Most helpful positive review
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Not as good as I'd hoped...
on 30 November 2012
Having purchased - and reviewed - two of Maltin's annual 'Modern Era' movie guides (2011 & the current 2013) I was naturally intrigued to find out more about this Classic edition, which covers the 'old' films (up to 1965) while the updated yearly ones are the ones to find out about new releases. It's only on its second edition, in theory, it shouldn't need updating, unless Mr Maltin decides to include more films as, obviously, no more new films will be made before 1965!
I wanted to know how many extra old films that weren't in the modern era guides would be in the Classic. Of those that were, would they have longer, more detailed reviews and basically, is the Classic Guide worth buying at all, considering it is quite a lot more expensive and doesn't get as heavily discounted (and is unavailable - checked many sites - used).
So, going through my 1000 strong DVD library, so far, only a handful that are in the Classic are not in the the current main guide and a few, mainly silent 'shorts' aren't in either of them. The reviews are identical which ever volume they appear in. The layout of the classic, being a bigger book all-round has a lot more space around the margins and so easier to read but for many, the print will still be too small, though it is larger than the current 2013 guide.
So, why am I awarding 4 stars, the same as I have with his more trend-setting yearly editions? Well, I like it, for starters as I do his brief but intuitive synopsis' and summaries as well as his scoring. The fact that he's American means more bias toward their films but certainly not exclusively so. He tends to shy away from the throwaway popcorn movies that blight the industry and is not afraid to say so, but always manages to do so diplomatically. You certainly won't agree with everything he says and thinks - and vice versa, which is what it's all about; opinion. He gives his but he is as well respected as any other critic, currently and instead of faceless committees of editors, Leonard puts his name on everything and yes, we do, get an good idea of what the man likes - and does not.
Secondly, this is a volume for casual reference that should last years. Yes, we have the internet and can access thousands of amateur reviews but sometimes a seasoned voice, that we can get to know is always reassuring. I'm sure that as I go through my list I'll find more in this volume that aren't in his others. I do not regret buying it.
Thirdly - at the back is a good list of main actors and their filmographies, again, available on IMDb but when the broadband's bust, you can't get a signal or there's a power-cut, an easy flick-through is quick and useful.
So - only get this, over the Maltin's yearly guides if you're REALLY into old films. Many, especially the well-known - i.e. worth seeing! - old un's are already in those. It could be a useful Christmas present though and for utter film buffs, yes, probably indispensable. Shop around, as ever.