5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A book for the video shelf,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Encyclopedia of British Film (Methuen Film) (Paperback)
A very useful book, and a good first point of call for anybody interested in British cinema, past and present. Melbourne based editor Brian McFarlane and his expert contributors(over a hundred) have rolled aside the stone guarding the entrance to a long-sealed cave containing much of the treasure house of British cinema, and have shone their torches into the darkness to illuminate, following their own enthusiasms. The book benefits greatly from not being written by one author, as each contributor shares their enthusiasms with the reader - some of the essays are far from bland, and contributors are not afraid to give an opinion, or vent their prejudices (see the Jean Carson article for an example). Approximately a quarter of the book has thematic essays on film genres as well as other topics (child actors, black and gay representation, newreels, film studios, exhibition etc. etc.) which are very useful, especially for students looking for research topics in British cinema. The major figures are well (and generally accurately)covered, with filmographies, complete for major figures only, and selected filmographies for the rest, but details readily available on the IMDB). Ssome articles, such as those on Herbert Wilcox and Eric Portman stand as models of their kind. But the main problem with this booklies in the numerous articles of hundreds of lesser figures (which, although it is claimed all have benn read by several vetters) still manage to contain quite a few errors (Cilla Black featured in 'Alfie', Anton Walbrook starring with Ethel Merman in 'Call Me Madam'- he niether did this with Merman on stage or film), and several biographies of actors are missing from their BIBLIOG entries ((Sid James, Joan Sims, Kay Kendall, Anthony Newley...). My recommendation would be to wait for a second edition ! And where is Rolf Harris ?