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Favorite Books on American and European Film History?


#1

8)


#2

used one in college written by Bordwell & Thompson “Film History: An Introduction” - if you want an academic perspective. great for the early years, kind of skims over the 70’s/80’s/90’s though.



“the story of film” by mark cousins - is a bit more personal and focuses on originality moreso than mainstream film.


#3

Anything by Bordwell is great. But you’re right the book is better to get into the early years of cinema.



If I can give you a tip, Darth Bowie, don’t look into general film history book cause it’s usually an overlook, it never get into details. Make a list of your favorite decades or your favorite genre, and then pick the best books about those. Tell me what you’re interested in and I’ll recommand you some books. :wink:


#4

[quote=“cyber-lili”]
Anything by Bordwell is great. But you’re right the book is better to get into the early years of cinema.



If I can give you a tip, Darth Bowie, don’t look into general film history book cause it’s usually an overlook, it never get into details. Make a list of your favorite decades or your favorite genre, and then pick the best books about those. Tell me what you’re interested in and I’ll recommand you some books. :wink:
[/quote]

Hi! Thank you for the recommendations. I’ve read books on some of my favorite films/directors/actors over the years but I’m curious about which writings are considered definitive. I’m very interested in reading about American and European Cinema of the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. Please throw some titles at me!


#5

[quote=“blue_lou_boyle”]
used one in college written by Bordwell & Thompson “Film History: An Introduction” - if you want an academic perspective. great for the early years, kind of skims over the 70’s/80’s/90’s though.



“the story of film” by mark cousins - is a bit more personal and focuses on originality moreso than mainstream film.
[/quote]

I read and still own this textbook. Good stuff!


#6

I’m French, so I own a lot of books in French, which are among my fav, but which are unfortunately not translated in english. Maybe someone american/english can recommand you other books. But here you are :



About the seventies :

  • American Films of the 70s: Conflicting Visions by Peter Lev
  • Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan…and Beyond by Robin Wood
  • The Last Great American Picture Show: New Hollywood Cinema in the 1970s (a collection of essays, some are great).



    About films noirs :
  • The Philosophy of Film Noir by Mark T. Conard
  • Film Noir by Alain Silver and James Ursini
  • Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir by Eddie Muller (more like a visual analysis)



    About horror movies :
  • Horror Cinema by Jonathan Penner and Steven Jay Schneider
  • The Hammer Story by Marcus Hearn and Alan Barnes



    About French Nouvelle Vague :
  • The French New Wave by Jean Douchet (translated from a French book)
  • The French New Wave : An Artistic School by Michel Marie (same)



    About the British New Wave (Free Cinema and so) :
  • The British New Wave: A Certain Tendency? by B.F. Taylor



    About Italian Neo-Realism :
  • Italian Neorealist Cinema: An Aesthetic Approach by Christopher Wagstaff



    About European cinema in general :
  • Screening Modernism: European Art Cinema, 1950-1980 by Andras Balint Kovacs



    Then you have more classic stuff, I didn’t read them, but if you want to have a look :
  • The whole series by decades “American Cinema of the 1950s/1960sâ€

#7

[quote=“Darth Bowie”]
I read and still own this textbook. Good stuff!
[/quote]

Yeah I still read this the odd time myself, very thorough for stuff like german expressionism early on.



“Men, Women & Chainsaws” by Carol J. Clover - Inspired QT to write Death Proof apparently.



A lot of the Cahiers du Cinema stuff can be got in Volumes now which makes for very interesting reading. Historic stuff in every sense. (The films they were writing about, the theory’s they came up with, who was actually doing the writing)



“Easy Riders: Raging Bulls” - is an essential buy for anyone interested in 70’s American cinema, Studio politics and the rise and fall of the auteur. Its a bit more gossipy than academic but great all the same.


#8

[quote=“blue_lou_boyle”]
“Easy Riders: Raging Bulls” - is an essential buy for anyone interested in 70’s American cinema, Studio politics and the rise and fall of the auteur. Its a bit more gossipy than academic but great all the same.
[/quote]

I liked the book too but you cannot recommand it to someone who doesn’t know the seventies in a more academic way before like facts, essential movies, political context, and so on. Cause as you said it, it’s mainly gossip, so you don’t learn anything about film history, it’s just fun to read all the gossips about the main directors and actors from this time.


#9

I know what you mean but I think to get the context on the collapse of the Studio system and change in MPAA code is fairly easy. As far as I remember theres a chapter on it in the bordwell and thompson book. 1967-1980 is easily the best period in film history for my money.



I’m looking for some decent books on the rise of American Indie cinema from the late 80’s to the present. historical/academic/gossipy/total bullshit whatever any reccomendations?



Havent read Down and Dirty pictures yet and must check that out too.


#10

[quote=“blue_lou_boyle”]
I’m looking for some decent books on the rise of American Indie cinema from the late 80’s to the present. historical/academic/gossipy/total bullshit whatever any reccomendations?
[/quote]

Celluloid mavericks : The history of american independent film by Greg Merritt

Stranger than paradise : maverick film-makers in recent American cinema by Geoff Andrew

Contemporary american independent film : from the margins to the mainstream by Justin Wyatt

Cinema of outsiders : the rise of American independent film by Emmanuel Levy



Three of them are about the very start of indie movies, not just from the eighties but they got good chapters on more contemporary indie movies.


#11

thanks. :slight_smile:


#12

You’re welcome :wink: There’s no analysis, it’s mostly a history book.



Oh and yeah, Down and Dirty is a good book if you loved the frist Peter Biskind. Though you might now like the part on Tarantino :stuck_out_tongue:


#13

Wow. Thanks cyber-lilli!



8)


#14

You’re welcome ! But it’s too bad most of the French books aren’t translated, I love them more. American and French have two different approaches in film studies. American are more about facts, context, history. And we are more about analysis, essay, understanding. I know it bothers some of the film students here cause it’s sometimes deeply intellectual but I love it.


#15

[quote=“cyber-lili”]
You’re welcome ! But it’s too bad most of the French books aren’t translated, I love them more. American and French have two different approaches in film studies. American are more about facts, context, history. And we are more about analysis, essay, understanding. I know it bothers some of the film students here cause it’s sometimes deeply intellectual but I love it.
[/quote]

Hahaha! My old college buddies (in the US) preferred the European approach.


#16

A friend recommended this book:



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Have any board members read the book?


#17

Haven’t read it but sounds interesting. I’ve seen a docu on similar themes, the rise of the moguls, the start of Hollywood, their ideology and all that. I loved it.