trailer Park Boys: The Movie. Softcover, 250 pp. $27.95.

Sex and Violence: The Hollywood Censorship WarSex and Violence: The Hollywood Censorship Wars
Tom Pollard
For more than a century, the American film industry has self-regulated the censorship of its films. Yet despite one hundred years of experience, the relationship between film producers, film consumers, and the larger community remains exposed sensitive on this hot issue. Sex and Violence is a rigourous and comprehensive examination of the hidden history of film censorship in the U.S. and is essential reading for anyone who believes in freedom of expression in the arts. Softcover, 245 pp. $27.95.

The ABCs of Classic HollywoodThe ABCs of Classic Hollywood

Robert B. Ray
Speaking about the kind of filmmaking now known as Classic Hollywood -- the most popular and influential period in the history of cinema -- Vincente Minnelli once gave away its secret: "I feel that a picture that stays with you is made up of a hundred or more hidden things. They're things that the audience is not conscious of, but that accumulate." In The ABCs of Classic Hollywood, Robert Ray attempts to identify and classify these elusive characteristics. Softcover, 392 pp. $35.95.

Going to the Movies: Hollywood and the Social Experience of Cinema Going to the Movies: Hollywood and the Social Experience of Cinema

Richard Maltby, Melvyn Stokes & Robert Allen
In pioneering essays by many of the leading experts in this rapidly-developing field of cinema history, Going to the Movies moves beyond the familiar images of nickelodeons and movie palaces to analyse the place of movie theatres in local communities, the roles of race and religion in constructing and segregating audiences, the links between film and other entertainment media, the varied forms of non-theatrical exhibition and the historical development of the globalized audience. Softcover, 480 pp. $42.00.

Second Takes: Critical Approaches to the Film SequelSecond Takes: Critical Approaches to the Film Sequel

Carolyn Jess-Cooke & Constatine Verevis
Taking a broad range of sequels as case studies, from the Godfather movies to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Second Takes confronts the complications posed by film sequels and their aftermaths, proposing new critical approaches to what has become a dominant industrial mode of Hollywood cinema. Softcover, 251 pp. $35.95.

Declarations of IndependenceDeclarations of Independence
John Berra
American independent cinema is a key cultural niche within the wider film industry and its success, since the early 1990s, proves that there is an audience for alternative media. This book offers an academic discussion of the genre and considers whether unique independent film can thrive or even survive in an industry of mass production and profit. Softcover, 224 pp. $35.95.

Abandoned ImagesAbandoned Images
Stephen Barber
Due to the rise in digital filmmaking and straight-to-DVD and on-demand distribution, the film industry is presently undergoing a process of profound transformation. Movie theatres, at one time the centre of the film-going experience, have fallen into disuse and, in some cases, have been re-imagined as churches or nightclubs. Stephen Barber's Abandoned Images takes us inside these remarkable places on a quest to understand the birth and death of film as both a medium and a social event. Softcoer, 185 pp. $29.95.

Queer Cinema in EuropeQueer Cinema in Europe
Edited by Robin Griffiths
The emergence of a noticeably 'queer' voice in European filmmaking over the past two decades has created an exciting new area for academic analysis and debate. This landmark anthology offers the first comprehensive account of an intriguing contemporary genre. Softcover, 227 pp. $48.00.

Film Festivals: From European Geopolitics to Global Cinephilia Film Festivals: From European Geopolitics to Global Cinephilia

Marijke De Valck
Film Festivals are hugely popular events that attract lovers of cinema worldwide, but they are also a uniquely revealing index of globalization in the realm of culture and the arts. Focusing on the world's most famous festivals -- Cannes, Berlin, Venice, and Rotterdam -- this book takes a geopolitical approach to its thesis and proposes a comprehensively new understanding of film festivals. Softcover, 276 pp. $59.95.

Screening Modernism: European Art Cinema, 1950-1980Screening Modernism: European Art Cinema, 1950-1980
Andras Balint Kovacs
Casting a fresh light on the renowned films of auteurs such as Antonioni, Fellini, and Bresson, as well as drawing out from the shadows a range of lesser-known works, Screening Modernism is the first comprehensive study of European art cinema's postwar heyday. By exploring not only modernism's cinematic orgins but also its stylistic, thematic, and cultural avatars as well, this book lays out creative new ways to think about the historical periods that comprise this golden age of film. Softcover, 428 pp. $27.00.

