Why are films by Sergei Eisenstein, Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa or Stanley Kubrick works of art? What elements of style and film technique are involved? What is vital to their personal vision?
Here is everything you need to know about feature cinema: the films which have withstood the test of time and are well worth watching today, although many have been unjustly neglected.
These are books for film buffs (or for the simply curious) as well as a reliable reference work for students taking film and media courses. The first volume chronologically discusses 410 films from all over the world made in 1913-1950 and the second volume 451 films made in 1951-1963, giving the most correct credits to be found anywhere (superior to any single Internet database or printed source) preserving the diacritical signs in every language and giving correct running times. There is a synopsis of the most important events in cinema history and extensive footnotes explaining various terms as well as giving information about people and historical events mentioned in the text. No previous expertise is assumed and the information should be equally accessable to people without an extensive background in European, Asian or American culture. The individual essays always set each film in its historical context, outlining contemporary trends and styles in literature and the visual arts. This is a work of original film criticism, as well as a reference source. When read in order, the essays amount to an account of the development of individual directors, movements and indeed cinema history itself.