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The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies Hardcover – October 16, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
If you love films, as I do, then experiencing Thomson's knowledgeable passion is a great experience.
But I urge you to think twice about the Kindle edition.
For a book that is so rich in reference to so many films, I need an index so I can quickly access Thomson's comments on individual films.
There is no index in the Kindle edition!
There is a comment that it can't be indexed to the hard cover edition. That's understandable and normative.
But it is also normative to have an index that references the pages in the Kindle edition.
Absent an index, I returned my Kindle copy and chose to deal with the physical weight of the hard cover edition.
Of course if you don't care about having an index the Kindle is fine.
The author writes this history by giving the main players real character. Whether that is the ego of Louis B Mayer or the non-Jewishness of Cecil B. DeMille or the 18 year old Gladys Smith who gave up the theatre in 1911 to get into 'moving pictures.' The stories are woven into a narrative that always includes you. Its about you and the screen. That is what made Mary Pickford.
Fascinating to understand how the role of director was initially 'a stooge's job' became the central figure and now is once again peripheral in the making of film. As Mr Thompson rightly asks: do you know who directed which episode of The Sopranos?
The gift season is nearly upon us once again. This is a book for reading, not just for owning or to refer to or to look at. Like The Second World War I devoured recently this is real history. Captivating in a prose style akin to a novel replete with long sentences and the occasional jump-cut. It is not glued together reportage of quotes and stories. The narrative thread is the screen. From the silent to the one in your pocket. Highly recommended. For you.
For he calls the entire genre "movie," and he is right in that, as he is in so much else. The main thing he is right about is that the screen is no longer limited to the ones found in picture palaces. For even there the screens have gotten smaller. As they have in the parlors and pockets of millions of people, watching whatever they watch on gadgets. Watching not just movies, but always watching screens. And this is what he means by The Big Screen. Screens have gotten bigger as they have gotten smaller. Screens have proliferated. The big ones have given birth to the little ones, and they to littler ones still. Screens are pandemic.
Thomson has the world history of film at his fingertips. Movie has been and remains his lifelong love. This accounts for more than a career. It is a response to a gift. Not just the gift of perspicacity -- a good teacher, which he is, may have perspicacity -- but the gift of the violin of his prose, which provokes that sweetness of mind that enables one to look at movie as lovingly and as ruthlessly as he.
The size of the book should not put anyone off. It should lure them, as a big garden lures. For Thomson is not a scrunched up scholar. His prose is not pasty. He does not have a tub to thump. He is certainly not a theoretician -- heaven forbid -- indeed, he has nothing theoretical to say at all -- or a statistician -- his style is open and lyrical. He is not an intellectual, thank goodness. His response is always personal. His thought is felt. His conversation with us is his experience, not his ratiocination. You can enter in.Read more ›
- Clay Stafford, author and founder of Killer Nashville
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Oh my goodness what a lot of movies (and television). I knew about DW Griffiths. I've seen M and TRIUMPH OF WILL. The first hundred pages went along swimmingly for me. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Robert Slocum
I was very disappointed in this book. The writing style did not suit me as it was very weak on structure and the revelations outweighed by personal opinion. Read morePublished 10 months ago by William J. Harper
Interesting to read the various enthusiasms and biases of the critic. You end up learning far more about him than the reviews.Published 13 months ago by Idaho Guy
David Thomson clearly is an expert on the history of film and makes a few interesting observations on how and why the film industry
grew from experimental roots in the 19th... Read more
Very interesting. A bit too detailed for me, however.Published 18 months ago by vonne anne heninger
In this book, British-born film historian David Thomson presents his interpretation of "the Story of the Movies. Read morePublished 22 months ago by timcon1964
Interesting, but a hodgepodge not quite chronological and not by theme. Best considered as a collection of essays.Published 23 months ago by Roger Brooks