A bland account of a pulsating time in film history.
At a London cinema in 1958, Cowie watched Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. The film stunned Cowie and shaped his career: as a journalist and the author of several books on film (Coppola, 1990, etc.), he went on to cover the “New Wave” of filmmakers who made going to the movies more adventuresome than ever before or since. It was a turbulent, exciting time—Cowie himself feared he might not be able to get out of Cannes when protestors rioted there at the 1968 festival. But he never captures the fervor of the period. In sweeping arcs, he moves from country to country—from Italy to France to Eastern Europe, Great Britain, and the US—as he surveys the films and directors whose work defines the period: Antonioni, Truffaut, Polanski, Godard, and many other auteurs. But as the innovative films of this time used the jump-cut to move without transition from one scene to another, Cowie also jumps from one director, one film, one country to another, often without making the kinds of connections that would give cohesion to his work. He offers, for example, interesting primary material (transcripts of his interviews with the period’s major filmmakers) but merely drops their remarks into the text verbatim, adding little comment. He covers many significant films, but often too briefly—he terms Deliverance a “masterpiece,” but devotes only a half-sentence to it. Anyone who has never seen the film, or the several others he glosses over, will not comprehend their influence. And his pedestrian prose fails to mirror the revolutionary style of the times. Hollywood exerts its “siren call,” movements begin “with a vengeance,” and Pier Paolo Pasolini lives “at the cutting edge of scandal.”
More a notebook than a vital history. (62 b&w illustrations)
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").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)