Search-icon

The New Biographical Dictionary of Film

Fifth Edition, Completely Updated and Expanded

By

Hardcover published by Knopf (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

10 Ratings. What's Yours?
Histogram_reset_icon
(1 REVIEW)
ADD TO MY SHELF
About This Book
David Thomson’s New Biographical Dictionary of Film topped Sight & Sound magazine’s 2010 poll of international critics and writers as the best film book of all time.

Now in its fifth edition, updated, and with more than 130 new entries—from Judd Apatow to Lena Horne—the classic, beloved film book is better than ever.

For thirty-five years, David Thomson’s Biographical Dictionary of Film has been “fiendishly seductive” (Greil Marcus, Rolling Stone), “the finest reference book ever written about movies” (Graham Fuller, Interview), and “not only an indispensable book about cinema, but one of the most absurdly ambitious literary achievements of our time” (Geoff Dyer, The Guardian). For this edition, Thomson has brought up to date and in some case recast the biographies, and has added new ones (Clive Owen, Scarlett Johansson, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Marion Cotillard, for example). The book now includes almost 1,500 entries, some of them just a pungent paragraph, some of them several thousand words long, every one a gem.

Here is a great, rare book that encompasses the chaos of art, entertainment, money, vulgarity, and nonsense that we call the movies. Personal, opinionated, funny, daring, provocative, and passionate, it is the one book that every filmmaker and film buff must own, from the man David Hare called “the most stimulating and thoughtful film critic now writing.”
Show less
David Thomson’s New Biographical Dictionary of Film topped Sight & Sound magazine’s 2010 poll of international critics and writers as the best film book of all time.

Now in its fifth edition, updated, and with more than 130 new entries—from Judd Apatow to Lena Horne—the classic, beloved film book is better than ever.

For thirty-five years, David Thomson’s Biographical Dictionary of Film has been “fiendishly seductive” (Greil Marcus, Rolling Stone), “the finest reference book ever written about movies” (Graham Fuller, Interview), and “not only an indispensable book about cinema, but one of the most absurdly ambitious literary achievements of our time” (Geoff Dyer, The Guardian). For this edition, Thomson has brought up to date and in some case recast the biographies, and has added new ones (Clive Owen, Scarlett Johansson, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Marion Cotillard, for example). The book now includes almost 1,500 entries, some of them just a pungent paragraph, some of them several thousand words long, every one a gem.

Here is a great, rare book that encompasses the chaos of art, entertainment, money, vulgarity, and nonsense that we call the movies. Personal, opinionated, funny, daring, provocative, and passionate, it is the one book that every filmmaker and film buff must own, from the man David Hare called “the most stimulating and thoughtful film critic now writing.”
Product Details
Hardcover (1088 pages)
Published: October 26, 2010
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Knopf
ISBN: 9780307271747
Other books byDavid Thomson
  • Handy Book of Fruit Culture under Glass

    Handy Book of Fruit Culture under Glass
    David Thomson's concise handbook explains how to grow fruit in greenhouses.

    The New Biographical Dictionary of Film

    The New Biographical Dictionary of Film
    Sixth Edition
    With more than 100 new entries, from Amy Adams, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Cary Joji Fukunaga to Joaquin Phoenix, Mia Wasikowska, and Robin Wright, and completely updated,  here from David Thomson—“The greatest living writer on the movies” (John Banville, New Statesman); “Our most argumentative and trustworthy historian of the screen” (Michael Ondaatje)—is the latest edition of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, which topped Sight & Sound’s poll of international critics and writers as THE BEST FILM BOOK EVER WRITTEN. 3/7

    The Moment of Psycho

    The Moment of Psycho
    How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America to Love Murder
    It was made like a television movie, and completed in less than three months. It killed off its star in forty minutes. There was no happy ending. And it offered the most violent scene to date in American film, punctuated by shrieking strings that seared the national consciousness. Nothing like Psycho had existed before; the movie industry—even America itself—would never be the same. In The Moment of Psycho, film critic David Thomson situates Psycho in Alfred Hitchcock’s career, recreating the mood and time when the seminal film erupted onto film screens worldwide. Thomson shows that Psycho was not just a sensation in film: it altered the very nature of our desires. Sex, violence, and horror took on new life. Psycho, all of a sudden, represented all America wanted from a film—and, as Thomson brilliantly demonstrates, still does.

    Suspects

    Suspects
    Noah Cross, Norma Desmond, Norman Bates, Harry Lime—these are a few of nearly 100 names that inhabit the mind of the narrator as he starts to compose short biographies of some of the most famous characters in the history of film noir. He sketches in whole lives, lives as intense as the dreams put up on the screen. The book begins to become a novel when the characters start to meet each other outside their respective films—as if they were real people with needs and passions. The names and faces are familiar to us—Jake Gittes from Chinatown, Laura Hunt and Waldo Lydecker from Laura, Rick and Ilsa from Casablanca—but is it true that Noah Cross and Norma Desmond were lovers in the 1920s, that she and Joe Gillis had a son who grew up to be Julian Kay in American Gigolo? The narrator is not merely the author, he has a mission to carry out—a lost family link to find, a thread to pull so that nearly all these disparate characters come together to form a kind of society. Ultimately this examination on how movies affect audiences—not only shaping perceptions and memories, but in some ways coming to stand in for them—can also be read as an unsettling examination of identity and the construction of self through the medium of narratives; or simply as a fascinating take on movie fandom.

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
Quote Cannot be Empty

Submitted quotes are usually posted within 48 hours

ThanksYour Quote Will be posted Shortly
Bookish