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General Film Criticism, Theory & History

See also: Film > General History Backlist; Film > Criticism, Theory and History (more academic); On Individual Films and Media > Film Criticism

Bringing Up Oscar
Debra Ann Pawlak
Today, movies are so ingrained in our culture that it is hard to imagine a time when former cowpokes, gold prospectors, vaudevillians and even junk dealers made up the rules of Hollywood. This is the untold story of the innovative pioneers who made movies the preeminent art form of the twentieth-century by founding the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Hardcover, 359 pp. $35.00.

Weird Hollywood Weird Hollywood

Joe Oesterle
Author Joe Oesterle takes readers on an eccentric tour of Tinseltown in Weird Hollywood. This book is packed with all the stories that your history teacher wouldn't teach you, including: superheroes, hidden Nazi camps, a civilization of underground Lizard People, unusual religious practices, and a healthy dose of UFOs. Hardcover, 237 pp. $23.95.

Secret Lives of Great FilmmakersSecret Lives of Great Filmmakers

Robert Schnakenberg
With outrageous and uncensored profiles of everyone from D.W. Griffith to Quentin Tarantino, Secret Lives of Great Filmmakers reveals the little known secrets of all your favourite directors. Why did Charlie Chaplin refuse to bathe for weeks at a time? Was Alfred Hitchcock really missing a belly button? Is Walt Disney's corpse preserved in a state of suspended animation? And why on earth did Francis Ford Coppola direct a 3-D pornographic movie? The legends of the silver screen will never be the same. Softcover, 287 pp. $19.95.

Obscene, Indecent, Immoral, and OffensiveObscene, Indecent, Immoral, and Offensive: 100+ Years of Censored, Banned and Controversial Films

Stephen Tropiano
This entertaining and insightful book is the first popular study of films that have earned a special place in history by pushing the envelope with their handling of provocative subjects and themes. Softcover, 364 pp. $24.95.

The Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial HistoryThe Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History

Jim Piazza & Gail Kinn
You are invited to share eighty years of stars and statues, directors and presenters, all the winners and losers, and all the glamour and gossip that is Oscar. Get the full story and all the facts: memorable images, behind-the-scenes and on-camera anecdotes, and unabridged lists by year and category of every nominee that has ever heard his or her name called on the brightest night in Hollywood. Softcover, 359 pp. $31.50.

Romantic Comedy: Boy Meets Girl Meets GenreRomantic Comedy: Boy Meets Girl Meets Genre

Tamar Jeffersd McDonald
Romantic Comedy offers an accessible introduction to one of the most popular but generally overlooked film genres. Softcover, 133 pp. $26.95.


Fantastic Female FilmmakersFantastic Female Filmmakers

Suzanne Simoni
Fantastic Female Filmmakers tells the stories of ten women who are among the most creative and respected directors in the world. Nell Shipman started her own production company in the silent movie days. American actress Ida Lupino was the first woman to direct herself in a film. Academy Award-nominee Deepa Mehta brought the stories of her native India to audiences around the world against all the odds. These directors prove that women can be stars behind the camera as well as on the screen. Softcover, 122 pp. $10.95.

Ready For My Close-Up!Ready For My Close-Up!

Edited by Denny Martin Flinn
Ready for My Close-Up! captures the timeless language of so many unforgettable moments in cinema, from Groucho Marx's humorous "I shot an elephant in my pajamas" to Julia Roberts' discontented "Basically I've been hungry for a decade," from Jack Nicholson's contemptuous "Son, we live in a world that has walls" to James Earl Jones' reassuring "People will come, Ray." this book is a must-have for all movie buffs, aspiring screenwriters Softcover, 192 pp. $22.95.

Silent CinemaSilent Cinema

Robert J. Robb
Through a study of the earliest origins of cinema to the stars, comedians and directors who became popular from the late-Victorian era to the end of the 1920s, and including a look at the earliest Hollywood scandals of the time, Silent Cinema will be a handy guide to the art of cinema's silent years in Hollywood and across the globe. Softcover, 159 pp. $24.95.

Chasing DragonsChasing Dragons

David West
Written for both interested filmgoers and established aficionados, Chasing Dragons is an essential introduction and guide to the martial arts cinemas of Japan, Hong Kong and Hollywood. Chasing Dragons explores over fifty key films, their texts, fighting techniques, stars and directors--set in the distinct cultures producing and forming them. Softcover, 272 pp. $22.95.

