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On Film-making [Paperback]

Alexander Mackendrick , Paul Cronin
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: £17.99
Price: £14.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Jun 2006

An invaluable analysis of the director's art and craft, from one of the most revered of all film school directors. Alexander 'Sandy' Mackendrick directed classic Ealing comedies plus a Hollywood masterpiece, Sweet Smell of Success. But after retiring from film-making in 1969, he then spent nearly 25 years teaching his craft at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles.

Mackendrick produced hundreds of pages of masterly handouts and sketches, designed to guide his students to a finer understanding of how to write a story, and then use those devices peculiar to cinema in order to tell that story as effectively as possible. Gathered and edited in this collection, Mackendrick's teachings reveal that he had the talent not only to make great films, but also to articulate the process with a clarity and insight that will still inspire any aspirant film-maker.

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Frequently Bought Together

On Film-making + IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE NEW EDN: A Perspective on Film Editing + Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen (Michael Wiese Productions)
Price For All Three: £37.48

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (1 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780571211258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571211258
  • ASIN: 0571211259
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Invaluable... I can easily imagine a college without a film program building a curriculum around these writings' -- Martin Scorsese

'This book is as vital and enjoyable for the watcher of films as their potential maker.' -- The Times

'This eminently accessible collection of teaching notes and sketches lays bare the myth of moviemaking' -- Empire magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A masterclass in film-making from the acclaimed director of Whisky Galore and The Ladykillers.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Speech involves the rationalising of our feelings and impulses, something film directors of the silent era discovered they could catch at first hand. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I get through 'em! 16 Sep 2010
written by someone who obviously has mastered his craft and considered his own techniques. the writing is clear (as you would hope from a film maker, after all film making is about communication!) and the concepts are explanied with examples and anecdotes. loads of gems, ie: definition of drama is anticpation mingled with uncertainty.

I would put it up with Story by Robert Mckee, however, On Film Making deals less with dialouge and formula and more about the craft and the techniques that keep the audience drawn into the story presented as a film.

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Master class 24 Dec 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Fantastic book, if I had read this years ago I would have saved time and money on lesser books. My copy is full of passages underlined and sections highlighted. His classes must have been amazing. Love this book and cannot recommend it highly enough.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for writers too 16 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book does not really tell you all you need to make a film. However, it is a brilliant book about writing, and an insight into how films are made. The main focus throughout the book is on storytelling, and how to tell a good story, from the initial conception of the idea right through to considering how it should look on screen. As a writer, I found these tricks of the trade were superbly useful in focusing me on what was truly important, as well as giving me a few very practical ideas on how to go about editing. The examples are often very entertaining as he gives you an insight into his experience without ever being patronising. The only niggle is that he spends a lot of time telling students off for making bad films. But I imagine that he must have been fairly annoyed at the way they kept making the same mistakes. These he highlights with easy-to-memorise slogans. A worthwhile purchase especially for script writers, but not a technical guide by any means.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brillant Book 3 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am currently finishing my final year at university, studying Film Production Technology, and although it is both slightly depressing and a testament to this book, I have learnt more within these pages than my 3 years at university, and I have not yet finished the book!
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in filmmaking, particularly directing and writing.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
I'm not joking when I say this could be the greatest film making book ever made. Explaining how good and useful this book is would take hours.

The quality of my work improved so much you have no idea (especially writing) If you think you know a lot about writing this book will teach you 10x more. The quality of your screen writing will go way up!

I cannot recommend this book enough, it's practically a film making bible.
This book covers so much information from writing to production all the way to post production.
Like I mentioned the main thing this book will improve is writing. It will vastly improve your film grammar and the way you think about film as well as your shots.

It covers all the basic and advanced points. I honestly don't know how I got on without it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars McKendrick - On Film-making 31 Mar 2013
By J Amone
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you only ever buy one book on filmmaking then this is it. If you need a second then try Steven D Katz "Shot by Shot." These are the most useful books on filmmaking that I've come across since 2006 and I read lots on the subject regularly. However other complimentary books such as Judith Weston - "Directing Actors" can also be handy. If unsure check out the content of the book "On Film-making" from your local University library to help you make up your mind on buying it. Well, University libraries (if asked nicely) will allow access to general members of public with proof of ID (e.g. utility bills, passports etc) but may not allow you to borrow the book or make photocopies of it if you are not a student in that institution. Hence this is just an excercise to help you take your time reading various books at leisure before you commit your hard earned cash to it. Anyway, this is how I discovered McKendrick's On Film-making plus various quality books on the subject including those mentioned above then I go to Amazon and buy with confidence because I already have very clear idear of the book content and quality. And your local public library are unlikely to stock these quality books hence do find a University library or local bookstore - take a good read and head to Amazon for good deals for the book(s) you like. Good luck and I hope this info has helped at least one person out there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On Film-Making 15 Oct 2012
By Fab
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is the best book on the subject I've read so far.

This is a masterpiece and I would recommend it to anyone interested in film-making.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the master book guide of film-making 13 May 2012
By li
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many people recommend this book to me,
and it is a very useful guide in story-telling,
directing and other aspect of film-making.
i highly recommend it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A true classic!
I am in no way competent to evaluate this book but based on what I have read in other books and what my little insignificant experience on this subject is I can say this book is... Read more
Published 1 month ago by SK-from-MK
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic advice from a great director
Alexander 'Sandy' Mackendrick was an acclaimed director whose films include 'The Ladykillers' and 'Sweet Smell of Success'. Read more
Published 4 months ago by H.P.J.M.
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD READ
Great book on the process of film making, from a classic film director, easy to read and very informative. poor
Published 7 months ago by Philip Martin Hammond
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best book's around
I have read a few books on screenwriting and most are the same, this book is one of the best book's that I have read on the subject of film, this is a must have for screenwriter... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Harry
4.0 out of 5 stars i am very happy with it, due to the correspondance to the expectations
i am very happy with it, due to the correspondance to the expectationsYOU ARE ASKING TO MANY WORDS TO DESCRIBE THIS, NO ONE HAS TIME
Published 14 months ago by miguel costa
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible of Screenplay writing
A remarkable book and one that all budding screen writers should devour. I don't know how I have managed so long without it.
Published 18 months ago by Dr. S. J. ROLLINS
5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant book
hello i would like to recommend this book to all aspiring to be hollywood directors but can someone tell me what other books they can recommend aswell as this one and where to go... Read more
Published 19 months ago by dillon
5.0 out of 5 stars Really useful filmmaking guide
I bought this book for someone making their first short film and they really enjoyed it. It is good clear writing with pictures too. I highly recommend this book.
Published 19 months ago by ohnafalby
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful content, but complex writing style
This book is one of the most formal and in my opinion overwritten books I've ever read. It's not a "nuts and bolts" read concentrating on raw facts. Read more
Published 20 months ago by customer
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