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The Story of Film: An Odyssey

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The Story of Film: An Odyssey + A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (3 Discs)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Mark Cousins, Claire Denis, Alexander Sokurov, Wim Wenders
  • Directors: Mark Cousins
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Music Box Films
  • DVD Release Date: December 11, 2012
  • Run Time: 916 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008ZDC7M8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,196 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The Story of Film: An Odyssey is an unprecedented cinematic event, an epic journey through the history of world cinema that is a treat for movie lovers around the globe. Guided by film historian Mark Cousins, this bold 15-part love letter to the movies begins with the invention of motion pictures at the end of the 19th century and concludes with the multi-billion dollar globalized digital industry of the 21st. The Story of Film: An Odyssey heralds a unique approach to the evolution of film art by focusing on the artistic vision and innovations of filmmaking pioneers. Cousins' distinctive approach also yields a personal and idiosyncratic rewriting of film history. Filmed at key locations in film history on every continent, from Thomas Edison's New Jersey laboratory, to Hitchcock's London; from post-war Rome to the thriving industry of modern day Mumbai--this landmark documentary is filled with glorious clips from some of the greatest movies ever made and features interviews with legendary filmmakers and actors including Stanley Donen, Kyoko Kagawa, Gus van Sant, Lars Von Trier, Wim Wenders, Abbas Kiarostami, Claire Denis, Bernardo Bertolucci, Robert Towne, Jane Campion and Claudia Cardinale.

Customer Reviews

You'd be hard pressed to find a collection this good that's worth your time and money!
Michael Belitsos
People who say things like, "I know what I like, and I don't like that" usually mean "I like what I know, and I don't know that".
Mr. Mambo
I found Mark Cousins' narration to be informative but his condescending tone is really annoying.
Media Junkie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 86 people found the following review helpful By David E. Gregson on December 29, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
May 8, 2102: Since the time I originally posted some comments on this superb documentary essay, "The Story of Film: An Odyssey," I have re-watched all 15 hours of it twice. Several of my friends are cinephiles and college film professors who have been anxious to share this viewing experience with me. This explains my insanity, as it were. Lots of nice dinners at my house and lots of "The Story of Film." Needless to say, everybody I know finds something missing: an important director, an important individual film. Everybody hates something that Cousins loves. (He is is full of hyperbolic praise for the most surprising things.) But we all agree -- this is a stunning achievement. One of the greatest things about it, by the way, is that it makes you want to see hundreds of movies again or for the first time. If I had the energy, I would remove almost all the negative remarks I have made below -- but best to leave it as it stands. I do have to add, however, not one of my friends has any objection to the way Mr. Cousins speaks. I also no longer find that his remarks interfere with the zillion film clips. Just imagine the mountainous task of selecting and obtaining the rights to them!

Earlier review: This huge "The Story of Film: An Odyssey" is an odyssey for sure in the way the author/narrator's ideas stray all over the place intellectually and geographically. But it is coherent unlike Godard's "Histoire(s) du cinéma." It is also highly idiosyncratic and the author's opinions are right in your face. He makes sweeping pronouncements on who and what is great. One is likely to disagree with many of his powerful convictions.

Here at Amazon, I have read a number of unfair negative customer comments.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E Allen Jr on December 30, 2013
Format: DVD
Bought this because I saw it on TCM and liked it. Assumed the DVD would have closed captioning because it was CCed on TCM. But the DVD is not captioned. Huge dissapointment. I am hearing impared and no captioning makes it useless to me.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Joseph F. Delgado on June 28, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As a filmmaker and student of film my interest in this collection was guided by customer reviews here. In fact, I stumbled into it while looking for an old film-history book I can't find anywhere, "Behind the Silver Screen," which was my first film textbook (together with "Film as Art") in the '60s. I was very impressed with Mr. Cousins' ability to hop from one cultural context to another and bring the origins of one film to another into its impact on subsequent generations of film-making. The survey is amazingly comprehensive.

I was, however, turned off from the beginning when Mr. Cousins started his editorializing, trying to pass his opinion as historical fact on the value of one type of film-making over another. To assert that Japanese film is classic while Hollywood film is not at the beginning of the series made me weary of what was to come: not exactly a balanced account.

Some inaccuracies made me cringe. For example, when Mr. Cousins in Disc 2 refers to "Dona Barbara" (1943), directed by Fernando de Fuentes, he states that it was a representation of the Mexican woman as victimized. The film is actually set in Venezuela, in spite of its Mexican production, cast and crew. It was based on a novel by Venezuelan writer Rómulo Gallegos, the finest example of the persistent literary theme of civilization v. barbarism in South America, not a glorification or exultation of Mexican women. These details make his comments less trustworthy as the series progresses: it's always the danger of evaluating cultural aspects of art when such values are alien to the evaluator.

While I would recommend the collection to anyone interested in a visual encyclopedia on film, I warn the viewer of Mr. Cousins insufferably dull delivery as he narrates.
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43 of 55 people found the following review helpful By K. Jones on March 16, 2013
Format: DVD
This is an EXCELLENT foray into the beautiful world of global film. But the comments about Cousins' accent are merely a reflection of an uneducated American public. Who says that any accent is "correct." Such is not feasible.

However, I get it, y'all (that was intentional). I was initially put off, like many people, by his accent and had to think about my response. Then I realized that other English-speaking dialects create a different sense of what the narrator is saying and Cousins is no accepttion. I thought he was hyberbolicaly arrogant until I listened enough to realize that his brogue is merely his brogue, just like any region of America or any English speaking country. And, most importantly, I realized that the series is decidely a personal, passionate love letter to cinema, with no attempt to represent an historical compendium. Resistance to his voice actually illuminates the profundity of his point of view: the world is made up of different voices, experiences, and realities, with far more voices located outside of the contiguous USA. I am disheartened at our reluctance to give "different" people, narrators a chance. It is very human, and at the same time, very perplexing.

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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Barker on December 14, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
My copy of THE STORY OF FILM arrived yesterday and I dove into it immediately.

I have watched the first 3 episodes and so far am really glad I sprang for this set, and I can imagine re-watching it often. Already I am caught up in Cousins' approach, and he continually offers insights I've not encountered elsewhere.

I agree somewhat with the previous reviewer; Cousins perhaps was not the best choice to narrate his own project. To my American ears, his Ulster accent makes each? sentence? sounds as if? it is a question? It is becoming disconcerting. I have been watching Kevin Brownlow's & David Gill's HOLLYWOOD (Thames TV) series, and James Mason's narration is so wonderful in that, but HOLLYWOOD is a less personal approach than THE STORY OF FILM is, I think, intended to be.

The price is reasonable for this immense documentary, considering the number of film clips involved*. (*Christian Marclay's masterpiece THE CLOCK is comprises a virtually uncountable number of film clips, and I don't expect to see a home video release of that art object in MY lifetime.)
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Topic From this Discussion
is there any english subtitles
Good question!
Apr 14, 2013 by blacklion |  See all 4 posts
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