Synopses & Reviews
In 1975, David Thomson published his Biographical Dictionary of Film,
and few film books have enjoyed better press or such steady sales.
Now, thirty-three years later, we have the companion volume, a second book of more than 1,000 pages in one voice—that of our most provocative contemporary film critic and historian.
Juxtaposing the fanciful and the fabulous, the old favorites and the forgotten, this sweeping collection presents the films that Thomson offers in response to the question he gets asked most often—“What should I see?” This new book is a generous history of film and an enticing critical appraisal written with as much humor and passion as historical knowledge. Not content to choose his own top films (though they are here), Thomson has created a list that will surprise and delight you—and send you to your best movie rental service.
But he also probes the question: after one hundred years of film, which ones are the best, and why?
“Have You Seen . . . ?” suggests a true canon of cinema and one thats almost completely accessible now, thanks to DVDs. This book is a must for anyone who loves the silver screen: the perfect confection to dip into at any point for a taste of controversy, little-known facts, and ideas about what to see. This is a volume youll want to return to again and again, like a dear but argumentative friend in the dark at the movies.
Now we have the long-called-for companion to David Thomson's A Biographical Dictionary of Film
, first published in 1975 and throughout its various editions the most seductive, infuriating, and influential reference book ever written on the movies...."Have You Seen...?"
a by turns astringent and gushy appraisal of 1,000 movies made from 1895 to 2007 is, for better and worse, something of a muddle. Benjamin Schwarz, the Atlantic Monthly
(read the entire Atlantic Monthly review
A provocative, highly engaging essay on the art of pretending on the stage, on screen, and in daily life
Does acting matter? David Thomson, one of our most respected and insightful writers on movies and theater, answers this question with intelligence and wit. In this fresh and thought-provoking essay, Thomson tackles this most elusive of subjects, examining the allure of the performing arts for both the artist and the audience member while addressing the paradoxes inherent in acting itself. He reflects on the casting process, on stage versus film acting, and on the cult of celebrity. The art and considerable craft of such gifted artists as Meryl Streep, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Daniel Day-Lewis, and others are scrupulously appraised here, as are notions of “good” and “bad” acting.
Thomson’s exploration is at once a meditation on and a celebration of a unique and much beloved, often misunderstood, and occasionally derided art form. He argues that acting not only “matters” but is essential and inescapable, as well as dangerous, chronic, transformative, and exhilarating, be it on the theatrical stage, on the movie screen, or as part of our everyday lives.
About the Author
is the author of more than twenty books, including the beloved classic The New Biographical Dictionary of Film.
He lives in San Francisco with his family.
From the Trade Paperback edition.