The Bookshelf

By George, George L | American Cinematographer, October 1985 | Go to article overview

The Bookshelf


George, George L, American Cinematographer


Several new volumes in the "Studies in Cinema" series, reviewed below, provide a significant source of scholarly research into broad aspects of film [UMt Research Press, 300 N. Zeeb Rd. Ann Arbor, Ml 48106.

The writer's contribution to film is examined in Ben Hecht, Hollywood Screenwriter by Jeffrey Brown Martin and Hollywood and the Profession of Authorship 1928-40 by Richard Fine. Both books probe searchingly the question of creativity in a commercially controlled milieu and a profit-oriented studio system (UMi $39.95 ea.).

Dana B. Polan examines, in The Political Language of Film and the Avant-Garde, the esthetics of experimental film in works by Eisenstein, Brecht, Oshima and Michael Snow. In Abstraction in Avant-Garde Films, Maureen Cheryn Turim analyzes the challenge of innovative cinema to the current film theories (UMI$3995ea,}.

In Soviet Cinema in the Silent Era, Denise J. Youngblood brings to light the cultural politics and institutional development that marked its evolution between 1918 and 1935. In Struggles of the Italian Film Industry during Fascism, Elaine Mancini describes the losing fight waged by Italian film producers for independence from government control. \U-MI $44.95 ea.}.

The director of Superman II, Superman III and other memorable movies is hailed by Neil Sinyard as a highly inventive and intelligent filmmaker in The Films of Richard Lester. The book probes perceptively the structure, visual style and often atypical casting of tester's films [Barnes & Noble, Totowa. NJ. $24.95}.

Ben Stoltzfus's Alain Robbe-Grillet situates the total oeuvre of the French filmmaker/novelist within the confines of new esthetics that reject the conventions of classical realism for the "mythic realism of everday life" (Fairleigh Dickinson U. Press, Cranbury, NJ, $27.50).

A challenging study edited by Frank Thompson, Between Action and Gut focuses on 5 "underknown" American directors-Victor Fleming, Roland West, Charles T. Barton, Rowland Brown and William K. Howard-a representative cross-section of the Hollywood style from the 20s to the 50s (Scarecrow, Metuchen, NJ $22.50).

The financial and artistic disaster that befell Michael Cimino's film Heaven's Gate and United Artists is discussed in Final Cut by Steven Bach, former UA head of production. Budgeting laxity, executive irresponsibility and creativeness running amok are the villains of this riveting story that should (but will it?) teach a lesson to the Hollywood establishment (Morrow, NYC, $19.95).

Roy Armes's impressive French Cinema traces the development of France's film production from Lumiefe's 1895 patenting of the cinematograph to the 1980s. …

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