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A Cinema of Loneliness: Penn, Stone, Kubrick, Scorsese, Spielberg, Altman Paperback – July 27, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The American film directors featured here have created significant bodies of work. Notes Kolker (film studies, Univ. of Maryland), for all the challenge and adventure, their films speak to a continual impotence in the world, an inability to change and to create change. A fount of cinematic knowledge, the author provides the context for his subjects, persuasively arguing that Citizen Kane and Psycho hold pride of place as influences. He draws parallels between Leni Riefenstahl!s Triumph of the Will (1935) and Steven Spielberg!s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1978), Alfred Hitchcock!s Marnie (1964) and Stanley Kubrick!s Eyes Wide Shut (1999), and John Wayne!s Ethan Edwards in John Ford!s The Searchers (1956) and Robert DeNiro!s Travis Bickle in Martin Scorsese!s Taxi Driver (1976). Evidently, the cinema of loneliness is not entirely new. Since the first and second editions, Francis Ford Coppola has been excised and Oliver Stone added. Essential for scholars and well-informed fans, the book is recommended for film and performing arts collections as well as for larger public libraries"Kim Holston, American Inst. for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Malvern, PA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Praise for the previous edition: "Brings the films into clearer focus for film-goers. The filmmakers themselves will find Kolker's analysis of their works extremely accurate."--Martin Scorsese

"An excellent work of film criticism, and as such, demands response and debate....Kolker's analyses of each director's work...are stimulating, provocative, insightful and passionate, models of film analysis."--San Francisco Review of Books

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 3 edition (July 27, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195123506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195123500
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.5 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,479,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By DPK VINE VOICE on July 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Although I missed the very first edition of this book in 1980, its second edition has been among my favorite film books for a decade. This is despite the fact that most of the film-makers discussed within (especially Scorsese & Altman) had made numerous films since the last ones featured in that edition. Now I have the joyful experience of catching up on their films with one of the finest writers on the topic of American film ever and his third edition of one of the finest books on American film ever published.
Kolker has gone back to his earlier editions and used the newer films to both confirm and refute his earlier evaluations. Many fans of film in general (and some of these directors, in particular) will not agree with many of Kolker's points. What makes this book so wonderful, though, is that you don't have to agree to enjoy it. Kolker understands that film criticism is meant to be a lively art, rather than a process of emalming great works of art. I may not agree with his assessment of each Scorsese picture but his analysis of Scorsese's significance is right on the money. At the same time, his newly added discussion of Oliver Stone is the first writing about the controversial director that gave a fair picture of his artistic strengths (there are many) and weaknesses (fewer but still significant).
Deserving of special note is the book's section on the late Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick's passing makes him the only film-maker in the book whose body of work is completely finished, a matter which Kolkee addresses in a special epitaph.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Kolker's lengthy opinions sometimes suffer from tunnel-vision -- ideas that support his over-arching theories are stressed while other influnces on/aspects of the films are ignored. But his over-arching theories are penetrating nevertheless, and a lot of light is shed on the filmmakers he discusses. His treatment of Kubrick, whose work lends itself so well to intelluctual deconstruction, is especially good. The discussion of Spielberg is interesting but a little too high-minded for the relatively simple pleasures of Spielberg's movies. Most interesting of all are the author's comparisons of the filmmakers with each other, the culture of their times, and various narrative forms and goals. (Kubrick fans should also check out Michael Herr's "Kubrick", which reveals a human side to the legendarily chilly and cerebral director).
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By Jeffery G. on July 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thoughtful essays on the art of modern film.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Baker on July 31, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
As a film student I've never ran into a more specifically informative work on the details of a director's body of work (much less on the details of multiple directors). Well worth the price.

Grant it, the book sometimes drifts into pretentious assumptions about the philosophical implications of a director's stylistic choices... But it never does so without a considerable amount of validity and insight (even if the assuption is off target).

I recommend this book along with Hitchcock/Truffaut, Notes On Cinematography by Bresson, and Sculpting In Time by Tarkovsky as the greatest works on film I've read.
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