Victorian Vogue: British Novels on ScreenVictorian Vogue: British Novels on Screen
Dianne F. Sadoff
Ranging from cinematic images of Jane Austen's estates to Oscar Wilde's drawing rooms, Dianne F. Sadoff looks at popular heritage films, often featuring Hollywood stars, that have been adapted from nineteenth-century novels. Taking a broad view of the relationships among film, literature, and current events, Sadoff contrasts film not merely with their nineteenth-century source novels, but with crucial historical moments in the twentieth century, showing cultural use in interpreting the present, not just the past. Softcover, 329 pp. $30.00.

Film Art: An IntroductionFilm Art: An Introduction

Ninth Edition
David Bordwell & Kristin Thompson
Ever since the first edition was published in 1979, Film Art has been the most widely read and respected introduction to film study. Emphasizing how artistic purposes guide form and technique, David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson help students develop analytical skills that will enrich their understanding of any film. This ninth edition is generously illustrated with frame enlargements from hundreds of films and it includes a tutorial CD-ROM with film clips, commentaries, and quizes. Softcover, 519 pp. $109.00.

The YouTube ReaderThe YouTube Reader

Pelle Snickars & Patrick Vonderau
YouTube is the very epitome of today's digital media culture. The platform has rapidly developed into the world's largest archive of moving images, promising endless opportunities for amateur video, entertainment formats and viral marketing. This is the first comprehensive book to study YouTube as an industry, an archive and a cultural form. Bringing together original contributions by renowned scholars from the US and Europe, The YouTube Reader critically discusses the potentials and pitfalls of "broadcasting yourself." Hardcover, 511 pp. $31.50.

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Film Criticism, Theory & History titles are listed alphabetically by author's last name.
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Film Studies
Director Biographies
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Canadian Film Studies
National Film Studies

Film Criticism
Film Noir
Gay, Lesbian & Queer Criticism, Theory and History
Horror Films
Women, Gender & Feminist Criticism, Theory & History

Film Glossaries & Encylopedias
Film History
On Individual Films
Directing & Producing
Screenplays & Screenwriting
Technical Film
Actors & Acting

Casablanca Movies and Memory
Marc Auge
Marc Auge was eleven or twelve years old when he first saw Casablanca. The film -- with its recurring scenes of waiting, menace, and flight -- occupies a significant place in Auge's own memory of his uprooted childhood and the wartime exploits of his family. Seamlessly weaving together film criticism and memoir, this book moves between Auge's insights into the filmgoing experience and his reflections on his own life. Softcover, 104 pp. $23.95.

American Cinema of the 1920s: Themes and VariationsAmerican Cinema of the 1920s: Themes and Variations

Lucy Fischer
The 1920s was the era in which cinema came into its own as a form of mass entertainment. It was during this period that film studios were transformed into major corporations and the star system was established. In then original essays, this anthology examines the film industry's continued growth and prosperity in the context of important themes of the 1920s. Softcover, 291 pp. $34.95.

Film Studies: An IntroductionFilm Studies: An Introduction
Ed Sikov
Ed Sikov builds a step-by-step curriculum for the appreciation of all types of narrative cinema, detailing the essential elements of film form and systematically training the spectator to be an active reader and critic. This book can be utilized alongside any screening list and can be used within courses on film history, film theory, or popular culture. Softcover, 212 pp. $34.95.

Bad Bitches and Sassy SupermamasBad Bitches and Sassy Supermamas

Stephane Dunn
This lively study explores the sexualized, subordinate positioning of women in low-budget blaxploitation action films as well as more seriously radical films, in which black women are typically portrayed as trifling "bitches" compared to the supermacho black male heroes. This is a close examination of a distinct moment in the history of African American representation in popular cinema, tracing its emergence out of a radical political era, influenced especially by the Black Power movement and feminism. Softcover, 166 pp. $29.95.

Britton on Film: The Complete Film Criticism of Andrew BrittonBritton on Film: The Complete Film Criticism of Andrew Britton

Andrew Britton
When Andrew Britton focused his intelligence and erudition on the subject of film, the resulting criticism was fresh, stimulating, and always highly serious. Collected here for the first time are his complete works. The subjects that he tackles run the gamut -- from Hitchcock, postmodernism, and Godard, to horror films, feminism, and Cary Grant, just to name a few. This collection is a treasure trove of insights by a critic of formidable power. Softcover, 533 pp. $55.95.

