Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Bookshelf

Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Bookshelf

Article excerpt


One of the best studies of a director, taping his words as he answers the probing questions of a perceptive interrogator, is KAZAN ON KAZAN by Michel Ciment, French film critic and historian. Patiently and skillfully, he leads Kazan through his evolution in the theater, politics and film, letting the director's articulately stated views and opinions come forth in the finely nuanced and candid expression of a sensitive complex and concerned artist. (Viking $7.50/3.50)

Ciment also prefaces with remarkable insight WORKING WITH KAZAN, in which some 30 of the director's collaborators tellingly describe the rewarding nature of their professional and personal relationship, his creative influence on their work, his ability to communicate, their deep satisfaction with his inspiring guidance. Writers (Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Budd Schulberg), cameramen (Boris Kaufman, Robert Surtees), actors (Fredric March, Marion Brando, Warren Beatty), producer Sam Spiegel and editor Dede Alien among others pay homage in this moving document. (Wesleyan U. Press $3.)

In an updated edition of his excellent study, VISCONTI, Geoffrey Nowell-Smith examines the career and the films of the Italian director, and the progress that marked his style and approach from Sandra to Death in Venice. (Viking $6.95/3.25)

Director William A. Wellman's autobiography A SHORT TIME FOR INSANITY, an unusual and gripping document, evokes significant episodes of a dramatic life where physical pain and mental anguish were eventually overcome by rugged individualism and a sense of humor. (Hawthorn $10.)


Ernest Betts, a British film scholar with practical studio experience, offers the film business an authoritative and concise book on his country's motion picture industry from its inception through 1972. This critical survey draws a perceptive balance sheet of the moneymen and filmmakers who ran the show, the movies they made, and the problems of an industry whose ambitions often overshot economic realities. An informative, knowledgeable study, appropriately illustrated. (Pitman $14.95)

Eric Reade's pictorial history, AUSTRALIAN SILENT FILMS, covers the 1896-1929 period of down-under filmmaking. Its creative achievements and technical innovations reveal a remarkably active production, until overseas competition, distribution and financing difficulties and the advent of sound forced a drastic cut-back. (Acropolis $12.50)

A delightful evocation of the screen's overblown view of reality, SIXTY YEARS OF VAMPS AND CAMPS by Richard Hudson documents a persistent trend in movies whose early innocent naughtiness brings a smile and a chuckle in our more sophisticated and less romantically inclined times. (Drake $12.75)


The American avant-garde film, its contribution to and place in the artistic development of cinema in the U.S. is discussed by P. Adams Sitney in VISIONARY FILM. This definitive work by a highly knowledgeable film critic and scholar offers a broad, rational study of avant-garde's various styles, Dadaist and Surrealist forerunners, and the rich new tradition of filmmaking it brings to our esthetic consciousness. (Oxford U. Press $13.95)

Contrary to the widely held view that the director is the film's synthesizing creative force called "auteur", Richard Corliss argues in TALKING PICTURES that the screenwriter deserves this credit. …

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