AUTHORSHIP AND NARRATIVE IN THE CINEMA by William & Peter Lehman Luhr

AUTHORSHIP AND NARRATIVE IN THE CINEMA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This pretentious, pompous, didactic book purports to tell film critics what they are doing wrong. Its structure and contents baffle at first glance, but all becomes clear upon reading the authors' prefatory note, in which we learn that the book ""springs from"" research done for their individual Ph.D. dissertations. It is divided into three parts, i.e., one dissertation, the other dissertation, and ""conclusions."" The first part, ""Authorship,"" compares two films by John Ford, concluding that they are so different as to make comparison ""virtually meaningless."" By showing this they hope to ""prevent many unfounded generalities."" The second part, ""Narrative,"" examines several films based on Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, comparing them first to the book and then to each other, in order to show ""the extent of the differences involved."" The conclusion they draw from all this? That film critics should focus on the ""formal coordinates"" of a film and not on ""peripheral trivialities,"" such as acting, story line, or social and political implications. For this they give doctorates?

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1976
Publisher: Putnam