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Roger Ebert's Book of Film: From Tolstoy to Tarantino, the Finest Writing From a Century of Film Hardcover – November 17, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0393040005 ISBN-10: 0393040003 Edition: 1st

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Roger Ebert's Book of Film: From Tolstoy to Tarantino, the Finest Writing From a Century of Film + The Great Movies + Your Movie Sucks
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 800 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (November 17, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393040003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393040005
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This is the best film book of the mid-'90s and probably the best anthology of writing about the movies ever published. Choosing from the work of novelists and essayists as well as directors, actors, screenwriters and technicians, Ebert places the best that has ever been said or thought about the movies on parade. Here Graham Greene, Delmore Schwartz, and Susan Sontag sit down with Akira Kurosawa, Janet Leigh, and Budd Schulberg; Robert Stone, Julia Phillips, and Kenneth Anger shake hands with Louise Brooks, Gore Vidal, and John Updike. Beautifully organized with lively commentary by the editor, Roger Ebert's Book of Film is entertaining enough to inspire the casual peruser to do further reading and serious enough to be a staple of any good film library.

From Publishers Weekly

From one of the country's most popular movie reviewers comes this exhaustive and pleasingly eclectic selection of articles on film and filmmaking. Designed for selective browsing, the book contains a treasure-chest of fine works, and only the occasional well-meaning clunker. On the fictional side, the strange nature of fame and star identification is subtly exposed in a short excerpt from Walker Percy's The Moviegoer, while novelists Elmore Leonard and Michael Tolkin both cut deeply and satirically into the odious nature of the moviemaking business. While John Updike is coolly humbled by Doris Day, Norman Mailer complains he could have used a whole lot more sex in Last Tango. Surprisingly, a few genuine geniuses come across a little stiffly, notably Alfred Hitchcock and Buster Keaton. But happily, light relief is close at hand: join John Waters for a gutter-level saunter through Hollywoodland, or thrill to Kenneth Anger's refined sleazoid take on the slew of tabloid-ready deaths the movie business has produced over the years, among them Lupe Velez in 1944 and Robert Walker in 1951. Elsewhere Terry McMillan compares her native Michigan to Dorothy's Oz and Kansas, Joan Didion finds much to admire in John Wayne and the incomparable Libby Gelman-Waxner from Premiere magazine disses film noir in her own catty fashion. A wealth of lore and legend is provided.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Roger Ebert is the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic from the Chicago Sun-Times. His reviews are syndicated to more than 200 newspapers in the United States and Canada. The American Film Institute and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago have awarded him honorary degrees and the Online Film Critics Society named his Web site (rogerebert.com) the best online movie review site

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By yygsgsdrassil on January 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you love the movies, if you love good reading and if you love the combination of the two like I do, you will *loooooove* this: a collection of notes, essays, interviews and memoirs by the movie makers, critics and reveiwers, about the icons, the good, the bad and the dirty of Hollywood and the movies.
There's so much good stuff in this, I don't know where to start
to inform you about it. Let me try the bullet approach.
*The important movie critics, of course, are here. Pauline Kael
does a tango with Norman Mailer on the flick "Last Tango in Paris", Sarris and Tynan as well as Editor Ebert are included
here.
*There's a great Truman Capote piece where he and Marilyn Monroe
(in anti-Monroe drag) hang out and dish the dirt. Capote tries to get her to admit that she's seeing writer Arthur Miller.
*Julia Phillips tells of the coked up, spiked up, hyped up days before and after the time she won the Oscar for her producing The Sting.
*There's hilarious sections on WC Fields and Baby Leroy (WC spikes Leroy's orange juice bottle with gin--"the child was more or less restored to consciousness, but in the scene that followed Turog (the director) complained of his lack of animation.") and Groucho Marx' letters to Warners Bros. executives about what "A Night in Casablanca" entailed. (The executives took umbrage to the use of Casablanca in the title.
Groucho, took umbrage to how absurd these guys were so he took the absurdity to another level.)
*There's the Spike Lee "Do the Right Thing" notes which basically outlines the entire film, but are extremely interesting none the less, there's the infamous Gleave and Forest FAQ on Quintin Tarintino's "Pulp Fiction".
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 1997
Format: Hardcover
The picture of Ebert on the cover of this book says it all: he's gazingup at the movie screen, captured, awed, almost grateful. This marvelousanthology is his happy acknowledgement that others feel the same way about movies. It's a collection of takes on the industry--be it a particular film, a favorite star, or the behemoth that is Hollywood--from very talented participants in it. The information is fascinating, but it's the palpable love and excitement for movies that really gets across. One example: after reading reviews of "Last Tango in Paris" by Pauline Kael and Norman Mailer, I ran to the video store to rent it. (And then I ran to the bookstore for more Mailer!) I also found eerie the remarkable prescience of people like Maxim Gorky and Leo Tolstoy in their anticipation of how the industry would develop. Every single contribution to this book is colorful and fun. If you love movies, it's an important book to have.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I know, 10's a little high, but come on, where else am I gonna read Klaus Kinski's version of his hellish Aguirre shoot? Or Ebert's own interview with Lee Marvin, itself a small masterpiece of literary journalism. I was glad to see Kael's glowing review of "Last Tango" balanced with Mailer's vulgar ripping of same. The chapter from Kurosawa's autobiography led me find the entire volume at the local library. This book not only highlights our love for the movies, it inspires a new passion for the written word -- and a greater appreciation for film criticism of all types. (And, of course, there's a chapter devoted to "Pulp Fiction" -- of course!)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kiril G. Kundurazieff on May 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In 1996 Ol' Rog published one of the greatest compilations of film related writing ever produced.

It's huge in more than just its page content, and its cover deserves to be made into a wall poster, and framed.

The cover is the inside of a Movie Palace, & the patrons are a select company of worthies one can only dream about having in the room at the same time....

Sitting front & center are Roger, Orson Welles, and looking, with an arched eyebrow, over Orsons' shoulder is Alfred Hitchcock, while over Rogers is John Huston.

In a funny juxtoposition, 3 rows back, but seen between the heads of Orson & Roger is Woody Allen with his finger to his lips. :-)

Spread out around these gents are Cary Grant, John Wayne, Louise Brooks, Akira Kurosawa, Doris day, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Quentin Tarantino, Leo Tolstoy, Katherine hepburn, Francois Truffaut, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin.

Um, can I get a collective WOW!! from the readership assembled? :-)

After a fine introduction by the author you are invited to dig into 11 sections with articles on a dozens of films, issues, and personalities.

Articles on film going by, among others, James Agee, Walker Percy.

H. L. Mencken on Rudy Valentino, Nicholas Ray on James Dean, Joan Didion on John Wayne, Rex reed on Ava Gardner, Tom Wolfe on Cary Grant, and John Updike on Doris Day, among other pieces on the Stars.

Carey McWilliams, Sam Arkoff, William Castle, and Elmore Leonard on the film business.

John Kobal on Mae West, Pauline Kael, and Norman Mailer with 2 views on Last Tango in Paris, are just a few of the pieces concerning sex & scandal in film.
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