ANATOMY OF FILM by Bernard F. Dick


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For the more than casual aficionado, a spotty cinema knowledge--on facets ranging from the voice-over to semiotic film criticism--is not a dangerous thing. So postulates English professor Bernard F. Dick, whose ""anatomy""--albeit mostly epidermal--discovers, among other things, editing, style, plot, subtext, several schools of criticism, and a modicum of history. Making no pretense to the originality of Atnheim or the scope of James Monaco's How to Read a Film (1977), Dick's is an intelligent and cursory study, best when alluding to film's mythic and literary dimensions, least satisfying when attempting to throw light on the evolution of the movies. Wisely, Dick utilizes very contemporary ""art"" films like Nashville and readily accessible classics to demonstrate a structure, like the movie sequence; a technique--such as ""music for characterization""; or a ""total film experience,"" defined in an astute analysis of Antonioni's The Passenger. To point out the strengths and weaknesses of the French ""auteur"" theory of filmmaking, Dick insinuates his own interview with Billy Wilder; and while Dick's discussion of narrative thrust and the various movie genres is sketchy, the techniques of editing, sound, lighting, etc., are described with clarity. More thoughtful than a ""how-to,"" narrower and more readable than most texts, this is a mÉlange of cinema facts and concepts, well-organized, informative, limited.

Pub Date: May 4th, 1978
ISBN: 0312487118
Publisher: St. Martin's