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Criticism, Theory & History

A to C by author

See also: Film Criticism, Theory & History Backlist; On Individual Films and Media > Film Criticism

Spectatorship: The Power of Looking On Spectatorship: The Power of Looking On
Michele Aaron
Spectatorship: The Power of Looking On cuts a path through the dense undergrowth of the contemporary debate on spectatorship. But what does it actually mean that spectatorship involves our sharing in or witnessing the private, painful or intimate acts of others, or that it depends upon our enjoyment of events that often represent a break with legal or social mores? This study explores these and related issues via detailed consideration of Hollywood classics such as Double Indemnity (1944). Softcover, 139 pp. $28.95.

Americanizing the Movies and "Movie Mad" Audiences, 1910-1914Americanizing the Movies and "Movie Mad" Audiences, 1910-1914

Richard Abel
This study provides the richest and most nuanced picture to date of cinema--both movies and movie-going--in the United States in the early 1910's. At the same time, it makes clear the profound relationship between early cinema and the construction of a national identity in this important transitional period. Softcover, 373 pp. $38.95.

Agee: Film Writing and Selected Journalism Agee: Film Writing and Selected Journalism
James Agee
Witty, probing, lacerating in his moral criticisms, eloquent in his admiration of filmmakers from Charlin Chaplin to John Huston, Agee is a critic who engages the reader no matter what subject he is writing about. This volume contains the full text of Agee on Film along with a trove of other previously uncollected reviews, Agee's screenplay for Charles Laughton's gothic masterpiece The Night of the Hunter, and a fascinating selection of Agee's penetrating journalism and book reviews. Hardcover, 748 pp. $56.00.

A Theory of Narrative
Rick Altman
In order to understand human interaction, award-winning scholar Rick Altman launches a close study of narrative's nature, its variation in different contexts, and the method through which it makes meaning. He employs inventive terminology and precise analytical methods throughout his groundbreaking work, making this volume ideal for teaching literary and film theory and for exploring the anatomy of narrative on a more general level. Softcover, 377 pp. $33.95.

Silent Film SoundSilent Film Sound

Rick Altman
Because silent cinema is widely perceived as having been exactly that -- silent -- no one has fully examined how sound was used to accompany the films of this era. Silent Film Sound reconsiders all aspects of sound practices during the entire silent film period. Based on extensive original research and accompanied by gorgeous illustrations, the book challenges the assumptions of earlier histories of this period in film and reveals the complexity and swiftly changing nature of American silent cinema. Hardcover, 462 pp. $70.00.

Understanding RealismUnderstanding Realism
Richard Armstrong
Using a variety of critical approaches, Understanding Realism examines the complex relationship between the moving image and appearance and reality. Deploying the films One Fine Day and Clerks as major case studies, Richard Armstrong's in depth treatment considers in turn the roles that narrative, genre, audience and ideology play in relation to realism in mainstream Hollywood and US independent film. He also discusses how it is possible to reconcile the impression that what is being watched is reality with the knowledge that it is not. Softcover, 141 pp. $23.95.

Film as ArtFilm as Art
Rudolf Arnheim
While volumes upon volumes have been written since Rudolf Arnheim published Film as Art, it has nevertheless endured as the definitive discussion of the formal and perceptual dynamics of cinema. Originally published in 1957, but still an essential volume in any serious film studies library, Film as Art is a vertitable classic of film theory. Softcover, 230 pp. $22.95.

Cinema by the BayCinema by the Bay
Sheerly Avni
In the early 1970s the San Francisco Bay Area film community exploded with a proliferation of California-schooled independent filmmakers and the founding of several new studios. Cinema by the Bay profiles the Bay Area's studios and directors, taking the reader on a guided tour through their histories and films, and includes filmographies, milestones, awards, and trivia. Softcover, $52.95.

The Red and the Blacklist The Red and the Blacklist
The Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate
Norman Barzman
This memoir, written by a blacklisted writer, fizzes with the wit and energy found in the classic Hollywood comedies of the forties. However, it is also laced with the claustrophobic dread of film noir as the author recalls being driven from Hollywood -- during the post-war McCarthyite witch-hunt -- into an emotionally difficult 30-year exile in France. Hardcover, 464 pp. $40.95.

