The Bookshelf

By George, George L | American Cinematographer, June 1981 | Go to article overview
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The Bookshelf

George, George L, American Cinematographer


Soviet and East European film production after 1945 is extensively surveyed by Mira and Anthony J. liehm in THE MOST IMPORTANT ART, now in paperback. It is a detailed study of the People's Democracies' national cinemas against a background of social history. It knowledgeably balances artistic achievements against political and economic realities in the USSR, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Yugoslavia (U. of California Press $10.95).

Robert Hewison's lively and wise study of British cultural history during the Cold War years, IN ANGER examines the antagonism of creative artists toward the constraints imposed by the Establishment. The effects of this opposition on cinema, television drama and the theatre are perceptively assessed in this thoughtful work (Oxford U. Press $19.95).

French movie production under the Nazi heel is expertly analyzed by the late film scholar, André Bazin, in FRENCH CINEMA OF THE OCCUPATION AND RESISTANCE, pinpointing its achievements despite material shortages, stifling censorship, and the flight or imprisonment of leading artists (Ungar $12.95).

Usually derided, cowboy epics filmed in Italy and other European countries are persuasively rehabilitated by Christopher Frayling in SPAGHETTI WESTERNS. His critical survey examines the most important of some 400 such films made between 1964 and 1970, stressing their impacts as intuitive reflections of the American scene in its native, social and cinematic contexts (Routledge & Keegan Paul $40/20).


Writers' claims that film is subordinate to the written word is an assertion that is being challenged, or at least qualified, in several recent books. Ben Cohen, for instance, validly contends in FILM AND FICTION that cinema exercises a profound influence on the novel, advancing a scholarly argument regarding change and interchange between artistic disciplines (Yale U. Press $12.50).

Ernest Hemingway's rapport with film is discussed in two engrossing studies. Gene D. Phillips, in HEMINGWAY AND FILM, interviews technicians who worked on movies based on his novels-a difficult task according to cameraman James Wong Howe, and directors Fred Zinnemann, Henry King, Howard Hawks, Don Siegel and Franklin Schaffner (Ungar $4.95). In HEMINGWAY AND THE MOVIES, Frank M. Lawrence explores the novelist's attitude toward the filming of his books and the changes Hollywood introduced to reflect its perception of the public's taste (U. Press of Mississippi $20).

The extent of novelist Henry Miller's participation in the making of several X-rated movies based on his outspoken memoirs is documented in ALWAYS MERRY AND BRIGHT, Jay Martin's engrossing biography of the controversial and often bizarre author of "Tropic of Cancer" (Penguin $10.95).

In MODERN EUROPEAN FILMMAKERS AND THE ART OF ADAPTATION, Andrew Horton and Joan Magretta trace the literary sources of some 20 films, and examine how their screenplays were affected by such directors as Bunuel, Antonioni, Truffaut and Fassbinder (Ungar $14.

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