Imagine having the gall to write a history of "Narrative Film" -- not just Hollywood production, but ALL film, from ALL OVER...
Well Cook does, and does it better than anyone else.
The most amazing thing about this book is that is reads so well: you can literally open it up anywhere, start reading, and start learning -- and be entertained at the same time. I just love reading this book.
The second amazing thing is that Cook seems to have seen a lot of movies and taken the time to think carefully about them. As a result his comments, his sense of historical perspective, and his assertions are usually accurate, frequently insightful, and always enlightenling.
If you're studying film in ANY context, this is the book to buy. If you prefer a video store with a foreign language section instead of your local Blockbuster, this is the catalog for you. Within days of reading this book I was making lists of films that I had to see (The Red And The White, and the Wadja trilogy among them), and running out to find them.
For those in need of a text-book, this is the best value-for-money you can get. For thos FEARING a text-book, relax: it's actually a real page turner.
Any short-commings? There are some minor factual errors (the photographs demonstrating zoom, telephoto and wide lenses use inaccurate frames from Barry Lyndon, for example), but nothing to worry about -- there so much about this book that's good it really doesn't make a difference. The only real problem is that it will never be big enough.
This is the book against which the others are judged.