On Location: Cities of the World in FilmOn Location: Cities of the World in Film

Claudia Hellman & Claudine Weber-Hof
Of cinema's various delights, film locations may be the most charming. An address, a certain city square, or even a particular park bench can close the gap between the dream world of movies and everyday life, and the effect is pure magic. On Location: Cities in the World of Film presents the behind-the-scenes stories from cities and their locations- both famous and mundane- that have featured in popular films. This richly illustrated volume presents 18 cities and their world famous films with a forward by Wim Wenders. Hardcover, 200 pp. $43.50.

Still Moving: The Film and Media Collections of the Museum of Modern ArtStill Moving: The Film and Media Collections of the Museum of Modern Art

Steven Higgins
Here, for the first time, is a volume that celebrates the MoMA's remarkable film archive. With over 500 luminous images drawn from individual films, this book is a glorious visual narrative of the museum's collection. The lucid introduction, by Steven Higgins, outlines the history of the collection and gives some insight into how the museum goes about fulfilling its mandate: acquiring, preserving, and exhibiting these extraordinary and singular works. Hardcover, 374 pp. $78.00.

Glorious TechnicolorGlorious Technicolor

Fred Basten
This is a full account of the dazzling Technicolor years that turned the screen from silver to every color of the rainbow. Here in one volume are the films, the stars, the showmen and all the elements behind the phemomenon that changed movies forever. Beautiful film stills and rare behind-the-scenes photos, many in full colour, taken on the sets of memorable Technicolor movies highlight the personalities and stories behind the making of movies. From the long stuggle to bring perfect colour to motion pictures, to the restoration of classic features and the evolution to digital technologies, Technicolor has redefined the movie going experience. Hardcover, 284 pp. $77.95.

Silent Traces: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Charlie ChaplinSilent Traces: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Charlie Chaplin
John Bengston
Explore the traces of early Hollywood hidden within Charlie Chaplin's timeless films. This stunning work of cinematic archeology combines Chaplin's movie images with archival photographs, vintage maps, and scores of then-and-now comparison photographs to conjure up the silent movie era from an entirely new perspective. Softcover, 300 pp. $33.95.

The X ListThe X List: The National Society of Film Critics' Guide to Movies That Turn Us On

Jami Bernard
In The X List, some of today's most celebrated print, broadcast, and online critics give their passionate take on the films that quicken the pulse. It's an enterprise both risky and risque -- nothing short of a tour of the most arousing films the world has ever produced. Included are profiles of Ecstasy, Body Heat, Y tu mama tambien, and several other; however, since the films reflect the critics' individual tastes, you can expect more than a few surprise inclusions. Softcover, 330 pp. $23.50.

Fiasco: A History of Hollywood's Iconic FlopsFiasco: A History of Hollywood's Iconic Flops
In Fiasco, longtime industry insider and acclaimed Hollywood historian James Robert Parish goes behind the scenes to tell the stories of fifteen of the most spectacular megaflops of the past fifty years. No mere financial disappointments these, each of the artistic and financial failures covered was of a magnitude to bankrupt studios, demolish reputations, and, in some cases, totally reconfigure the Hollywood power structure. With verve and no small measure of edgy wit, Parish dishes up the gossip, the grosses, and the egregious battles connected with these disasters. Softcover, 359 pp. $17.99.

Open Wide: How Hollywood Box Office Became a National ObsessionOpen Wide: How Hollywood Box Office Became a National Obsession
Dade Hayes & Jonathan Bing
In Open Wide, veteran Hollywood journalists Dade Hayes and Jonathan Bing illuminate the quest for box office supremacy, shining a bright light on the inner workings of Hollywood's vast sales and marketing machine. As the authors explore how and why box office receipts have evolved from a closely guarded corporate secret to national obsession, they bring an acute insight to an industry that is increasingly devoted to producing the next big blockbuster that they can "open wide" Softcover, 438 pp. $18.95.

Rebels and ChicksRebels and Chicks: A History of the Hollywood Teen Movie
Stephen Tropiano
This book takes both an insightful and humorous look at the evolution of one of Hollywood's most popular genres and how it has endured and changed with the times. Readers will take a nostalgic trip through the major cycles of Hollywood teenpics past and present: the teen horror films and juvenile-delinquent dramas of the 1950s; beach-party musicals of the 1960s; sex comedies of the 1970s; slasher films and John Hughes pictures of the 1980s; and more recent flicks like Reality Bites, Clueless, American Pie, and Thirteen. Softcover, 296 pp. $24.95.

