The Bookshelf

Article excerpt

The diverging themes in King Victor's films - pacifism ( The Big Parade), sentimentality (The Champ/I, feminism (Stella Dallas), right wing dialectics ( The Fountainhead) -are reconciled by the unifying factor of his idealistic fervor, as argued by Ramond Durgnat and Scott Simmon in King Vidor, American now in paperback (U. of California Press, Berkeley, $12.95).

From his experience as a juror in 1989 at the Cannes Film Festival and the Miss America Pageant, screenwriter William Goldman links both events in Hype and Glory, an insider's witty report underlining the delusive nature of these essentially promotional happenings (Villard, NYC, $19.95).

Founder of the Adult Film Association of America, David F. Friedman chronicles in A Youth in Babylon; Confession of a Trash-Film King, his bumpy career from promoter of "educational sex hygiene films" to head of the trade organization of the multi-million dollar X-rated film industry. Entertaining and self-indulgent, this memoir, co-written with Prof. Don DeNevi, paints a colorful portrait of the huckstering world of exploitation films (Prometheus, Buffalo, NY, $19.95).

A classic introduction to film appreciation, now in a second edition, The Cinema as Art by Ralph Stephenson and Guy Phelps examines the eminently popular art form through a broad discussion of its major themes and finer technical points (Penguin, NYC, $8.95).

In Metaphor and Film, Trevor Whittock probes the cinematic figures of speech that constitute a recurrent element of the movie idiom. He finds that metaphors are consciously introduced by directors and writers to expand a film's reality by introducing imaginative visual and aural displacements, thus enriching its dramatic impact (Cambridge U. Press, NYC, $39.50).

Explaining what makes movies work is Jon Boorstin's purpose in The Hollywood Eye. Scholarly and entertaining, it goes behind the production scene to identify the tools of the filmmaker's trade and reveals the interaction between the key players that bring credibility and enjoyment to a movie (Bessie/Harper Collins, NYC, $25).

Scott McDonald's in-depth interviews with noted independent filmmakers, collected in A Critical Cinema, articulate their sweeping critiques of nearly every element in the filmmakers' artistic baggage. Such avant-garde cineastes as Hollis Frampton, Bruce Conner, George Kuchar and Babette Mangolte discuss their approach to film and describe the technical and artistic nature of their experiments (U. of California Press, Berkeley, $45./14.95).

An informative and entertaining study now in paperback, Hollywood Goes To War probes the politics, profits and propaganda in WWII and post war movies. Authors clayton R. Koppes and Gregory D. Black effectively track Washington's pressure to coordinate film story-lines with government positions (U. of California Press, Berkeley, $12.95).

Little known silent films that promoted unpopular social and political issues are documented in Kevin Brownlow's remarkable study, Behind the Mask of Innocence. …