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Customer Review

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too divergent but excellent when focusing on individual directors., 6 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies and What They Did to Us (Paperback)
I'm always enthusiastic when David Thomson brings out a new book, he is the indispensible film writer of our time. So i'm saddened to say that the first 140 pages of The Big Screen were actually a little boring. Maybe the wierd feel of the outer cover of the paperback was a warning?
The problem for me was that he was describing a general history of the movies and unfortunately it wasnt adding anything new. Most of it has been covered before, many times, in other books and also in DT's own Biographical Dictionary - except it's now organised into chronological order, which is useful but not indispensible.
For me, the first time that the book comes to life is with the Renoir chapter. It's a detailed analysis full of depth and insights that only he seems able to give us. I was equally enthralled by the the chapters on Syberberg, Reagan, Orson Welles, Speilberg and Lucas. These sections of the book reminded me why i was reading.
But then i remembered the premise of the book - 'The story of what the movies did to us' - and i wondered why, after the introduction, doesn't he touch on it again until the last few chapters and then fails to elaborate on his initial thesis.
So, i'm left wondering why he has written this book? It's too small for a comprehensive history of the movies, though it does cover directors that other books neglect. He has written other books that are devoted to individual directors (The Biographical Dictionary of Film) and individual films (Have you Seen). It's too divergent for an exploration of what the movies did to us, and those ideas have been better explained in his articles for The Independent, The Guardian and The New Republic over the last 15 years, if like me you have read every single one of them! So, apart from the pleasure gained from reading Thomson's writing, what was the point of writing this book?
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Apr 2014 18:51:58 BDT
Shane Hyde says:
As the writer of this review, i tried to be completely honest. Yet I noticed today that several people didn't like my review. Maybe they could let me know why they didn't find it useful?
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