Adventures of a Hollywood SecretaryAdventures of a Hollywood Secretary
Valerie Belletti & Cari Beauchamp
In 1924, Valeria Belletti moved from New York to Los Angeles and landed a job as Samuel Goldwyn's personal secretary. Now, through a series of letters sent back east, she provides an insider's view of the film studios of the 1920s--and the first from a secretary's perspective. Rich in gossip, it is also an eyewitness report of Hollywood in transistion. Valeria intimately documents her personal journey while giving us a unique portrait of a fascinating era. Softcover, 230 pp. $27.95.

Uncle John's Bathroom Reader: Plunges into Hollywood Uncle John's Bathroom Reader: Plunges into Hollywood
Uncle John
Grab your popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show. Uncle John focuses on Hollywood in this latest bathroom reader devoted to the trials, triumphs, and trivia of tinseltown. Featuring the inside stories, quotes, quizzes, and bits of lore that Uncle John's readers have come to expect, Plunges into Hollywood goes behind the scenes to give you the scoop on: Hollywood legends and landmarks; discoveries, big breaks, and comebacks; and scandals, secrets, and murder mysteries. Softcover, 487 pp. $23.95.

The Big PictureThe Big Picture: Money and Power in Hollywood
Edward Jay Epstein
In this unprecedented, all-encompassing, and thoroughly entertaining account of the movie business, acclaimed writer Edward Jay Epstein reveals the real magic behind moviemaking: how the studios make their money. Epstein shows that in Hollywood, the only art that matters is the art of the deal: Major films turn huge profits not from the movies themselves but through myriad other enterprises, from video-game spin-offs and soundtracks to fast-food tie-ins and even theme-park rides. Alongside its remarkable financial revelations and incisive profiles of the pioneers who helped build Hollywood, The Big Picture is filled with eye-opening insider stories. Softcover, 402 pp. $22.95.

Street SmartStreet Smart: The New York of Lumet, Allen, Scorsese, and Lee
Richard A. Blake
New York City's heterogeneous economic and ethnic districts -- where people live, work, shop, worship, and go to school -- often bear little relation to the image of the city created by the movies. In Street Smart, Richard A. Blake examines the cultural influences of New York's neighborhoods on the work of four quintessentially New York filmmakers: Sidney Lumet, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, and Spike Lee. Hardcover, 335 pp. $50.50.

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Legendary MoviesLegendary Movies
Paolo D'Agostini
140 chapters, profiling 140 movies, chosen from among the most beautiful, the most imaginative, the most surprising, and also the most successful in the history of cinema. Cinephiles will get lost in the gorgeously illustrated pages of this luxurious volume. Hardcover, 600 pp. $75.00.

Obsessed With HollywoodObsessed With Hollywood

Andrew J. Rausch
With a whopping 2,500 original questions spanning the world of film, Obsessed With Hollywood is a movie-lover's untimate trivia experience! Test your knowledge on everything from the most popular movie moments to the most obscure factoids in categories such as Classic Films, The Directors, Academy Awards, and more - including Guilty Pleasures: those movies so bad, they're terrific. Filled with movie morsels to elevate even the most diehard film junkies beyond their current level of expertise, Obsessed with Hollywood is an addictive diversion for anyone with an appreciation for the silver screen. Hardcover, 320 pp. $25.95.

The Academy AwardsThe Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History

Jim Piazza & Gail Kinn
Meet the cast of thousands - the stars and storytellers, those behind the scenes and in front of the cameras - as they enjoy their coveted moment in the spotlight at Hollywood's most glamorous and important celebration. Nearly eighty years of film history unfold in these pages, in words and images, along with all the detailed information that makes it the perfect one-stop reference for film fans. So settle into your seat on the aisle at the Academy Awards!

Movies of the 30sMovies of the 30s
Jurgen Muller
From Tod Browning's Dracula (1931) to Charlie Chaplin's Great Dictator (1940), this volume dives into the flashy and vibrant cinema of the 1930s. It was a time when the world was plagued by great economic hardship, an unfathomable war was taking shape, and humanity sought refuge in the sweet distraction of motion pictures. Softcover, 575 pp. $52.99.

Movies of the 40sMovies of the 40s
Jurgen Muller
In Hollywood, the 1940s were probably the most creative phase in the history of the studios. With the world at war, directors served up propaganda and escapist entertainment to the moviegoing masses of the pre-television age. Yet in many countries, a parallel tendency towards greater realism took root: Neorealism in Italy, for example. In this beautifully illustrated book, Jurgen Muller provides a complete overview to this remarkable decade in film. Softcover, 575 pp. $54.99.

