Sunday, May 17, 2009

Top Six Books About Movies

These are my favorite books about movies. These are the only books I'd actually recommend to others.

1. Robin Wood, Hitchcock's Films Revisited (Revised Edition)
2. Stanley Cavell, Pursuits of Happiness
3. James Sanders, Celluloid Skyline
4. David Thompson, A Biographical Dictionary of Film
5. Erik Barnouw, Documentary
6. Hitchcock/Truffaut

It's kind of a depressing list, because I intentionally left out so many of the great "film theorists". I can't say reading Arnheim, Bazin, or Kracauer actually informed my experience or enhanced my appreciation of any movies.

I've also intentionally left off Robert Warshow's "The Immediate Experience" and Victor Perkins' "Film as Film". Perkins because the main value of it is that it critiques the classic film theorists listed above and it would probably be best if we just ignored them altogether. Warshow just because I never got into it. But I should probably give the Warshow another try.

I like reading Pauline Kael but I can't say I find her particularly insightful. Perhaps more importantly, I don't trust her judgment enough to rethink my own attitudes in light of it. With David Thompson, on the other hand, it troubles me when I disagree with something he says.

No comments: