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Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide Paperback – February 22, 2005

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About the Author

Leonard Maltin is one of the country’s leading film critics and historians. He has written a number of books (including Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons), appeared on television’s Entertainment Tonight for more than twenty years, and teaches at the University of Southern California.

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Product Details

  • Series: Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide
  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (February 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452286204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452286207
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #683,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Leonard Maltin is a respected film critic and historian, perhaps best known for his annual paperback reference Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide, which was first published in 1969. He lives with his wife and daughter in Los Angeles and teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

170 of 173 people found the following review helpful By Michael Gebert on March 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
As new movies proliferate but Leonard Maltin's bestselling Movie Guide remains more or less constant at 4" thick and about 18,000 entries, more and more minor old movies have gotten squeezed out (even as they become more and more available on TV).  The answer, at long last, is to split the old movies out as their own book, removing all but the most popular ones from the Movie Guide and adding many, many more entries.  (To start with, Leonard proudly announces, for the first time the complete oeuvres of R. Rogers, G. Autry and W.B. Elliott are reviewed.)

This is one of those things that one can read as a sign that we live either in the best of times or the worst of times for old movies.  On the one hand, it's a recognition that there's a whole lotta folks out there who just won't watch anything before The Godfather at all.  On the other hand, it's really kind of impressive to flip open what looks like the old familiar volume and see Arsenal or Hell's Hinges or People on Sunday rather than, say, the most recent works of Vin Diesel or Jennifer Lopez.

The other encouraging thing, too, is that these all seem to be new reviews.  The fact is, given the enormity of the task of creating a guide, a lot of old movies have always been covered off in the Movie Guide by ancient capsule reviews from some service that supplied synopses to newspapers for their TV listings, and it's clear no one had actually reviewed many of them in any meaningful sense.  So when you see a new entry (say, The Sin of Nora Moran), it actually is a pretty good capsule review, not "**1/2; Lurid programmer about woman on trial for murder," as it might have been if that had been in the old editions.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Louis B. Parks on October 26, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A book not meant to do everything for all movie fans, but for its intended audience, highly useful - not as a replacement for Maltin's main book, Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide, but as a supplement and complement. Don't buy it as your main guide or you will be disappointed: it has no movies newer than 1960.
Also, the title can be confusing: classic here means old movies, not best movies. Some other reviewers here obviously did not understand that, and understandably felt cheated.
For 31 years, I've found it hard to imagine selecting movies to watch on TV - and more recently movies to rent or buy on DVD - without Maltin's Movie and Video Guide. For handy, short reviews, it's usually reliable - at least for my taste, which runs from action to romance, mainstream to arty, foreign to old Hollywood. Probably like yours if you bother to read reviews.
However, with newer movies forcing out older ones from the main guide, Maltin decided to create this one, allowing him to add back some he'd had to drop over the years, and also add in some there was never room for, because they were more obscure or not as good. (That includes some of the old B westerns of Rogers, Autry, Hopalong and early John Wayne.)
There is not an extensive list of directors and only a partial list of the main stars. The idea of this book is to be able to haul it into the store, or keep it by your TV, to get a quick idea if a movie is worth catching. And, of course, for just pleasant browsing. For more detailed reviews or complete filmographies, you'll have to go to other books or websites. For newer movies, you'll need a different book such as the main Maltin. But if you think Turner Classic Movies is the greatest network in the universe, grab this baby.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Z Harpole on February 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
A good book for lovers of old movies who hate browsing through the 1600 pages of Maltin's regular guide only to find the film their looking for between a BOMB by Adam Sandler and a Yugoslavian-Japanese Documentary nobody has ever heard of. The Classic Movie Guide was not made to be a list of 4-star, really great old movies. It was made as a companion guide to the regular book as a place to put older, minor films to make room for newer movies in the regular guide. People who feel cheated because their 2006 guide still contains Gone With the Wind should probably know that it will always be in both guides, but films such as Law and Order(1953) or O. Henry's Full House(1952) may one day only be found in the classic guide. They should also note that their 2006 guide is about 100 pages thinner than the 2005 guide and that reviews of vintage series (e.g. Blondie, The Thin Man) are no longer listed in the regular guide and have been moved to the classic guide. In my understanding of this book, more and more minor old films will be removed from the regular guide and placed in the classic guide which will be revised every 5 years. My suggestions for this book would be to change the title to Leonard Maltin's Vintage Movie Guide and add films made before 1965 but after 1960, such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Lawrence of Arabia. I also would suggest making a third guide in about five or six years just for foreign films, excluding British films of course.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Marcos M. Celesia on September 15, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

When I read about Maltin's decision to create a Classic Movie Guide I thought it was a wonderful idea. A great solution to his somehow justified insistence to NOT divide his traditional Guide into two separate volumes.

But I also hoped that as he moved all the "minor" classic films to the new book (the true classics would appear in both volumes) he would make room for two things:

1. For him not to have to drop 250 to 300 films from his Movie Guide EVERY YEAR to make room for the new entries.

2. And something that I have not seen many people advocating for: so that Maltin could reinstate many of the worthy films he has had to "sacrifice" for the sake of space back where they belong: in the main volume. But I don't see that he has. I don't expect him to reinstate every single made-for-TV-movie (though at one point many, many years ago he boasted that his book included every one of them)... But, being from Argentina, the first thing I checked was whether he had reinstated Man Facing Southeast (1986) to which he had given a very good review (3 stars, I think). Well, no such luck.

And, let's be honest, the Movie Guide still includes preposterous duplications, such as films from the 1930s with two stars or less. Come on! I have the feeling that the Classic Movie Guide was rushed into bookstores without devoting to it some very much needed, additional time and effort. I hope all these issues are resolved when its second, updated edition appears (supposedly) in 2010.

ADDITION: One very important consideration that should keep Mr.
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