Silent StarsSilent Stars
Jeannie Basinger
Film scholar Jeanine Basinger offers a revelatory, perceptive, and highly readable look at the greatest silent film stars -- not those few who are fully appreciated and understood, like Chaplin, Keaton, Gish, and Garbo, but those who have been misrepresented, unfairly dismissed, or forgotten. Softcover, 497 pp. $38.95.

What is Cinema?What is Cinema?

Andre Bazin
Originally published in the 1940s and 50s, Andre Bazin's revelatory essays on film aesthetics appeared in a variety of journals of the day. When they were finally compiled in 1958, Qu'est que le cinema? became an immediate classic and would go on to become one of the most enduring volumes in the canon of post-war film theory. In this stunning new translation -- which corrects, for the first time, various ambiguities and inaccuracies -- all of the major essays from Bazin's magnum opus (including one in English for the first time!) have been collection in a beautiful, hard-bound volume. Hardcover, 338 pp. $50.00.

Filming Difference: Actors, Directors, Producers, and Writers on Gender, Race, and Sexuality in FilmFilming Difference: Actors, Directors, Producers, and Writers on Gender, Race, and Sexuality in Film
Daniel Bernardi
Addressing representation and identity in a variety of production styles and genres, including experimental film and documentary, independent and mainstream film, and television drama, Filming Difference poses fundamental questions about the ways in which the art and craft of filmmaking force creative people to confront stereotypes and examine their own identities while representing the complexities of their subjects. Softcover, 378 pp. $34.95.

Down and Dirty PicturesDown and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of the Independent Film
Peter Biskind
In this follow-up to his enormously successful Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, Peter Biskind chronicles the rise of independent filmmakers and the twin engines -- Sundance and Mirimax -- that have powered them. Much like its predecessor, this book is full of fascinating detail, larger-than-life characters, and outrageous anecdotes. Above all, Down and Dirty Pictures is compulsively readable, and a must for anyone interested in the seismic changes in the film industry over the past 15 years. Softcover, 544 pp. $22.00.

Movies and the Meaning of Life: Philosophers Take on Hollywood Movies and the Meaning of Life: Philosophers Take on Hollywood
Kimberly A. Blessing & Paul J. Tudico
Movies and the Meaning of Life takes an in-depth look at some of the most popular, controversial, and resonant films of recent years, expertly extracting their relevance to the most profound meaning-of-life questions. Films discussed include: Memento, Waking Life, Fight Club, American Beauty, The Shawshank Redemption, Minority Report, Spider-Man, and Chasing Amy. Softcover, 302 pp. $24.50.

Hollywood Italians: Dagos, Palookas, Romeos, Wise Guys, and SopranosHollywood Italians: Dagos, Palookas, Romeos, Wise Guys, and Sopranos

Peter Bondanella
This book is a celebration of nearly a century of images of Italians in American motion pictures and their often under-appreciated, underpraised, and truly remarkable contribution to popular culture. Distinguished scholar Peter Bondanella reflects on the major figures -- both stars and filmmakers -- and discusses scores of significant films. Hardcover, 352 pp. $38.95.

Authorship in Film AdaptationAuthorship in Film Adaptation
Jack Boozer
Authoring a film adaptation of a literary source not only requires a media conversion but also a transformation as a result of the differing dramatic demands of cinema. Authorship in Film Adaptation is an accessible, provocative text that opens up new areas of discussion on the central process of adaptation surrounding the screenplay and screenwriter-director collaboration. Softcover, 341 pp. $30.50.

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.

Poetics of CinemaPoetics of Cinema
David Bordwell
Bringing together twenty-five years of work on what he has called the "historical poetics of cinema," David Bordwell here presents an extended analysis of a key question for film studies: how are films made, in particular historical contexts, in order to achieve certain effects? For Bordwell, films are made things, existing within historical contexts, and aim to create determinate effects. Beginning with this central thesis, Bordwell works out a full understanding of how films recast both cultural and cross-cultural influences for their cinematic purposes. Softcover, 495 pp. $47.50.

