IN THE DARK: A Primer for Movies by Richard Meran Barsam

IN THE DARK: A Primer for Movies

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Designed ""to introduce you to the art of the movies and to give you some background for discussion and criticism,"" Barsam's survey is divided into three sections--a history, a review of the various specialists who collaborate in the production of a film, and an introduction to criticism which catalogs different types of non-fiction (documentary, propaganda, etc.) and fiction (disaster, musical, . . .) films and then takes a closer look at one of each--Flaherty's Louisiana Story and Ford's Grapes of Wrath--in order to show the ""artistry"" that went into them. It's a more ambitious outline that Schoen's similar Silents to Sounds (1976), but, like most such YA introductions, it goes in for pat pronouncements without stimulating thought or interest. (""A Capra film is sincere, honest, and usually very entertaining, but unlike a John Ford film it lacks a timeless moral focus""; ""[Antonioni's] is an unpleasant vision but one that is intellectually stimulating and made very appealing through his engrossing use of color photography."") Barsam's likely readers will resent being thus led by the hand, and it's too bad that legitimizing the movies for school study has to clear the way for primers that make them as dull as any other subject.

Pub Date: May 9th, 1977
Publisher: Viking