The Bookshelf

By George, George L | American Cinematographer, March 1988 | Go to article overview

The Bookshelf


George, George L, American Cinematographer


Mickey, Donald, Pinocchio, Bambi, Cinderella are among the popular favorites found in John Grants comprehensive Encyclopedia of Walt Disney's Animated Characters. This large format, extensively illustrated volume describes affectionately some 900 characters whose personalities and exploits enliven Disney's cartoons and features. (Harper & Row, NYC, $35).

The shifting currents in American film from the turbulent 70s to the conservative 80s are knowledgeably interpreted in Robin Wood's Hollywood From Vietnam to Reagan. In well-documented examples, Wood identifies the directors (De Palma, Friedkin, Lucas, Cimino) and the films (Heavens Gate, Cruising, Blade Runner) that were among the trend-setters in this evolution. (Columbia U. Press, NYC, $12.50).

Movie costumes from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art collection are attractively displayed in Hollywood and History: Costume Design in Film, compiled by Edward Meader. Its nearly 300 illustrations of apparel from Cleopatra to Star Wars provide a remarkable record of imaginative fashion artistry. (Thames & Hudson, NYC, $35).

A perceptive study in contrasting personalities, Hitchcock and Selznick by Leonard J. Left traces the confrontational course of their collaboration on Rebecca, Spellbound, Notorious and The Paradine case, Differences in temperament and esthetic outlook caused repeated clashes that, paradoxically, often benefited the final product. (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, NYC, $22.50).

Joseph Zsuffa's outstanding biography, Bela Balazs, chronicles the embattled life of the Hungarian-born philosopher, critic, screenwriter and director. His lasting contribution, a seminal theory of film esthetics formulated in the early 1920s and embraced by the leading European filmmakers of the day, was first to view cinema as an autonomous art form with its own special means of expression. (U. of California Press, Berkeley $50).

The cameraman's enduring stamp on a film is emphasized by cinematographer Tom McDonough in Light Years. His spirited and highly personal memoir narrates his adventures in filming and discusses the work of such colleagues as Gordon Willis, ASC, Nestor Almendros, ASC, and James Wong Howe, ASC. (Grove, NYC, $17.95).

In Gaffers, Grips and Best Boys, Eric Taub surveys the duties and responsibilities of motion picture personnel. From entertainment attorney to nursery man, each function is clearly and informatively defined. Name contributors include director John Carpenter, cinematographer Haskell Wexler, ASC, actor John Lithgow and screenwriter Walter Newman, and on to stuntmen, electricians, stagehands and so on. Assistant directors are inexplicably dismissed in two brief mentions. …

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