The Way Hollywood Tells ItThe Way Hollywood Tells It
David Bordwell
Hollywood moviemaking is one of the constants of American life, but how much has it changed since the glory days of the big studios? David Bordwell argues that the principles of visual storytelling created in the studio era are alive and well, even in today's bloated blockbusters. He traces the continuity of this tradition in a wide array of films made since 1960. In all, this book provides a vivid and engaging interpretation of how Hollywood moviemakers have created a tradition of cinematic storytelling that continues to engage audiences around the world. Softcover, 298 pp. $29.95.

Figures Traced in Light: On Cinematic Staging Figures Traced in Light: On Cinematic Staging
David Bordwell
This marvelous book is a detailed consideration of how cinematic staging carries the story, expresses emotion, and beguiles the audience through pictoral composition. Ranging over the entire history of cinema and illustrating his discussion with more than 500 frame enlargements, David Bordwell focuses on four filmmakers' unique contributions to the technique. Softcover, 314 pp. $34.95.

Reel Food: Essays on Food and FilmReel Food: Essays on Food and Film
Anne L. Bower
In a series of genre-jumping essays, this eccentric yet erudite anthology examines the rich intersection between food and film studies. Twenty-one chapters spans three sections -- Cooking up Cultural Values, Focus on Gender -- The Body, The Spirit, and Making Movies, Making Meals -- making for a comprehensive analysis, which will appeal to a broad range of readers. Softcover, 353 pp. $37.95.

Crowds, Power, and Transformation in CinemaCrowds, Power, and Transformation in Cinema
Lesley Brill
Academic discussions of modernity have long acknowledged the relationship between movies and crowds; however, there has never been a detailed investigation of the pairing, until now. Using the ideas from Elias Canetti's Crowds of Power as a starting point, Lesley Brill has written this intelligent and invigorating analysis of this intricate and important cinematic connection. Softcover, 279 pp. $43.00.

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.

From Walt to WoodstockFrom Walt to Woodstock: How Disney Created the Counterculture
Douglas Brode
Long before the cultural tumult of the sixties, Disney films preached pacifism, introduced generations to the notion of feminism, offered the screen's first drug-trip imagery, encouraged young people to become runaways, insisted on the need for integration, advanced the notion of a sexual revolution, and offered several other radical alternatives to the mainstream. In this highly original book, Douglas Brode argues that Disney, more than any other influence in popular culture, should be considered the primary creator of the sixties counterculture. Softcover, 252 pp. $34.95.

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Film Criticism, Theory & History titles are listed alphabetically by author's last name.
New & Featured
A to C
D to F
G to H
I to L
M to Q
R to S
T to Z
Various authors

Film Studies
Director Biographies
Producer Biographies
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


From the Lower East Side to Hollywood: Jews in American Popular CultureFrom the Lower East Side to Hollywood: Jews in American Popular Culture
Paul Buhle
While Jews have made an undeniable impact on the evolution of American popular culture, their contributions remain scarcely documented. From the Lower East Side to Hollywood draws upon extensive oral histories with several generations of Jewish artists, little-utilized Yiddish scholarship, and the author's own connections with contemporary comic-strip artists to make it the first comprehensive investigation of the formative Jewish influence upon the rise and development of American popular culture. Hardcover, 304 pp. $37.00.

The Remembered FilmThe Remembered Film
Victor Burgin
The Remembered Film
is unique in addressing a previously overlooked aspect of cinema: the isolated fragments of films, iconic images or scenes that fleetingly cross our perceptions and thoughts in the course of daily life. Victor Burgin offers a radical new way of thinking about film outside traditional film studies and in relation to our everyday lives, and his book will appeal to a wide audience interested in film and media. Softcover, 128 pp. $29.95.

"Injuns!" Native Americans in the Movies"Injuns!" Native Americans in the Movies
Edward Buscombe
In "Injuns!", the distinguished film scholar Edward Buscombe examines the history and reception of simplistic stereotypes, and explores the depiction of Native Americans in films that offer very different portrayals from those manufactured according to the traditional Hollywood perspective. In this book, Buscombe offers nothing less than a wholly original and readable account of the images of Native Americans through history and around the globe, revealing new and complex issues in our understanding of how oppressed peoples have been respresented in mass culture. Softcover, 272 pp. $20.95.

