America’s most trusted and best-known film critic Roger Ebert presents one hundred brilliant essays on some of the best movies ever made.
Roger Ebert, the famed film writer and critic, wrote biweekly essays for a feature called "The Great Movies," in which he offered a fresh and fervent appreciation of a great film. The Great Movies collects one hundred of these essays, each one of them a gem of critical appreciation and an amalgam of love, analysis, and history that will send readers back to that film with a fresh set of eyes and renewed enthusiasm–or perhaps to an avid first-time viewing.
Ebert’s selections range widely across genres, periods, and nationalities, and from the highest achievements in film art to justly beloved and wildly successful popular entertainments. Roger Ebert manages in these essays to combine a truly populist appreciation for our most important form of popular art with a scholar’s erudition and depth of knowledge and a sure aesthetic sense. Wonderfully enhanced by stills selected by Mary Corliss, the film curator at the Museum of Modern Art, The Great Movies is a treasure trove for film lovers of all persuasions, an unrivaled guide for viewers, and a book to return to again and again.
The Great Movies includes: All About Eve • Bonnie and Clyde • Casablanca • Citizen Kane • The Godfather • Jaws • La Dolce Vita • Metropolis • On the Waterfront • Psycho • The Seventh Seal • Sweet Smell of Success • Taxi Driver • The Third Man • The Wizard of Oz • and eighty-five more films.
Critic Ebert presents here his own take on 10o of what he calls the "great" movies, illuminating not only why these films are classics but, more importantly, why viewers (himself included) respond to them as such. These short, smart, witty, critical essays first appeared in his biweekly syndicated column "The Great Movies." This collection includes the usual suspects von Stroheim's Greed, Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin but also quirky surprises, such as Sirk's 1950s melodrama Written on the Wind and Disney's Pinocchio. Ebert is great when fleshing out the cultural context in which a film opened Richard Lester's 1964 A Hard Day's Night was a total surprise to critics who expected just another rock 'n' roll movie but were electrified by Lester's freewheeling, dazzlingly edited work, which influenced all future British cinema and carefully maps out historical and social contexts for all of the films. He addresses how Depression audiences related to Gone with the Wind's Scarlett O'Hara as a self-determined woman in the tradition of Mae West and Louise Brooks, and points out how Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing revealed the racism of many white critics. He writes perceptively about how a great film such as Charles Laughton's only directorial effort, The Night of the Hunter, escapes notice because it lacks the "proper trappings" of a clearly defined genre, or how Hitchcock's television work shaped his vision for Psycho. Perhaps the most telling, and charming, of Ebert's talents is his modesty and understanding of the egalitarian appeal of the movies, and his admission that his views, while more informed, are no more valid than the average moviegoers.