Movies of the 50sMovies of the 50s

Jurgen Muller
With TV stealing audiences away from movie palaces, filmmakers in the 50s sought to provide the public with an experience that they couldn't get in their living rooms. James Dean, Cinemascope, The French New Wave, and Godzilla: the 1950s marked the transition to a truly modern cinema. In this glorious volume, a varied cornucopia of films have been collected and profiled, to offer an unrivaled perspective on the decade in film. Illustrated cover-to-cover in colour and black & white. Softcover, 577 pp. $55.99.

Movies of the 60sMovies of the 60s
Jurgen Muller
Positioned precariously between the uptight 50s and the freewheeling 70s, the 1960s marked a turbulent time in the film industry. Now that audiences were more and more glued to their TV sets and the abolition of the Production Code loosened up the rules about what was “permissible” in cinema, filmmakers had more freedom to explore the possibilities of film as an art form. Softcover, 640 pp.

Movies of the 70sMovies of the 70s
Jurgen Muller
Often referred to as the last Golden Age of cinema, the 1970s was a period of artistic innovation, formal experimentation, and commercial explosion. In this splendidly designed year by year chronicle, the most significant films of this revolutionary decade are examined. 736 pp. $59.99.

Movies of the 80sMovies of the 80s
Jurgen Muller
The 1980s brought us a cinema of polarities: high-tech futurism and gritty urbanism; big-budget blockbusters and low-budget independents; escapist fantasies and compelling realism. This stunning visual catalogue offers a comprehensive look at the decade and offers insightful comments on the defining trends. Softcover, 863 pp. $59.99.

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Film Festival ConfidentialFilm Festival Confidential
Bill Marshall
With an irresistable mix of gossip, glamour and glitz, Film Festival Confidential is an all-access pass to the Toronto International Film Festival, its famous stars and the parties. "An intriguing look at one of the greatest film festivals in the world by one of the guys who started the whole thing." - Norman Jewison. Softcover, 258 pp. $19.95.

Mob CultureMob Culture: Hidden Histories of the American Gangster Film
Lee Grieveson, Esther Sonnet & Peter Stanfield
Mob Culture offers a long-awaited, fresh look at the American gangster film, exposing its hidden histories from the Black Hand gangs of the early twentieth century to The Sopranos. Departing from traditional approaches that have typically focused on the "nature" of the gangster, the editors have collected essays that engage the larger question of how the meaning of criminality has changed over time. Grouped into three thematic sections, the essays examine gangster films through the lens of social, gender, and racial/ethnic issues. $35.95

Bad Girls: Film Fatales, Sirens, and MollsBad Girls: Film Fatales, Sirens, and Molls
Tony Turtu
Sensational and unapologetic, B movie bad girls of the big screen starred in sexy suspense thrillers during film's golden age. Blinded by desire, crazed with jealousy, and ripe with sin, the luscious, lascivious ladies of B movie fame broke the innocent female stereotype. A celebration of the wicked, the wayward, and the wanton, Bad Girls -- a collection of movie posters, lobby cards, and photographs -- pays tribute to the actresses who made careers out of being bad. Hardcover, 176 pp. $55.95.

Hollywood: The Movie Lover's GuideHollywood: The Movie Lover's Guide
The Ultimate Insider Tour of Movie L.A.

Richard Alleman
This is the classic guide to "who did what & where" in Los Angeles. Inside you'll find out where all your favorite movies and tv shows were shot: Sunset Boulevard, The Aviator, Blade Runner, Charlie's Angels, and Six Feet Under, to name but a few. Softcover, 495 pp. $22.95.

New York: The Movie Lover's GuideNew York: The Movie Lover's Guide
The Ultimate Insider Tour of Movie New York

Richard Alleman
This is the classic guide to "who did what & where" in New York City. Inside you'll find out where all your favorite movies and tv shows were shot: When Harry Met Sally, Rosemary's Baby, Spiderman, Will and Grace, and Sex in the City, to name but a few. Softcover, 512 pp. $22.95.

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All About Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy AwardsAll About Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards
Emanuel Levy
A book for all film lovers! All About Oscar covers 75 years and builds on Emanuel Levy's well-known work on the Academy Awards. Ever wonder how Oscar got its name? Who has been nominated the most times without winning? Why more than a billion people worldwide watch every year? Here are the answers! Softcover, 400 pp. $25.95.