The CinematicThe Cinematic
David Campany
Manifestations of the cinematic in photography and of the photographic in cinema have been a springboard for the work of some of the most influential contemporary artists, including James Coleman, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Stan Douglas, Nan Goldin, Douglas Gordon, Cindy Sherman and Jeff Wall, among many others. The Cinematic is one of a series documenting major themes and ideas in contemporary art. Softcover, 221 pp. $29.95.

Film and Cinema SpectatorshipFilm and Cinema Spectatorship
Jan Campbell
In this book, Jan Campbell offers a comprehensive account of the different theoretical perspectives on film and cinema spectatorship, situating these in their cultural and historical contexts. Among the perspectives covered are those of feminism, modernism and cultural studies, with chapters dedicated to important topics such as early film, stars, and film aesthetics. Softcover, 274 pp. $32.95.

Marked Women: Prostitutes and Prostitution in the Cinema Marked Women: Prostitutes and Prostitution in the Cinema
Russell Campbell
This engaging and generously illustrated study explores the depiction of female prostitute characters and prostitution in world cinema, from the silent era to the present day. From the woman with control over her own destiny to the woman who cannot get away from her pimp, Russell Campbell shows the diverse representation of prostitutes in film. Softcover, 450 pp. $28.95.

Philosophy of Film and Motion PicturesPhilosophy of Film and Motion Pictures
An Anthology

Noel Carroll & Jinhee Choi
This authoritative anthology presents key selections from the best contemporary work in philosophy of film and motion pictures. Designed for classroom use, the essays that comprise this volume have been specially chosen for their clarity, precision, philosophical depth, and consonance with current cognitive science and psychology. Whether addressing assumptions about the objectivity of documentary film, fear of movie monsters, or moral questions surrounding the viewing of pornography, this text is replete with examples and discussion of moving pictures throughout. Softcover, 430 pp. $55.95.

Engaging the Moving ImageEngaging the Moving Image
Noel Carroll
Noel Carroll, one of the most brilliant theorists in contemporary film scholarship, has gathered in this book eighteen of his most recent essays on cinema and television. Readers interested in film, cognitivism and the emotions, the history of film theory, the relation of film and television, and film criticism will find much of interest in this stunning treatise on the philosophy of film. Hardcover, 420 pp. $67.95.

Cavell On FilmCavell On Film
William Rothman
This extensive collection offers a substantially complete retrospective of Stanley Cavell's previously uncollected writings on film. Cavell is the only major philosopher in the Anglo-American tradition who has made film a central concern of his work, and his work offers inspiration and new directions to the field of film studies. All periods of Cavell's career are represented, from the 1970s to the present, and the book includes many previously unpublished essays written since the early 1990s. In his introduction, William Rothman provides a useful and eloquent overview of Cavell's work on film and his aims as a philosopher more generally. Softcover, 399 pp. $36.95.

Vanity Fair's Tales of Hollywood Vanity Fair's Tales of Hollywood
Graydon Carter
This is an insider's look at big-studio moviemaking, revealing what really happened on the locations and back lots of 13 of the most iconic films and biggest box-office bombs in cinema history. Featuring stories packed with exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes anecdotes, courtesy of Vanity Fair's roster of marquee-name writers, this great collection explores the cultural impact of such films as Cleopatra, Sweet Smell of Success, Saturday Night Fever, and many more. Softcover, 338 pp. $17.50.

Feminist Film TheoristsFeminist Film Theorists
Shohini Chaudhuri
This book focuses on the groundbreaking work of Laura Mulvey, Kaja Silverman, Teresa de Lauretis, and Barbara Creed. Each of these thinkers has opened up a new and distinctive approach to the study of film and this book provides the most detailed account so far of their ideas. Shohini Chaudhuri illuminates their work by explaining the concepts of the male gaze, the female gaze, technologies of gender, queering desire, the monstrous-feminine, and masculinity in crisis. Softcover, 148 pp. $29.95.

