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The New Biographical Dictionary of Film: Expanded and Updatedby David Thomson
"A reference book of extraordinary literary merit, this eccentric, audacious, sparkling work returns — revised, updated, and bulging with 300 new entries (including Rin Tin Tin and Graham Greene), which helps to account for its nearly 1,000 closely printed double-column pages. Probably the greatest living film critic and historian, Thomson, an Englishman who lives in San Francisco, writes the most fun and enthralling prose about the movies since Pauline Kael....The book is a marvel." Benjamin Schwartz, Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic review)
Synopses & Reviews
For twenty-five years, David Thomson's Biographical Dictionary of Film has been not merely "the finest reference book ever written about movies" (Graham Fuller, Interview), not merely the "desert island book" of art critic David Sylvester, not merely "a great, crazy masterpiece" (Geoff Dyer, The Guardian), but also "fiendishly seductive" (Greil Marcus, Rolling Stone).
Now it returns, with its old entries updated and 300 new ones — from Luc Besson to Reese Witherspoon — making more than 1,300 in all, some of them just a pungent paragraph, some of them several thousand words long. In addition to the new "musts," Thomson has added key figures from film history — lively anatomies of Graham Greene, Eddie Cantor, Pauline Kael, Abbott and Costello, Noël Coward, Hoagy Carmichael, Dorothy Gish, Rin Tin Tin, and more.
Here is a great, rare book, one that encompasses the chaos of art, entertainment, money, vulgarity, and nonsense that we call the movies. Personal, opinionated, funny, daring, provocative, and passionate, it is the one book that every filmmaker and film buff must own. Time Out named it one of the ten best books of the 1990s. Gavin Lambert recognized it as "a work of imagination in its own right." Now better than ever — a masterwork by the man playwright David Hare called "the most stimulating and thoughtful film critic now writing."
"[O]ne still turns to Thomson for witty writing and potent, razor-sharp insights. With immense passion for pictures, he plunges past the IMDb into the very soul of film." Publishers Weekly
"[A] deservedly treasured reference work...Thomson proves anew that he is irreplaceable....One of the most probing accounts ever written of a human being's engagement with the movies." Sarah Kerr, The New York Times Book Review
"Thomson's love for the medium is proprietary, possessive, suffused with an academic's breadth of knowledge and a fan's mad crushes....
"[Thomson is] an awfully good writer....Earlier editions have been my constant companions for decades, consulted almost weekly....I happily welcome this latest revision....May our quarrels never end." Richard Schickel, The Los Angeles Times
"Even more seductive than the last edition....One of the most influential books on cinema ever written." Henry Cabot Beck, New York Daily News
"Mr. Thomson is, I think, the last of the great film writers....
"Anyone who cares about the movies will find more than enough here to learn from, delight in, and argue with....Thomson's marvelously entertaining book offers a reliable source of pleasure and provocation." Boston Globe
"[C]apable of producing and sustaining a comprehensive saga of the art and business...Thomson has labored at including producers, writers, moguls, and even agents, but his snarkiest writing is reserved for actors." Village Voice
"The single most stunningly informative, learned and provocative book I've encountered about the movies....The breadth of Thomson's research and his skill in writing about that knowledge will take your breath away, whether you are a scholarly aficionado or a weekend filmgoer." The State (Columbia, SC)
"An intellectual Filmgoer's Companion...an invaluable standard text for students, fans, and serious enthusiasts." Peter Bogdanovich, director of The Last Picture Show
"A treasure....Unique, fascinating and more than a little addictive....A great critic's great work." Laura Miller, San Francisco Examiner
"Delicious, one of the best and most useful books written about the movies." Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
For almost thirty years, David Thomsons Biographical Dictionary of Film has been not merely “the finest reference book ever written about movies” (Graham Fuller, Interview), not merely the “desert island book” of art critic David Sylvester, not merely “a great, crazy masterpiece” (Geoff Dyer, The Guardian), but also “fiendishly seductive” (Greil Marcus, Rolling Stone).
This new edition updates the older entries and adds 30 new ones: Darren Aronofsky, Emmanuelle Beart, Jerry Bruckheimer, Larry Clark, Jennifer Connelly, Chris Cooper, Sofia Coppola, Alfonso Cuaron, Richard Curtis, Sir Richard Eyre, Sir Michael Gambon, Christopher Guest, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Spike Jonze, Wong Kar-Wai, Laura Linney, Tobey Maguire, Michael Moore, Samantha Morton, Mike Myers, Christopher Nolan, Dennis Price, Adam Sandler, Kevin Smith, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlize Theron, Larry Wachowski and Andy Wachowski, Lew Wasserman, Naomi Watts, and Ray Winstone.
In all, the book includes more than 1300 entries, some of them just a pungent paragraph, some of them several thousand words long. In addition to the new “musts,” Thomson has added key figures from film history-lively anatomies of Graham Greene, Eddie Cantor, Pauline Kael, Abbott and Costello, Noël Coward, Hoagy Carmichael, Dorothy Gish, Rin Tin Tin, and more.
Here is a great, rare book, one that encompasses the chaos of art, entertainment, money, vulgarity, and nonsense that we call the movies. Personal, opinionated, funny, daring, provocative, and passionate, it is the one book that every filmmaker and film buff must own. Time Out named it one of the ten best books of the 1990s. Gavin Lambert recognized it as “a work of imagination in its own right.” Now better than ever-a masterwork by the man playwright David Hare called “the most stimulating and thoughtful film critic now writing.”
About the Author
David Thomson was born in London. He has taught film studies at Dartmouth College, has served on the selection committee for the New York Film Festival, and has been the editor of the Journal of Gastronomy. He is a regular contributor to the New York Times, Film Comment, Movieline, The New Republic, Salon, and The Independent (London). He was the screenwriter on the award-winning documentary The Making of a Legend: Gone With the Wind. His other books include Showman: The Life of David O. Selznick, Rosebud, and three works of fiction: Suspects, Silver Light, and Warren Beatty and Desert Eyes. David Thomson lives in San Francisco with his wife and their two sons.
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