In this triumphant work David Thomson, one of film's greatest living experts and author of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, tells the enthralling story of the movies and how they have shaped us.
Sunday Times, New Statesman, The Times, Guardian, Observer and Independent BOOKS OF THE YEAR
Taking us around the globe, through time and across multiple media, Thomson tracks the ways in which we were initially enchanted by this mesmerizing imitation of life and let movies - the stories, the stars, the look - show us how to live. But at the same time he shows us how movies, offering a seductive escape from the everyday reality and its responsibilities, have made it possible for us to evade life altogether. The entranced audience has become a model for powerless citizens trying to pursue happiness by sitting quietly in a dark room. Does the big screen take us out into the world, or merely mesmerize us? That is Thomson's question in this great adventure of a book. A passionate feat of storytelling that is vital to anyone trying to make sense of the age of screens - the age that, more than ever, we are living in.
'The greatest living writer on the movies ... The Big Screen is surely his magnum opus' John Banville, New Statesman BOOKS OF THE YEAR
'Nobody else would match its sweep, its erudition, its discernment or its warmth' David Hare, Guardian BOOKS OF THE YEAR
'A startling analysis of what happens to us in the darkness as we dream with eyes open' Peter Conrad, Observer BOOKS OF THE YEAR
'A very good book indeed, probably the best overview of the cinema ever written ... sparkles with insight, is packed with anecdote, and pulses with passion' Guardian BOOKS OF THE YEAR
'A cultural overview of the past, present and future of the movies' Sunday Times BOOKS OF THE YEAR
'Rigorous and rewarding, and a page rarely passes without insight' Independent BOOKS OF THE YEAR
'David Thomson is a giant in the world of film criticism, and his book is the chest-crusher you might expect: erudite, delightfully tangential and surprisingly polemical' The Times
'The best writer on film in our time ... insights and revelations on every page ... [Thomson] is our most argumentative and trustworthy historian of the screen' Michael Ondaatje
'A devilish, dazzling, out-there divination ... [full of] awe, poetry and witty iconoclasm ... Criticism is rarely this passionate and brilliant' Empire
'A grand aesthetic, spiritual, and moral account of cinema history assembled around the movies and artists that have meant the most to [Thomson] ... A pungently written, brilliant book' David Denby (author of Snark)
'Line by line, Thomson is still the greatest biographical writer about film of all time ... to read him on his favourite films is to be sent back with renewed yearning to that land of Californian light and loveliness' Sunday Times
'Subtle, erudite and entertaining' Economist
'Fascinating ... crackling with ideas and vivid impressionisms ... Thomson's stylish prose, simultaneously erudite and entertaining, captivates as it informs ... Buffs and casual fans alike will enjoy this extra-large serving of popcorn for thought' Publishers Weekly
'Nobody does it better' Scott Eyman (author of Empire of Dreams and Lion of Hollywood)
'None is better informed or more authoritative than David Thomson ... [The Big Screen] re-awakens in us the thrill and wonder of moving images and the need to know what happens next ... It is as close to definitive as any book on film can be' Spectator Life
'Thomson's brain is the ultimate repertory theatre, perpetually rerunning our favourites and allowing us to wonder at them all over again. The highest praise I can give him is to say that the images he treasures are just as alive on his pages as they were on the big screen' Peter Conrad, Guardian
Erudite but readable, delightfully tangential, and surprisingly polemical ... a fascinating ride through the past century of American cinema' Kate Muir, The Times BOOKS OF THE YEAR
About the author:
David Thomson has a fair claim to be the greatest living writer on film. His major works include The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, now in its 5th edition, and Have You Seen...?: A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films including Masterpieces, Oddities, Guilty Pleasures and Classics (with Just a Few Disasters). Thomson was born in London, and now lives in San Francisco.