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4.1 out of 5 stars27
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 16 July 2012
This is the latest version of the ever-dependable THE FILM ENCYCLOPEDIA by (sadly-deceased) film journalist Ephraim Katz. Since its inception over 30 years ago, this one-volume doorstopper has maintained its editorial independence and strived to be the best all-round collection of film knowledge and facts.

At over 1600 pages, the book has grown substantially over the years. Each version has kept the previous version's content, meaning that there's never been a need to keep older ones. As always, it is detailed and covers most subjects and people within the world of film, that most people will ever need to know about. Whilst it will never compete with certain online film databases, for a single-volume paperback, this will be worth its weight for the majority of readers.

Likewise, it won't please everyone. No single-volume book ever could. But, my only reason for not giving it five stars, is that there are still entries missing, that I believe a UK-based film encyclopedia needs to start including. There are no entries for:
- Anime (Japanese animation), though a couple of films are mentioned under "Japan". This is an ever-growing, ever-more-popular genre, that really does need to at least be mentioned and expounded upon, if not covered in explcit detail. It's not mentioned under Animation either, which makes its ommission even more galling. The past 10-20 years has seen an explosion in this genre, and it's produced some stunning works, including the Oscar winning "SPIRITED AWAY".
- the "British Board of Film Classification", nor Censorship as an issue at all. Considering that film as an artistic medium has been subject to some of the most drastic, dangerous and provocative cuts and bannings, this subject is pretty much imperative, and its ommission is a horrible one. Even a cursory history should have been included.
- Digital Cinema, DVD and Blu-Ray's: again, a devastating ommission, considering so many modern filmgoer's and viewers now watch a substantial amount of film on these home-viewing formats. The fact that many films are now only shown from digital prints, rather than on 35mm celluloid, is something that needs to be explained. Moreso with many cinemas now going over to digital, and dismantling or removing their standard and trusty 35mm projectors.

I'm sure there are lots of other subjects, people and terms that could and should be included, but those three for me, are three of the most noticeable missing entries. I hope that they will be included in the 8th Edition.

Lastly, the cover is a little bland. Not much effort appears to have gone into its thought, and it looks cheap, and not the kind of thing I would expect from a book that was trying to be a serious, scholarly volume on cinema. Considering the book has no other images, as noted in the prefact, it's a real shame that more thought wasn't put into the cover. I would also argue for it to be released in hardback, as the paperback binding won't take long to start cracking and breaking - rendering your lovely encyclopedia, looking more like a well-thumbed telephone directory.

With that all said, however, it's still a great book, and if you only own one book on cinema, this should be a serious contender for ownership in your personal library. A hefty tome, but a worthwhile one.
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on 24 December 2012
Katz's film book is an update from the original published in the 1980's. It is better than the old Halliwell Companions and a useful alternative to the reference books (like the Radio Times Guide) which concentrate on film titles, and which are less relevent these days now that the likes of the IMDB is available online.
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on 2 October 2013
On the face of it - a handy and useful reference work. If one digs deeper, however, there are too many problems with accuracy or up-to-datedness to merit a high rating.

One gets the impression that some entries - once written - are not revisited for renewals, corrections or proper updating. A case in point is Woody Allen, whose film output is given extensive treatment and analysis until the end of 1980s. Clearly, at some point the editors simply stopped bothering and have completely ignored his work over the last two decades (other than listing the film titles).

Although the editors invite comments from readers, the e-mail address provided doesn't work! I personally submitted corrections on a number of entries but my comments came back undelivered. This would explain why certain entries seem to be stuck in a time warp and are passed on from one edition to the next uncorrected.

The book cover suffers from the time-warp syndrome, too. Featuring Gene Kelly, Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire - it looks as if the film industry hasn't moved on since 1960s---
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on 11 April 2014
Gift for my son, he loved it, lots of info and details, my only thing I would have liked would be a thicker cover book was a bit floppy for a large book. Would buy again and recommend
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on 11 February 2014
the best reference book of its kind and a welcome addition to any film buff's bookshelf. Covers not just the stars and directors but writers, composers and other production artists.
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on 22 March 2016
Without having read the book, I must say that it's embarrassing for you that you misspell the first names of Sofia Coppola and Katharine Hepburn in the recommandation of it!
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on 16 January 2015
Disappointing and not a patch on dear old Halliwell's excellent Film Guide, no longer available. Being an expert film buff I have found a number of errors. Not recommended.
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on 20 February 2015
I like films - mostly the old and not the hyped sci-fi which seems to have no obvious plot. This book gives lots of information about film not found in a reviewer.
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on 30 January 2014
This was bought as a present for my nephew who is studing film production and editing. He loved it and it kept him quiet all Christmas!
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on 19 December 2013
A gift for my sister, she was really happy with it, arrived quickly and brilliant value compared to the shops.. thanks a million :-)
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