Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Bookshelf

Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Bookshelf

Article excerpt

Robin Wood's 'refreshingly unconventional survey, Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan analyzes the transition in American films from the social protest of the 70s to the conservative trends of the 80s. Citing examples from films by Arthur Penn, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Raima and others, Wood outlines new perspectives on this Hollywood ideological shift and its consequences for American culture [Columbia U. Press, NYC, $25].

In a thorough study of a popular genre, The World War Il Combat Film, Jeanine Basinger traces its evolution from quasi-documentary reports of real events to fictionalized versions of similar incidents. Her perceptive dissection of combat films reveals the composite nature of their style and the admixture of distinctly different themes [Columbia U. Press, NYC, $30].

Conversations with 15 top contemporary cmematographe.rs John Alonzo, Haskell Wexler, Bill Fraker among others - appear in the paperback edition of Masters of Light by Dennis Schaeffer and Larry Salvato. They illustrate the technical preferences, esthetic concepts, work methods and personal experiences of exceptionally creative professionals. In Hollywood Cameramen, a reprint of Charles Higham's 1970 study, the contribution to screen artistry of such ear lier cinematographers as Arthur Miller, Lee Garnies and Karl Struss is effectively assessed [U. of California Press, Berkeley, $12.95; Garland, NYC, $39].

Don Alien's definitive study, Finally Truffaut, covers the late director's entire legacy. This film-by-film guide to Truffaut's 22 features illuminates the essential values of his work, their classical style reflecting the influence of Hollywood, in particular of Hitchcock, and the French lyrical tradition stemming from Renoir (Beaufort, NYC, $ 12.95}.

A reprint of Andrew Sarris' 1968 classical reference work, The American Cinema, offers thoughtful assessments of 200 directors and their work. Sarris, a leading proponent of the "auteur" theory, writes with candor and authority, pinpointing knowlegeably these directors' stylistic strengths and weaknesses (U. of Chicago Press, $9.95].

John Kobal's priceless collection of photographs is liberally used in a fondly nostalgic volume, Hollywood: The Years of Innocence. Kevin Brownlow's preface and Kobal's informal comments bring back to life the genteel pre-1920 era that was soon to be shattered by the Fatty Arbuckle and other scandals (Abbeville, NYC, $29.95].

World War Il aviation films, from prewar recruitment movies and wartime "flag wavers" to often sobering postwar perspectives, have been a staple Hollywood product. Bruce W. Orriss, in When Hollywood Rule the Skies, expertly evaluates 47 of these epics from Test Pilot (1938) to Eno/a Gay (1980). …

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