Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The Great Films: Fifty Golden Years of Motion Pictures by Bosley Crowther

I was talking with a friend recently about film books that had been instrumental in our early interest in the subject. One that we both brought up was Bosley Crowther's "The Great Films: Fifty Golden Years of Motion Pictures". Especially pre-Internet, but even still today, books like this were a great guide to important films for a budding movie buff to check out, illustrated with a generous selection of tantalizing stills from the films that were being described. I must have borrowed this one from the public library dozens of times.

This particular book is interesting for the 50 films that Crowther singles out as the greatest. My friend and I both agreed that, while there would probably be some changes to the list if it were written today, overall these selections still hold up well. It's also an interesting reflection of some films and filmmakers were highly regarded at the time but have since largely vanished from the critical consciousness (such as Flaherty). With all the debate over a "canon" in film studies, Crowther's book is still a good starting point for novice film buffs to begin exploring further on their own.

Incidentally, I did make it a point to see all 50 films in the book -- some of which I only caught up with in the past few years, such as Clement's FORBIDDEN GAMES.

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