- Paperback: 832 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (October 15, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0826429777
- ISBN-13: 978-0826429773
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.7 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,746,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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America's Film Legacy: The Authoritative Guide to the Landmark Movies in the National Film Registry 0th Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The great, the historic, and the lousy (but, alas, influential) all find their place in this engrossing survey of titles selected by the Library of Congress's National Film Registry. Eagan (HBO's Guide to Movies on Videocassette and Cable TV) chronologically catalogues 500 Registry films, from 1893's 30-second Blacksmithing Scene to 1995's Fargo, jumbling Hollywood classics together with obscure art films, cartoon shorts, documentaries, industrial and student films, newsreel footage from the Hindenburg disaster and the Zapruder film. Each entry includes complete cast and credits lists and an engaging one- to two-page historical and interpretive essay. These are packed with biographical thumbnails of actors and directors and making-of narratives-from screenplay rewrites to on-set feuds and hysterics to final-cut showdowns-that buffs and scholars will delight in. Eagan dutifully assesses the artistic merits of each film (yes, even Animal House) in critiques that abound in pithy and sometimes contrarian opinions: he rates Clint Eastwood rather higher than either Orson Welles (Citizen Kane is, merely, "a delightful stunt with the appeal of an eager puppy") or the "glib, cruel" Robert Altman. The result is an erudite, perceptive, always entertaining cinematic encyclopedia. Photos.
This valuable and highly readable book will serve equally well as a primer for newcomers to film history and a refresher course for more experienced viewers on the vast spectrum of American cinema. Best of all, it will introduce novices and veterans alike to a number of offbeat and unjustly-forgotten titles on the National Film Registry. --Leonard Maltin
The opportunity to revisit and be inspired by the past is one of the purposes behind the National Film Registry. The 1915 film The Italian was preserved from a single paper copy. If prints were readily available at the time I made The Godfather, I would have enjoyed having access to it. I'm proud that The Godfather and The Godfather Part II join The Italian on the Registry, an attempt to preserve our cinematic heritage. America's Film Legacy doesn't just explore the films on the Registry, it ties together the past and the present, showing how the great movies of today can be built on the those of an earlier era. --Francis Ford Coppola
I've always thought of my films as a kind of private history, a record of things that interested me, music, people, events, sometimes politics. They allowed me to watch like a cat, and not have to be a reporter. What made it risky was not explaining anything. When I got rid of the script and the narration in the early films, and went out hunting for films with a camera they were seen as sort of dicey and unorthodox and unfortunately for us, unsaleable, at least to TV. That was what got us into theaters. I really welcome the existence of the National Film Registry and Daniel Eagan s wonderful book--America s Film Legacy--about it. The NFR's determination to collect these early experimental works and not let them disappear is really collecting and preserving the history of our times. I believe that films will eventually be our most important artifact. They may well become a new language. --D.A. Pennebaker
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Daniel Egan has done a wonderful job cataloging the first 500 films of the NFR. This book has been accompanying me and my project for a year now, and it is the perfect companion, for some very specific reasons:
(1) There are no spoilers. Using this book for background info on the films is so much better than looking them up on Wikipedia because major plot details are not given away.
(2) Full treatments are given to even obscure titles. I'd say that for 30% of the films mentioned in this book, Daniel has provided more information than you can possibly expect to find on the Internet. For the other 70%, he has provided insight and details that you'd be hard to find elsewhere.
(3) The layout of the book is easy to navigate. Just look up the book by name or by year in the beginning, and then the rest of the book is sorted by year. This is much better than having the book laid out alphabetically.
If you love movies, you'll love this book.
I took this to Europe with me to read on the plane and at the Airport.
Lots of short articles that works for me, since I get interupions when I am trying to
read a novel.....Good information for every Film fan.
The one knock I can make on Eagan's book is that it seems that there's very few films here about which he has nothing but positive commentary; sometimes it feels like fairness, and other times, it seems like bald contrarianism or perhaps oddly personal ax-grinding (what did James Dean ever do to you, man?). But that doesn't overall detract from the considerable achievement Eagan has pulled off here. And it's made me seek out films I probably would have never seen otherwise; just yesterday, I had my first encounter with Bruce Conner's bizarre and fascinating "A Movie" and Sid Laverents' lovably goofy "Multiple SIDosis." Haven't heard of them? Well, the LOC has found them to be worthy of immortalization. Read this book, and you'll get to know these titles and a whole lot more.