Recapping 80 years of motion picture progress, The New York Times Encyclopedia Of Film, an impressive 13-volume set, carries in photographic reproduction over 5500 articles published between 1896 and 1979 in the pages of that authoritative daily. Knowledgeably edited by Gene Brown, it reports the industrial, economic, social, political and cultural issues that marked the worldwide course of cinema. Its journalistic rather than didactic style imparts a topical flavor to events and personalities of the movies' historic past. Further volumes will update the set. (Garland, NYC, $2000/set; for a limited time, $995/set).
A sumptuous coffee-table book, whose illustrations, charts, diagrams and text match its imposing physical aspect, Joel W. Finler's The Hollywood Story explores the American movies' historic development Industry facts and figures, personalities and techniques are sweepingly marshalled in this engrossing volume. (Crown, NYC, $35).
Ethan Mordden, in The Hollywood Studios, takes an informed and entertaining look at the distinctive film styles of the major companies. He identifies the specific mixture of production facilities, executives, available stars and story preferences that characterize the product of each studio, and portrays perceptively the individuals who influence that balance, (Knopf, NYC, $24.95).
A history of the motion picture, intended primarily for students but deserving wide readership, Light and Shadows (3rd ed.) by Thomas W. Bohn and Richard L Stromgren combines an attractive style with an informative description of cinema's international progress. (Mayfietd, Mountain View, CA $24.95).
Kim Holston, in Starlet, singles out 54 among the scores of pretty girls who sought fame and fortune in Hollywood including those who quickly faded into marriage or oblivion (Joan O'Brien, Anne Held) and those like Jane Fonda and Raquel Welch who made the grade. (McFarland, Jefferson, NC $39.95).
Updating their earlier probe of a once flourishing field, Jack Nachbar et al. compile in Western Films 2 an annotated bibliography of publications issued between 1974 and 1986. This expertly researched and well organized work covers films, filmmakers and performers, as well as broader aspects of the genre. (Garland, NYC, $40).
Growth and development of the detective character from novel into film is watchfully charted in Jon Tuska's In Manors and Alleys. Prom Sherlock Holmes to Philip Marlowe, we follow their evolution through interviews with the authors in Tuska's wide ranging and extensively documented study. (Greenwood, Westport CT, $49.95).
An album of over 100 striking photographs by Claudio Edinger, The Making of Ironweed transposes into book form director Hector Bibenco's visualization of William Kennedy's somber novel and screenplay. The film's mood of haunting anxiety is mirrored in Edinger's starkly lit pictures, enhanced by significant excerpts of the dialogue. (Penguin, NYC, $14.95).
The making of Mafewan, John Sayles' gripping film chronicling the 1920 coal miners' strike in West Virginia, is described by its director in Thinking in Pictures. …