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Four-Star Movies: The 101 Greatest Films of All Time Hardcover – October 20, 2003
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From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-The introduction lists the authors' criteria in considering movies to include in this book. The selections include a wide variety of films from "art" to "popular," providing coverage of just about any type. Each entry begins with a ranking beside the title. Remarks about the movie and its special qualities come just beneath the title, with a photograph of a memorable scene at the bottom. A plot synopsis, information on the major actors, awards, gossipy tidbits, what the critics say, and more are included. Outstanding posters appear with the ranking and title of each film. Cross-references are provided. The index contains movies, performers, and other important persons, such as film critic Roger Ebert or an association important to moviemaking. Those who enjoy a good movie will be delighted to immerse themselves in this outstanding volume.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Gail Kinn has conceived and edited a wide range of film books, including Screwball: The Great Romantic Comedies, Hollywood at Home: The Photographs of Sid Avery, and The Scorsese Picture. She lives in New York City.
Jim Piazza is an essayist, screenwriter, and playwright whose personal essays and writings about the media have appeared in The Village Voice and Out magazine. He has been a script analyst for Columbia, Fox, and Paramount Pictures. With Gail Kinn, he is the coauthor of The Greatest Movies Ever (BD&L). He lives in New York City.
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Top customer reviews
The pluses include a detailed index, informative commentary & sidebars, and lots and lots of photos. But my main criticism is that the films selected are heavily weighted to the conventional Hollywood product, mostly post-1950, and sorely lacking in foreign and Golden Age films. Instead, the inclusions are, to say the least, highly subjective. To wit: Airplane? Diner?
It’s a throwaway line but I’ll observe that the films left out could comprise a volume – or volumes – in themselves: Brief Encounter, Metropolis, Sunrise, Trouble in Paradise, Giant, Touch of Evil, Lost Horizon, Ben-Hur, Grand Hotel, West Side Story, to cite but a few that didn’t make the cut. To be fair, the authors do include a goodly amount of indisputable classics: Double Indemnity, The Third Man, The Grapes of Wrath, Rashomon, Seven Samurai, 8½, Vertigo, Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia. No arguments with these.
But overall I go with the plurality opinion and rate this one a respectable three stars, just short of four.
All-in-all, as seems supported by other reviews here and at other sites, these authors missed the boat on at least half of their choices. But, it is their opinion... I just don't think it worth publishing.
Don't buy it unless you like to look for typos and mis-information. .
The packaging as well as the design and format of the book were impressive. It was simple but organized and nicely printed. Too bad just like some of the reviewers already pointed out, there were quite a number of misinformation and typographical error in the book. I find it really unacceptable for a book to have misspelled words, how about a little proofreading next time? And there were also quite a number of wrong information that ranges from the description of a particular scene, wrong entries regarding Academy Award nominations, as well as the section the book had on the different rankings of other "greatest movie lists". That was a major turnoff!
Regarding the list, they made some interesting choices. Some of the usual suspects like The Silence of the Lambs, High Noon, To Kill a Mockingbird, West Side Story, The Philadelphia Story, Rebel Without a Cause, and Mister Smith Goes to Washington were left out. There were some pleasant not so obvious entries like Thelma and Louise, American Beauty, LA Confidential, and Strangers on a Train. But they also had some unconventional entries that I don't necessarily agree with like Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Saving Private Ryan, Airplane, and Spartacus to name a few. If they were going for some unconventional choices, I hope they had included Twelve Angry Men, The Age of Innocence, Seven, The Color Purple, Mister Roberts etc.
Even though I made some rants regarding the accuracy of the information, I still think this is a great read. Just don't use it as a resource book.