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Groundhog Day (BFI Film Classics) Paperback – 1 Apr 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: British Film Institute (1 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844570320
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844570324
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 0.9 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 372,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

RYAN GILBEY writes on film for the Independent, the Guardian, and Sight and Sound and is author of It Don't Worry Me (2004).

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ian Davis on 16 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was already one of my favourite, if not my most favourite film and reading this well written and researched book has cemented that and helped explain just what it is I like so much about the film. The author's access to earlier versions of the script and interviews with writer and director add greatly in understanding the films development and the thinking behind the many revisions that took place. The prose is effective in depicting events and action if you have already seen the film and the summaries of the accelerated scenes are particularly good. There are many comparisons with other films showing the authors extensive cinema knowledge and the discussion of works by Nicholson Baker and Beckett were surprising but provide plenty of further reading suggestions. It's a quick read and I doubt I will need to view it again - unlike the film which I know will be watched many many more times with an insight that I didnt have before. Now to see if I can find any more BFI books on films that I know.
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By Ms JE Dudley on 29 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting story
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By Amazon Customer on 17 Sept. 2014
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A book to read over and over and over again 2 Jan. 2006
By Michael Samerdyke - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ryan Gilbey has written a splendid book that can only increase one's enjoyment of one of the most enjoyable movies of the Nineties. He begins by showing how the project came together. (The original script was rather darker, more SF than comedy.)

His analysis of the movie itself is serious but never pretentious, yet never betrays the humor of the film. (His comments on the "Ned Ryerson" character made me laugh.) His discussion of Bill Murray's performance is wonderful.

Finally, Gilbey briefly sketches the influence of "Groundhog Day" on subsequent movies. All in all, a thorough and most enjoyable and informative book, a fine addition to the BFI series.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Check It Out - Again 19 Jun. 2008
By Dash Manchette - Published on
Format: Paperback
When the movie Groundhog Day first came out, I was not that impressed with it. It had its moments, sure, but I just did not see the appeal that others seemed to see. In fact, I only watched the movie a second time because the final essay in the book Movies and the Meaning of Life is based upon it and so I decided to pick up this book from the British Film Institute, as well. Figured I would kill two birds with one stone.

I am glad I saw the movie again. Funnier than I remember and rife with themes crying out for good discussion and good analysis, the movie does deserve the status it has achieved. Of course, being a good movie and being a good BFI book on the movie are two different things. Several excellent movies have been the subject of lackluster or even bad interpretations. See, for instance the BFI books on The Matrix (BFI Modern Classics), Eyes Wide Shut, and Se7en (BFI Modern Classics).

For GROUNDHOG DAY, however, the author Ryan Gilbey has avoided many of the pretensions of other mongraphs and has also filled the few pages available to him with substance. Of the numerous BFI publications I have read, this is only the second one, other than The Shawshank Redemption (BFI Film Classics), which I have rated five stars.

Gilbey first puts the movie into the context of other movies that have allowed their characters to unwind and re-edit aspects of their lives. But Groundhog Day is different. Unlike Ebeneezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Phil Connors (Bill Murray) does not have a guide explaining things to him. Unlike Lola in Run Lola Run, we do not see different versions of the same event. Oh no, Connors is stuck in Punxsutawney for a good long time and with no explanation given.

Gilbey takes us 'behind the scenes' with the screenwriter and director and shows how the lack of explanation for Phil Connors' predicament came to fruition (the filmmakers were thinking of showing some woman putting a hex on him) and why it was a good idea that any overt explanation was kept out. Not providing viewers with such a reason, and being very unspecific about just how long Phil Connors was stuck in the loop (anywhere from a few years to thousands of them) keeps the audience itself a bit disoriented and maintains the feeling of existential claustrophobia.

The author further develops the thesis of how Phil's life, day after day of the same old same old, is, depressingly, not all that different from the rest of ours. But a further look at the individual February 2s allows us to see how Phil Connors himself changes internally when he has no choice of changing his external environment. That is the key to the movie, and the key for Connors to get back into normal time.

I will refrain from the pun that the book is worthy of repeat readings (groan), but for a fan of the movie (or a non-fan, as I was before seeing it a second time), it certainly is worth one. You really will appreciate the movie more.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Best Movie of the 1990s 31 Mar. 2014
By Jimboy - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Groundhog Day" never gets old. I've watched it over and over, and its truths never fray. It's our generation's "It's a Wonderful Life." And Bill Murray's role as the boorish oaf who finds redemption in time works in perfect synch with his real personality. Everybody loves "Groundhog Day."
Author has no credibility 15 Nov. 2015
By Kris Kozlik - Published on
Format: Paperback
The author is mentally retarded. He wrote a bad review for one of the greatest movies of all time, "No Country For Old Men." He has absolutely no credibility as a film critic.
9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Fifteen pages of content mercilessly stretched into a booklet 23 July 2010
By R. Thompson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On opening the box from Amazon I was surprised at how small the book was, it should be called a booklet. I believe this is the first publication I have ever seen that numbers the first page of text as number 7 and includes the first pages of the book such as "First published in 2004..." in the page count. It's as if even they realized how short it was and were desperately trying to puff up the page count to make the cost seem somehow worth it. They don't succeed.

The description of the book says: "Ryan Gilbey begins his account of Groundhog Day with the long and unlucky gestation of the script by Danny Rubin, who was interviewed for this book..." That's actually a very cleverly written sentence, it made me think this book was a detailed account of such things. But the author describes this very "long" gestation in less than eleven pages and that's pretty much the sum total of the behind the scenes content for this book. There are a few more anecdotes here and there, but the bulk of this booklet is essentially the author describing what happens on screen, "Cut to the radio alarm clock on the bedside table. It could be any radio alarm, any table. The time is 5:59. No - now it's 6:00..." Throw in some uninspired comments, some biographical info on Bill Murray, and a multitude of rather pointless film history references, and there are your 81 pages of the book.

If you're a fan of the movie Groundhog Day you may be tempted to buy this book to find out more about the film, but you would honestly be better served surfing the web for a few minutes. This "book" might have made an interesting magazine article but it has been pulled and stretched into 81 pages of uninspired and pseudo-academic reflection.
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