Books by David Thomson

THE BIG SCREEN by David Thomson
Released: Oct. 16, 2012

"A profound and richly satisfying reckoning with the movies and what they mean."
Thomson (The Moment of Psycho: How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America to Love Murder, 2009, etc.) brings his encyclopedic knowledge of film and idiosyncratic, allusive style to bear on this ambitious consideration of the history of motion pictures and their effect on the audience. Read full book review >
BETTE DAVIS by David Thomson
Released: Jan. 12, 2010

"Indispensable additions to any American film library."
The stars shine bright in this series of brief biographies of four of classic Hollywood's most enduring icons. Read full book review >
TRY TO TELL THE STORY by David Thomson
Released: Feb. 4, 2009

"Blends the techniques of film and fiction into a strong, evocative memoir."
Literate film buff Thomson (The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood, 2004, etc.) recalls his early days. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 10, 2004

"Disappointing, except for some flashes in selected short subjects. (Photos)"
A diffuse, uneven take on the American movie experience, rather surprising from the author of the cogent appraisals of US films and filmmakers in The New Biographical Dictionary of Film (2002). Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

"Compelling, clear-eyed examination of Scott's actions and larger notions of what makes a hero."
Better known today for his books of film biography, history, and criticism (Rosebud, 1996, etc.), Thomson initially came to attention in his native Britain with this vivid 1977 analysis of the great race to the South Pole and the character of the men who led the efforts. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 8, 1999

An idiosyncratic road trip into the American outback. Read full book review >

Released: Oct. 12, 1997

A poorly essayed collection of essays and flights of fancy on film and more. Noted film critic Thomson (Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles, 1996, etc.) seems to have fallen victim to one of the occupational hazards of his profession: Apparently discontented with his lot, he has taken a lunge at creativity with this wildly uneven and unrelated gathering of pieces, many previously published in magazines such as Movieline and Film Comment.There's a labored fantasia on ``James Dean at 50,'' imagining the rebel without a cause in middle age. Read full book review >

ROSEBUD by David Thomson
Released: June 2, 1996

Eccentric biography of an even more eccentric genius. Following scores of biographies and critical analyses on legendary filmmaker Orson Welles (Citizen Kane, etc.) with yet another life story must have been a daunting task, even for so clever and prolific a film historian as Thomson (Showman: The Life of David O. Selznick, 1992, etc.). Read full book review >

SHOWMAN by David Thomson
Released: Nov. 9, 1992

Brilliant, immense life of the producer of Gone With the Wind, smartly done by film-historian/novelist Thomson (Silver Light, 1990, etc.). Thomson has done stunning research for this labor, and interviewed everyone of importance regarding David O. Selznick (1902-65), aside from Jennifer Jones, Selznick's second and last wife, who clammed up. Read full book review >

VISUAL MAGIC by David Thomson
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

"A dandy introduction to the concept of perception. (Nonfiction. 9-12)


An intriguing compilation of optical illusions: images that sort themselves out when studied or that can be read more than one way; op art; an Escher; pictures that gain a third dimension when viewed through the special glasses provided, etc. Several of these have appeared elsewhere, but it's instructive to have them together in this handy eight-inch square book—especially with Thomson's brief but lucid explanations of what is happening when the eye and mind try to decipher images that are designed to confuse them. Read full book review >