War FilmsWar Films
James Clarke
Films about war have been a part of cinema history since the beginning of the moving picture, and in the post-World War Two era have gone on the assume a prominent place in our collective imagination. With profiles of All Quiet on the Western Front, The Dam Busters, The Great Escape, Platoon, Casualties of War, and Born on the Fourth of July, just to name a few, War Films explores the heart-wrenching storylines, pure spectacle and the dramatisation of history in one of the world's most enduring genres. Softcover, 295 pp. $34.95.

Incongruous EntertainmentIncongruous Entertainment
Camp, Cultural Value, and the MGM Musical

Steven Cohan
With their lavish costumes and sets, ebullient song and dance numbers, and iconic movie stars, the musicals that MGM produced in the 1940s seem today to epitomize camp. Yet they were originally made to appeal to broad, mainstream audiences. In this lively, nuanced, and provocative reassessment of the MGM musical, Steven Cohan argues that this seeming incongruity -- between camp value and popular appreciation of these musicals -- is not as contradictory as it seems. He demonstrates that the films' extravagance and queerness were deliberate elements and keys to their popular success. Softcover, 368 pp. $33.95.

The Cinema Book The Cinema Book
Third Edition
Edited by Pam Cook
The Cinema Book is widely recognised as the ultimate guide to cinema. Authoritative and comprehensive, this Third Edition has been extensively revised, updated and expanded in response to developments in cinema and cinema studies. It includes many exciting new sections, from Hong Kong cinema to New Hollywood, and from Japanese anime to contemporary British directors as well as in-depth case studies written by leading international film scholars and historians. Softcover, 610 pp. $55.95.

Screening the PastScreening the Past
Memory and Nostalgia in Cinema
Pam Cook
In Screening the Past, Pam Cook explores film culture's obsession with the past through searching and provocative analyses of a wide range of films. She engages with current debates about the role of cinema in mediating history through memory and nostalgia through a discussion of In the Mood for Love and Far From Heaven, suggesting that many films use strategies of memory to challenge established ideas of history, and the traditional role of historians. Softcover, 246 pp. $42.95.

Widescreen Widescreen
Mark Cousins
Cinema has undergone huge changes in the last decade. Writing from Britain, Europe, Iran, India, China and Mexico, Mark Cousins has looked at the social trends and aesthetic implications of modern cinema's shifting sands. This volume is the result; a sceptical, passionate, eye-witness account of film today, argued originally and written with panache. Softcover, 232 pp. $31.95.

Revolution!Revolution! The Explosion of World Cinema in the Sixties
Peter Cowie
The period 1958-69 saw a brilliant explosion of talent in the world of film-maiking. From France and Italy to India, Japan, Poland and Czechoslovakia, young film-makers sprang from nowhere to challange the dreary conformity of the fifties and flout the abiding taboos, both sexual and political, of their age. Revolution! recaptures afresh the cultural spirit of the sixties through a wide range of new interviews with those maverick film-making talents of that time. Softcover, 286 pp. $21.00.

Hollywood Fantasies of MiscegenationHollywood Fantasies of Miscegenation
Susan Courtney
This scholarly text examines white fantasies of interracial desire in the history of popular American film. From the first interracial screen kiss of 1903, through the Production Code's nearly thirty-year ban on depictions of "miscegenation," to the contemplation of mixed marriage in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, this book demonstrates a long, popular, yet underexamined record of cultural fantasy at the movies. Softcover, 373 pp. $40.95.

Projections: 15+ The European Film AcademyProjections: 15+ The European Film Academy
Peter Cowie & Pascal Edelmann
This volume features articles and interviews with leading directors, writers, producers, actors, cinematographers, critics, directors of festivals and cinema institutions - as well as audience members from across the wide swathe of Europe - in which they discuss the question: What is a European film? Softcover, 356 pp. $30.00.

Big Screen RomeBig Screen Rome
Monica Silveira Cyrino
Big Screen Rome is the first systematic survey of the most important films from the past half-century that reconstruct the image of Roman antiquity. The book provides in-depth discussions of a broad selection of famous films, including: Quo Vadis, Ben-Hur, Spartacus, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Monty Python's Life of Brian, and Gladiator. Softcover, 274 pp. $39.95.

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