Film and the Critical Eye

Film and the Critical Eye

Film and the Critical Eye

Film and the Critical Eye

Excerpt

The genesis of Film and the Critical Eye lies in our frustration at a lack of detailed analyses of individual films. Such analyses, with a few exceptions, are either nonexistent or restricted to articles in professional journals that are difficult to locate. Authors of books on film have tended to confine their comments on specific works to a few memorable shots or significant scenes. Our volume is an effort toward filling this lacuna in film criticism.

The most important feature of this book is Part Three: essays on fourteen separate films and brief commentaries on six additional films. Each chapter is based on repeated viewing and checking of details of the films considered. Each essay is comprehensive, so that every aspect of a cinematic work from story to the style and approach of the director is explored. We believe this type of analysis gives a critical viewer many advantages. If he has not seen a film, our essay will supply points to look for. After he has seen the film, he will find our analysis helpful in minimizing confusions resulting from the vagaries of individual memory (the analysis is especially valuable when members of a group are comparing impressions). Finally, a viewer can challenge or confirm his own insights and interpretation with those offered in our text.

Film and the Critical Eye is confined to one cinematic genre, the fictive narrative film. This genre is presented as a fusion of two elements, narrative and its visual expression. It has occasionally been necessary in preserving the coherence of an analysis to give prominence first to one element and then to the other, but in each of our chapters we have tried to do justice to both the cinematography and the narrative dimensions of the work discussed. When exploring story, characterization, and themes of a film, we have emphasized the narrative component. Pages on the approach and style of a director are concerned primarily with cinema techniques. In the subdivision of each chapter entitled "Analysis of Major Sequences," we have sought to combine both approaches in the commentary devoted to single sequences.

The main criterion we adhered to in chosing films is their quality as works of art. The majority of them would be considered "classics" by any . . .

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