From America’s most trusted and best-known film critic, one hundred brilliant essays on the films that define for him cinematic greatness.
For the past five years Roger Ebert, the famed film writer and critic, has been writing biweekly essays for a feature called “The Great Movies,” in which he offers 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, 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.
From the Hardcover edition.If Pauline Kael popularized “movie love,” Roger Ebert is the eloquent Valentino of cinephiles. This invaluable volume gathers 100 of the Pulitzer winner’s mini-essays composed since 1997, revised and updated, to form a love letter that could only spring from decades of devotion. A feat of superlative analysis, historical reflection, personal diary, and journalistic odyssey, The Great Movies combines an accessible style with an academic’s precision. Accompanied by photos perfectly chosen by Museum of Modern Art film stills archivist Mary Corliss, the 100 films are irrefutably worthy of inclusion, allowing room for debate (John Ford’s My Darling Clementine is in, The Searchers is not–arguably a wise decision) while placing each film into its own undeniable context of superiority. Admirably, Ebert recognizes that no critic writes in a vacuum; he dedicates the book to eight master critics hailed as “teachers,” quotes many of his contemporaries, and carries on the debate with Kael’s lingering spirit (Ebert counters her on Body Heat, praises her on Nashville). His appreciation of E.T. is written as a letter to beloved children in his life, and the entire book breathes with an awareness of legacy–the cinema’s and Ebert’s own–that underlies the sobering theme of his introduction. We need these movies (and this book) to remind us that movies can be so much better than they typically are. –Jeff Shannon
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