Bordwell is not well known outside academic film circles, but he should be; perhaps this volume will give him the exposure...

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PLANET HONG KONG

POPULAR CINEMA AND THE ART OF ENTERTAINMENT

One of our most inventive film scholars, Bordwell (Film Studies/Univ. of Wisconsin) takes on one of the most overthetop cinemas.

For 20 years, the Hong Kong film industry was one of the world's most commercially successful and prolific. Recently Western critics have begun to recognize it as possessing a level of creativity almost equal to its financial success—despite its deep roots in genre traditions aimed at a mass audience. Bordwell examines how these elements interact in Hong Kong films to produce an art that is at the same time both popular and significant. He outlines the history, economics, and production techniques of the Hong Kong studios, particularly focussing on the genres that are most closely associated with their success (the kungfu film, the swordplay epic, the gangster film, and the urban comedy). These historical chapters alternate with analyses of specific directors, with particular attention paid not only to such wellknown filmmakers as John Woo and Wong KarWai but also to some figures worthy of greater attention in the West (such as King Hu). Bordwell is clearly enchanted by the sheer physicality of Hong Kong film: its remarkable ability to convey ``filmic emotion at its most sheerly physical'' through a combination of razorsharp editing styles, incredibly precise staging of action sequences, and the sheer virtuosity of performers like Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. By rooting his analyses detailed readings of the film texts, he is able to convey—as much as mere words can—how this audaciously visceral cinema works. Ironically, Bordwell's decision to join the growing throng of authors with books on Hong Kong film comes at a time when the handover of the former British colony to the China, coupled with the economic shakeouts in East Asia, may well have doomed the island's film industry.

Bordwell is not well known outside academic film circles, but he should be; perhaps this volume will give him the exposure he deserves.

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-674-00213-X

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2000

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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

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