Monday, 6 October 2008

Have You Seen...?

Have You Seen...?
Have You Seen...?: A Personal Introduction To 1,000 Films, by David Thomson, is an alphabetical guide to "a thousand fiction films, going back to 1895 and ranging across the world - the landmarks are here, the problem films, a few guilty pleasures, a few forlorn sacred cows, some surprises, a thousand for you to see". The most surprising thing about the book is that I don't hate it.

Thomson's Biographical Dictionary Of Film is routinely described as the greatest film book ever written, but personally I can't stand it; and I often find Thomson's newspaper articles infuriating. Have You Seen...? is much more satisfying, though: the layout is clean and simple, with one page per film; the selection of titles is inclusive and diverse; and the reviews are fair, with Thomson acknowledging the merits of even the films he doesn't like. (Thomson previously contributed to Film: The Critics' Choice, a selection of 150 classic films.)

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