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Peter Bogdanovich's Movie of the Weekby Peter Bogdanovich
Synopses & Reviews
One time Orson Welles and I were talking about Greta Garbo. Welles adored her as an artist and was raving about her extraordinary presence, her mystery, her magic. I agreed. But wasn't it too bad, I said, that out of all the many films she'd appeared in, only two (George Cukor's Camille and Ernst Lubitsch's Ninotchka) were really good movies? Welles looked at me a long moment and then said, quietly: "You only need one...."
Well, the majority of the filmmakers in this book--like the majority of the actors--are represented by only one film. My hope is that readers may be so intrigued by the one they read about, and then view, that they will search out the several others I've noted at the end of each recommendation--and thereby find themselves again in the presence of the same personality, the same aura.
Writing nearly all of these pieces (or their nucleus) on a weekly deadline for my column on the TV page of the iconoclastic New York Observer, I was decidedly at the mercy of what the next week's (uncut and uninterrupted) New York City television selections were to be. Usually I chose either the film I thought was best or the one about which I felt most impelled to write at that moment.
Occasionally, if I had recommended one director's work over too many weeks, I would make another choice. Or if there was an arcane picture I thought wouldn't appeal to as many people, I would go instead for a more easily understandable or popular choice, because essentially I was writing not for film buffs but for an audience with a wider interest than movies and so with less time for the esoteric. Also, since it was primarily a New York audience, fewer Westerns (to which I'm partial) were chosen because I've found that this genre seems to be the least favorite among New Yorkers.
The idea for the form of this book came from my excellent editor at Ballantine, Associate Publisher Joe Blades, who suggested that organizing the pieces (with quite a few expanded and some new ones written) into a functional weekly cycle that spanned a year would give readers a useful structure they could follow--running a picture a week, with choices appropriate for certain holidays or celebrations. Joe also suggested that I attempt to include only films that are available for rental or purchase at video stores. The final list of movies, therefore, is by no means definitive. Nor do I think it in any way covers all the best pictures made--or even all my own personal favorites--although certainly a number of both are included.
Each of these movies is worth seeing at least once--and many of them, far more often. However, the overall book is not designed for diehard film buffs but rather for the intelligent general reader whose life does not revolve around movies, yet who might be interested in devoting a couple of hours every week to a classic or near-classic picture that still works for a contemporary audience, still has relevance and resonance.
The original notion of my writing these pieces came from Peter Kaplan, talented and resourceful editor in chief of Arthur Carter's enterprising New York Observer; Peter has my warmest gratitude for giving me a current voice in my hometown. (The last time I wrote about pictures on a regular basis was for a monthly column in Esquire in the early 1970s, though I did do a two-year weekly five-minute spot on older movies for CBS News's national morning television show at the
Derived from the author's column in The New York Observer, a year-long survey of classic film features the director's picks, including The Quiet Man, The Shop Around the Corner, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and forty-nine other movies. Original.
A FRONT-ROW SEAT TO A YEAR'S WORTH OF MUST-SEE FILMS
Director, producer, screenwriter, author, actor, and film critic, Peter Bogdanovich knows movies. Now, in this unique new book, he shares hispassion with a connoisseur's insight and delight by inviting the reader to join him for a year at the movies--fifty-two weeks, fifty-two films, fifty-two reasons to watch. Which films does Peter Bogdanovich call . ..
The most hauntingly chilling, strangely prophetic science-fiction picture ever made.
(You'll be treated to it on Halloween)
A scintillatinglydirected comedy.
(Discover it with someone you love on Valentine's Day)
A bittersweet human comedy of vintage genius that] only becomes more precious as the yearspass.
(Ringing in the New Year with it is reason enough to celebrate)
With recommendations specific to the seasons and holidays--from sparkling comedies, timeless musicals, landmarkforeign films, powerful dramas and thrillers to legendary masterpieces and neglected treasures--Bogdanovich's eclectic cinematic calendar of classics, each available on video, each accompanied by an illuminating essay, andeach followed by a list of tie-in recommendations, makes the perfect date for movielovers every week of the year.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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