The Bookshelf

By George, George L | American Cinematographer, June 1974 | Go to article overview

The Bookshelf


George, George L, American Cinematographer


REFLECTING ON CINEMA

At a time when movie violence is considered less objectionable than explicit sex on screen, a documented and thoughtful book like John Fraser's VIOLENCE IN THE ARTS (Cambridge U. Press $5.95) brings a welcome reassessment of values, as well as an understanding of the basic relationships between violence and thought. While the scope is broader than the motion picture field, the author's conclusions regarding strongarm politics, fascist brutality, intellectual sadism and repressive censorship offer challenging views on an age-old problem.

U.S. Government production of motion pictures is effectively surveyed by Prof. Richard Dyer MacCann in THE PEOPLE'S FILMS (Hastings House $11.50). His well informed study traces their development from an inauspicious 1908 start through wartime films, postwar documentaries and USIA foreign propaganda shorts, suggesting to Congress a broader use of film as "democracy's public relations" tool.

Educator James L. Limbacher has compiled a highly useful, comprehensive reference volume, FILM MUSIC: FROM VIOLINS TO VIDEO (Scarecrow Press $18.50). Part One covers the art of composing for films in 52 articles by recognized experts-composers, scholars and critics. Part Two lists all films by title with name of composer and year of release, a cross-indexed list of composers' names and their films, and a list of recorded musical scores. This impressive 835 page volume is a boon to researchers, scholars and production personnel.

In PIECES OF TIME (Arbor House $7.95), director Peter Bogdanovich has assembled his articles on the movies that appeared in Esquire over a period of years. The writing is sensitive and bright, the opinions often controversial, the feeling for film craft genuine. And yet its pervasive flavor is that of contemporary conformism, which emphasizes Bogdanovich's status as possibly the most articulate exponent of the new Hollywood Establishment.

MOVIES: MYTH AND REALITY

The customary production problems of Paramount's latest blockbuster are described at length in FILMING THE GREAT GATSBY (Berkley $1.25), Bruce Bahrenberg's faithful day-by-day report. The film's shooting pains are all documented in this eventful and lively diary, up to the project's happy ending.

Eileen Landay's BLACK FILM STARS (Drake $7.95) chronicles, with a flair for picturesque detail, the lives and careers and 30 outstanding Negro performers from the movies' early years. This is a well researched and lively book that tells of progress in racial understanding against a backdrop of changing social circumstances.

A superb four-volume narrative of epic proportions, Rachael Low's THE HISTORY OF THE BRITISH FILM from 1896 to 1929 provides an authoritative and scholarly study of a significant contribution to screen art and industry. Prof. Low's familiarity with the subject, her ability as a researcher and organizer of data, her elegant literary style combine to make this exhaustive survey an eminently readable and faultlessly documented reference text. (Bowker Vol. 1 $11.50, Vol. 2 $13.50, Vol. 3 $14.75, Vol. 4 $18.50).

Eve Babitz was born in Hollywood and never got over it, as she admits in her "autobiographical confessional novel," EVE'S HOLLYWOOD (DeIacorte $7. …

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