Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Bookshelf

Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Bookshelf

Article excerpt


An in-depth study edited by Rick Altman, GENRE: THE MUSICAL gathers significant articles and essays on a movie type whose artistic merits were long underrated by critics, but enthusiastically received by the public. The musical film's structure, function and meaning are perceptively probed in this scholarly survey (Routledge & Keegan Paul $19.95/9.95).

The evolution of the star system, the nature of certain top performers' histrionic gifts, and the effect of their screen appearance on our lives are explored in THE MOVIE STAR, a stimulating collection, edited by Elisabeth Weis, of essays and interviews by members of the National Society of Film Critics (Penguin $12.95).

The craft of 17 film/TV comedians is explored by Steve Alien, a talented laughgetter himself, in FUNNY PEOPLE, a keen appraisal of the style, essence, and methods of such contemporaries as MeI Brooks, Peter Sellers, Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin (Stein & Day $12.95).

The story of persistent battles against censorship by a famed British comedy team is narrated by Robert Hewison in MONTY PYTHON: THE case AGAINST, a well-documented and often hilarious volume disclosing numerous attempts by BBC to truncate their material and by various self-appointed guardians of public morals to ban their films (Grove $9.95).

Theoretical aspects of cinema's esthetics and ideology are discussed in two significant volumes. THE AUTONOMOUS IMAGE by A. J. Prats considers the new humanism in post-war films, contrasting their essentially visual approach with past verbal narrative methods (U. of Kentucky Press $14.50). In IMAGES AND THE IMAGELESS, Thomas M. Martin views religion as a catalyst between film as a reflection of society's basic identity and film's power to change that identity (Bucknell U. Press $18.50).


In HOW TO PRODUCE AN EFFECTIVE TV COMMERCIAL, ad agency executive Hooper White offers a thoroughly businesslike analysis of the job, describing expertly the complex production process from its conception-the agency's domain-to the finished product, largely under the guidance of the director (Grain Books $25.95).

The ominous prospect of big government and big business control of our private and public lives through "media manipulation" is raised in John Wicklein's ELECTRONIC NIGHTMARE, a hardhitting exposé of the "communication revolution" that threatens to invade every area of our activities (Viking $14.95).

Prime-time network programming practices are closely examined by Marc Eliot in AMERICAN TELEVISION, revealing the extent to which external forces -corporate, governmental and social-affect the style and content of video shows (Doubleday $15.95).

Compiled by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, THE COMPLETE DIRECTORY TO PRIME TIME NETWORK TV SHOWS is a revised, updated and enlarged listing of over 3000 series' programs, with cast, synopsis and runs (Ballantine $12.95).

In SATURDAY MORNING TV, Gary H. Grossman sums up 30 years of children's shows, an entertaining survey that effectively charts the course of these programs, spotting changes in trends and measuring the impact of advertisers and consumer action groups (Delacorte/Dell $19.95/12.95).

An informative appraisal of a standard television character, Richard Meyer's TV DETECTIVES surveys the evolution of the genre, its popularity, and the contribution of creative production personnel and such innovative producers as Norman Lear (A. …

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