Movies of the 60sMovies of the 60s
Jurgen Muller
Like no other decade before or since, the 1960s were characterized by social and political revolution on every strata of society. The cinema was no exception, as it reflected the tumultuous events that were happening in the world at large. This fourth installment in Jurgen Muller's multi-volume exploration into the various decades of 20th century cinema, is a thoughtfully written and visually stunning book. Serious scholars and everyday fans will cherish Movies of the 60s. Softcover, 640 pp. $59.99.

Tales from Development Hell: Hollywood Filmmaking the Hard Way Tales from Development Hell: Hollywood Filmmaking the Hard Way
David Hughes
What do the following films have in common: Batman vs. Superman, Oliver Stone's Planet of the Apes, and John Boorman's Lord of the Rings -- starring the Beatles? They are all aborted film projects that never got out of development hell. This compulsively readable chronicle, of these and other never-made movies, reveals the inner workings of Hollywood's mysterious creative practices. Hardcover, 256 pp. $32.95.

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1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Steven Jay Schneider
Based on historical, popular, and critical acclaim, 1001 films have been selected for this dream list of must-see movies. With informative, engaging reviews, from a team of internationally published critics, and dozens of spectacular photographs, this book is the essential guide for discerning cinephiles. Hardcover, 960 pp. $41.99.

Fear Without BordersFear Without Frontiers
Steven Jay Schneider
This is the most comprehensive survey of the international horror film ever published. Whether you're interested in Italian zombie films, Krimis, Mexican vampire films, the Giallo, Chinese extreme horror, or Bollywood ghost stories, you will surely be stunned by this collection of unique essays. Illustrated throughout in colour and black & white. Softcover, 319 pp. $51.99.

The Golden Girls of MGMThe Golden Girls of MGM
Jane Ellen Wayne
Garbo and Crawford. Ava, Hedy, Judy, and Liz. These are the women that epitomized Hollywood's golden era. These, and other starlets of period, are profiled in this rich volume. The sixteen chapters in this book, each accompanied by the star's filmography, tell the tales that have long laid hidden behind the gossip and the glories of MGM's glamorous golden girls. Softcover, 412 pp. $20.95.

Now ShowingNow Showing: Unforgettable Moments from the Movies
Joe Garner
Relive all of your fondest movie memories with this wonderous tribute to the most unforgettable moments in cinema. Dorthy meeting the Wicked Witch of the West; Rocky crying out "ADRIAN!"; the Jack Rabbit's Slim scene from Pulp Fiction, Dirty Harry's .44 Magnum speech; and dozens of others. In addition to the fully illustrated book, this set includes a DVD of film clips hosted by Dustin Hoffman. Hardcover, 160 pp. $45.00.

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A Knight at the MoviesA Knight at the Movies: Medieval History on Film
John Aberth
In A Knight at the Movies, historian John Aberth seperates fact from fiction in cinematic favorites from the silent era to today. Using examples from Camelot, Braveheart, Excalibur, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and several others, he argues that much of what we know -- or think that we know -- about the Middle Ages has been dictated by what we see on the screen. Softcover, 332 pp. $37.95.

Hammer FilmsHammer Films: The Pocket Essential
John McCarty
England's Hammer Productions Ltd. ushered in a new era of innovative horror, crime and adventure films, characterized by graphic violence and intense sexuality. By profiling the significant films and personalities that made Hammer so special, this Pocket Essential is the perfect introduction to the subject. Softcover, 95 pp. $7.95.

One Hundred Violent Films that Changed CinemaOne Hundred Violent Films that Changed Cinema
Neil Fulwood
This book focuses on 100 powerful films that have profoundly affected the portrayal of violence in cinema, be it in terms of influence, iconography, social response, media controversy or censorship. Their contents and influence are analysed to illuminate the reasons behind the violence and its effect on the audience. Softcover, 144 pp. $22.95.

Manhattan on Film 2Manhattan on Film 2
Chuck Katz
Explore the locations of some of the best-loved films of all time, with this sequel to the popular Manhatten on Film. Inside you will find another thirteen walking tours through the actual NYC sites that have been made famous on the silver screen. Softcover 256 pp. $21.95.

It Don't Worry Me
Nashville, Jaws, Star Wars and BeyondIt Don't Worry Me: Nashville, Jaws, Star Wars and Beyond
Ryan Gilbey
Young, visionary, and film-literate, directors such as Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Francis Coppola, Brian De Palma, and Robert Altman were responsible for the last "golden age" of cinema. It Don't Worry Me takes a retrospective look at these and other maverick filmmakers of the 1970's and offers fresh and insightful criticisms about their work. Softcover, 244 pp. $20.00.

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Last modified March 13, 2011.
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