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The Film Encyclopedia, 4th Edition: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume Paperback – March 20, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Film Encyclopedia
  • Paperback: 1520 pages
  • Publisher: Collins; 4th ed. / rev. by Fred Klein and Ronald Dean Nolen edition (March 20, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062737554
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062737557
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 2.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,340,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When I reviewed the second, 1994 edition of The Film Encyclopedia, I called it the basic reference guide to international cinema. Most film encyclopedias are hybrid works, compromised by an editorial staff that must make compromises to satisfy competing sensibilities. The Film Encyclopedia was written by a single individual, editor Ephraim Katz, and his personality and charm, his vast knowledge and love of cinema shone through every entry. Alas, Katz died in the early nineties, but this third edition, which retains most of his original prose, remains true to his vision. It thus holds on to its exalted place in the vast universe of movie reference guides, even as its new editors have updated the relevant entries through the end of 1997.

Well-written, user-friendly, and bursting with essential data, famous stories, and terrific trivia, this book is the most intelligent and accessible film companion available, a must for every movie lover. Its chief assets are its in-depth entries on actors, directors, writers, cinematographers, composers, and editors, which come complete with date and place of birth as well as an extensive filmography. You can also read the cinematic history of every major film-producing country; look up technical terms like "boom," "dolly," and "Steadicam"; and find the meaning of those illusive phrases that appear so often in movie credits, assignations like "gaffer," "key grip," and "best boy." Whatever the extent of your movie knowledge, whether you're a burgeoning cineaste or a long-time expert, you'll find yourself turning to this superb volume again and again. --Raphael Shargel --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

For the last 15 years, the first edition of this title has served as a dependable source of brief film biographies, definitions of terms, explanations of technical film processes, and more. This second edition continues to provide the same comprehensive coverage, now increased by about 18 percent. Its claim to being an encyclopedia of world cinema is well founded, as there are entries for Zakes Mokae (South Africa), Pedro Almod{¢}ovar (Spain), Hector Babenco (Brazil), Zhang Yimou (China), Daniel Auteuil (France), and Juzo Itami (Japan), along with Ed Harris and Julia Roberts. As in the first edition, there are no entries for individual film titles. Filmographies are included for major actors and directors, and the biographical sketches include not only those two job titles but also composers, producers, screenwriters, art directors, cinematographers, etc. Of particular interest are the overviews of the film industry in individual countries, which provide the names of notable actors and directors and the titles of their films. Coverage of the U.S. film scene is up-to-date, biographical entries are provided for the likes of Linda Hamilton, Kirstie Alley, Sean Young, Tim Robbins, Debbie Allen, and Kyle MacLachlan. Indeed, the biographical entries are the mainstay of this work, which notes even 1993 and 1994 deaths of film notables.

Katz, author of the first edition, lived only long enough to complete about three-fourths of this new one. Those who followed him have fulfilled his original aim to produce "the most comprehensive one-volume encyclopedia of world cinema ever published in the English language." This is one instance where the content is accurately depicted by the cover blurb. Recommended for any reference collection in need of a world view of film. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

I updated from an earlier edition on this book.
Kindle Customer
Most of the biographies are detailed with either complete filmographies or lists of most notable films.
Susan Nunes
Everybody who is interested in movies and the people who make/made it will love this book.
LostinGermany

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Michael J Riezenman on January 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
A word of warning to the public. This is a mistitled book. It is NOT a film encyclopedia. You cannot look up specific films. Basically, it is a collection of brief biographies of people in the movie business with some unnecessary technical terms thrown in. At the end of each entry is a list of the films in which the subject has appeared.
Fine as far as it goes, but if you want reference work in which you can look up who played the role of Bubba in Le plus Vieux MŽtier du Monde, this is not it.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte Vale-Allen VINE VOICE on September 4, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since its original publication, I have used this book both as a movie lover and as a writer. As a movie lover, it's a never-failing source of obscure information. Can't remember the name of the movie, and only remember its star? You'll find the answer here. Want to know what a grip does? Looking to discover how many films were made by Howard Hawks or Howard Hughes? What's a dolly? What's a key light? The answers to some of the most obscure questions about moviemaking reside in this brilliant compilation of facts about films and the people who make them--everyone from the best boy to the stars. As a research resource, it's invaluable. To satisfy that nagging question about some film you saw with James Cagney, get the Film Encyclopedia. Next to the Cinebooks Library, this is the single most important book to own. Nothing before it and nothing after it will ever contain a similar wealth of information. This is a must-have volume.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Peter J. Smith on January 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
Some of the people who have rated this low do not understand the book's mission. This is a book of biographies of most all important Hollywood movers and shakers. It is sorted by the last name of the person, not by film. So put this next the LM's movie guide (sorted by film) and you have the ultimate cross reference set.

Bios are well written and relevent. Details of minor roles are included that are missed in many other books. Inludes actors, directors, writers and a number of other significant people.

One of the best features of this book is its historical nature, that it does not throw flash in the pan actors like Leo and JLo in until they show some legs. Once a star is truly established, they are added. I like this a lot in that it keeps the clutter out.

P
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Red Wood on June 1, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, maybe not. Unless there was cable TV, a DVD player, and a local video store. But still, this is the best reference on the market when it comes to cast/crew biography. The listing is exhaustive of directors, actors, writers, producers, and others who made important milestones when it comes to film. Included are film terms. It's true that this is not a film encyclopedia, actually, but there are those on the market already. So if the argument here is about the "title" of this guide, get a life already. Maybe you feel you got took...but, by far, you have not. This is the best desk reference of its kind. Believe me. I've studied film for over 20 years and, above all, I'm a critic and this book is the one guide I would NEVER do without. A good compliment would be, as one reviewer mentioned here, Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide. However, an updated copy of that is released every year late summer-early autumn. So, if it's spring or summer, wait for the next copy. You'll get all the recent films of the last year then. Maltin's guide has details about each film that will be found in no other film guides. Buy it-and buy the Katz guide for sure!

Update as of April, 2014: truthfully, this IS more of a "desert isle text", as my title refers, for in the modern age, IMDB and, primarily, Wikipedia are really all you need. However, this may still come in handy, for both sites have their omissions. Outside of that, I truthfully haven't picked up this book for years and years. However, I still stand behind the Maltin guide completely.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
You'll go to look up one name and you'll end up browsing through this mesmerizing book for hours! Lists not only movie stars, but also directors, producers, writers, studios, etc., and movie terms. I like silent films and lesser known films from the early thirties, and I can usually find entries for long-ago forgotten stars within the pages of this venerable volume. Yes, some entries are regrettably small, but you'll never find so much information in one volume anywhere else. Take it from me, a film buff who is also a librarian--this is a reliable, informative, affordable and entertaining reference source.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Rogers on June 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
Can't remember who starred with whom in what? If you can remember one, then you can cross-reference for the rest! This book, along with James Pallot's, "The Movie Guide," are all most viewers will need. I have reviewed that book too, and find that they were essential in helping build our own film library. Biographies are complete enough, and film terms and history are included. Want to know all the fims that Busby Berkley coreographed? It's in here. How many Thin Man films were there? It's in here. We have yet to need to know a fact that could not be found in one of these two books.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
I own the first two editions of this book, and have also used the third. It is far and away the best book of its kind. While I occasionally wish for more detail regarding a particular person, the book has sufficient depth for its scope. The only real problem I have with the later editions of "The Film Encyclopedia" is that entries on minor actors (contained in the first edition) are missing in the second and third editions. Still, I highly recommend this book.
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