Crime Films: Investigating the SceneCrime Films: Investigating the Scene
Kirsten Moana Thompson
Part of the Short Cuts series, this volume analyses the wide body of films that fall under the rubric of crime, from the gangster film to the film noir, and from the classic whodunnit to TV series like CSI. The criminal underworld takes on many forms, and this volume delves into recent developments in the erotic thriller such as Basic Instinct and neo-noirs such as LA Confidential and Body Heat. There are also a number of close readings of some of the most enduring crime films, from G-Men to Se7en as well as of TV series such as Homicide and Hill Street Blues. Softcover, 142 pp. $25.00.

100 American Independent Films100 American Independent Films
Second Edition
Jason Wood
In this revised and updated new edition, Jason Wood provides a guide to one hundred of the most interesting and influential American independent films, featuring indie classics such as Shadow, Blood Simple and Reservoir Dogs, with twenty-five brand new entries, including recent releases such as Old Joy, Junebug and Me and You and Everyone We Know. Each entry includes a plot synopsis, a commentary on the film's significance, production and exhibition history and cross-references to other films. Softcover, 279 pp. $21.95.

Fifty Key American FilmsFifty Key American Films

John White
Fifty Key American Films explores and contextualizes some of the most important films ever made in the United States. With case studies from the early years of cinema to the present day, this comprehensive Key Guide provides accessible analyses from a range of theoretical perspectives. Softcover, 262 pp. $35.50.

Farber on FilmFarber on Film: The Complete Writings of Manny Farber
Robert Polito
This volume contains Manny Farber's extraordinary body of work in its entirety for the first time, from his early and previously uncollected weekly reviews for The New Republic and The Nation to his brilliant later essays on Godard, Fassbinder, Herzog, Scorsese, Altman, and others. Featuring an introduction by editor Robert Polito that examines in detail the stages of Farber's career and his enduring significance as a writer and thinker, Farber on Film is a landmark publication that is destined to become a classic in the field. Hardcover, 824 pp. $50.00.

Reinventing Cinema: Movies in the Age of Media ConvergenceReinventing Cinema: Movies in the Age of Media Convergence
Chuck Tyron
Reinventing Cinema examines film culture at the turn of the century, at the precise moment when digital media are altering our historical relationship with the movies. In an eye-opening analysis that spans multiple disciplines, Chuck Tryon addresses the interaction between production, distribution, and reception of films, television, and other new and emerging media. Softcover, 215 pp. $33.95.

Indiewood, USAIndiewood, USA
Geoff King
"Indiewood" is the place where Hollywood and the American independent sector meet, where lines blur and two very different kinds of cinema come together in a striking blend of creativity and commerce. This book is the first to provide objective analysis of this distinctive region of the contemporary American film landscape. Softcover, 294 pp. $30.50.

The History on Film ReaderThe History on Film Reader
Marnie Hughes-Warrington
Historical film studies is a burgeoning field, with a large and ever growing number of publications from across the globe. This reader distills the mass of work, offering readers an introduction to just under 30 of the most critical and representative writings on the relationship between film and history. Softcover, 326 pp. $53.95.

Adventures of Perception: Cinema as Exploration: Essays/InterviewsAdventures of Perception: Cinema as Exploration: Essays/Interviews

Scott MacDonald
Over the past twenty-five years, Scott MacDonald's kaleidoscopic explorations of independent cinema have become the most important chronicle of avant-garde and experimental film in the United States. In this collection of thematically related personal essays and conversations, MacDonald takes us on a fascinating journey into many underexplored territories of cinema. Softcover, $35.95.

Hollywood Independents: The Postwar Talent TakeoverHollywood Independents: The Postwar Talent Takeover
Denise Mann
This book explores the crucial period from 1948 to 1962 when independent film producers first became key components of the modern corporate entertainment industry. Denise Mann examines the impact of the radically changed filmmaking climate -- the decline of the studios, the rise of television, and the rise of potent talent agencies like MCA -- on a group of prominent talent-turned-producers, including Burt Lancaster, Joseph Mankiewicz, Elia Kazan, and Billy Wilder. Softcover, $31.95.

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Last modified February 29, 2012.
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