- Paperback: 800 pages
- Publisher: Cassell Illustrated; First Edition edition (October 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1844036049
- ISBN-13: 978-1844036042
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 7.9 x 1.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,571,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Defining Moments in Movies: The Greatest Films, Stars, Scenes and Events that Made Movie Magic Paperback – October 1, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
The theme of this book is: "movies whose defining moments literally made movie magic." Of course, a more cynical person could easily find vast amusement in tearing this book apart and my review in the process, arguing that I had be "taken in" by the books easily candied ideas and was simply swept away by its flashing lights and colors. Perhaps it is true, but I don't think so. Here's why.
There have been thousands and thousands of movies made. So many times we are alerted to "the movie of the year," or "one of the greatest movies of our generation." What this book attempts to do, and in my opinion, greatly succeeds at, is getting passed this hyperbole and actually giving the true reason(s) why the movie is that good. Of course there are many, many movies that are really good, but would never be considered as one that has made movie magic. I often find myself switching through my cable guide and looking to see whether the movie I am watching is considered a one, two, three or four star movie, The intrepid enthusiasts at Comcast continuously keep my attention.Read more ›
The entries in this massive, 800 page tome are arranged by decade. Each 'defining moment' is reviewed in its historical context with commentary on its impact on movie making, movie history or movie viewing.
In some ways the 'defining moments' title is misleading. In perusing this book, you come across articles on key films, key scenes in a film, key cinematic events, key people and key speeches in a film. Each page contains two articles. So, one page, for example, discusses Dustin Hoffman's "I'm Walking Here" speech from MIDNIGHT COWBOY and Jacques Rivette's film L'AMOUR FOU. Another has articles on a scene from THE LONG GOODBYE and George Lucas' far-sighted decision to demand merchandising rights to STAR WARS from 20th Century Fox instead of more money upfront. A third page covers the death of Rudolf Valentino and the opening sequence from A PAGE OF MADNESS and so on.
The book's editor, Chris Fujiwara, didn't lay down restrictive guidelines to the contributors on what constituted a key moment. Consequently, the entries are all over the board, which is a plus and a minus. I can certainly see why the development of CGI rates an article or the $100 million dollar price tag on TERMINATOR 2 or the personal baggage that gave such emotional impact to Marilyn Monroe's MISFITS scenes...but an article on Daniel Day-Lewis' running form in LAST OF THE MOHICANS!?! Likewise many of the entries touch upon films few of us have seen or probably will be able to see.
Depending on your knowledge of movies, DEFINING MOMENTS IN MOVIES may be a treasure or way too much of a good thing. Recommended with some reservations.
Telling the positive side of things without mentioning the negatives is only half of the coin. Downside is some reviewers get a bit pretentious, picking alternate scenes in a film rather than going with the popular choice or paying more attention to under-appreciated directors while ignoring some major players. I love Fritz Lang but 10 of his films appear worth reflecting on versus only one film for David Lean and Roman Polanski. Also the book could have used some better editing. In the index, Davis Lynch is credited with directing Eraserhead with David Lynch listed for Blue Velvet right above it. How hard was that to spot particularly as it is the last listing under L?
Also, someone named Kim Newman wrote that Virginia Rappe's death was a key event in movies (even this is a stretch as it isn't in a movie but around the film business). The writer suggests that somehow her real-life death in 1921 had a direct influence on the establishing of the Hays Code and use in 1934 (13 years later). Yesterday's news sister and ignores the reality of shocking films (for the time) that really made a difference like Baby Face (1933).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the greatest books on the movies I have ever owned & I own a whole library full!!!Published on April 14, 2014 by Roxanne
This is more than just a compendium of great films that some editor thinks ought to be included in such a tome; as the introduction claims, this `book is designed to highlight film... Read morePublished on June 24, 2012 by still searching