A cogent, approachable and comprehensive look at the endlessly fascinating world of French film.


Drazin (Film Studies/Queen Mary Univ., London; The Man Who Outshone the Sun King: A Life of Gleaming Opulence and Wretched Reversal in the Reign of Louis XIV, 2008, etc.) presents a lucid, engaging history of French film, from the fanciful, whimsical inventions of pioneer Georges Méliès to the formalist daring and intellectual rigor of contemporary artists like Olivier Assayas and Catherine Breillat.

The author credits Thomas Edison with actually inventing the mechanism that makes pictures move, but early French filmmakers such as Méliès and the Lumière brothers were the first to realize the narrative and artistic possibilities of the new medium, and French directors have long represented the vanguard of cinema, insisting on a personal, individual approach to the art that has had an incalculable influence on “the movies.” Drazin charts the economic and social conditions that nurtured French film, providing fascinating insights into the pragmatic methods of the Pathé studio, the shift to more escapist, “Hollywood” style films that characterized the Nazi occupation, the rise of film culture supported by magazines like Cahiers du cinéma and the attendant New Wave spearheaded by directors including François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, and the vital but often uneasy relationship between French and American cinema. Drazin’s account is endlessly readable, alternating penetrating analysis of classics like Jean Renoir’s La Règle du Jeu with serious appraisals of less well-known figures like Julien Duvivier and Agnès Varda. Readers are advised to keep pen and paper at hand to note interesting titles for further exploration.

A cogent, approachable and comprehensive look at the endlessly fascinating world of French film.

Pub Date: June 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-571-21173-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Faber & Faber/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?



Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

Did you like this book?