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BethR

David Thomson and '1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die'

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The other day this book was in the monthly e-mail I receive from A Common Reader, a book catalog which is almost as fun to read as the books they recommend:

> From: A Common Reader

>

> Dear Reader,

>

> After I lost the moviegoing habit, whole years of new films passed me

> right by, while older masterpieces I'd sworn to see remained unviewed.

> Subsequently, when VHS tapes became widespread, I thought I'd catch up,

> but somehow I just never took to the boxy things -- can't really say

> why. Here, though, is the good news: in the past six months I've grown

> to like DVDs so much that movies are becoming a part of my life again.

> Which movies? Well, I frankly wouldn't have known where to start, had I

> not chanced on "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die." Despite its

> over-dramatic title, this huge, lavishly illustrated guide to world

> cinema through 2002 is easily the smartest, best written sourcebook of

> its kind that I know. As I browse, the stills -- there are a gazillion

> -- catch my eye, I read the accompanying mini-essays, and instantly

> several more not-to-be-missed flicks have made my list. Which is why I'm

> calling this one the must-read for must-sees.

>

> "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

> http://www.commonreader.com/pr013725/0406BW

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Oh come on!? I've seen many of the Sight & Sound 100. I'm really behind on the Promontory 323 (so far). Now 1001?

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If it's any comfort, probably many of the 1001 are the same as those you've already seen?

But I'm afraid to read the book myself! smile.gif

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I saw this book yesterday at the local book store. It's as nice as the description on the website BethR pointed out.

But yeah, 1001? I've maybe seen that many movies in my life.

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Thanks for the plug, Christian. It is a very good book, both for its scope and writing, and would make an excellent viewing guide to take to the video store. I have no desire to count the number of films I've seen (particularly since the index alphabetizes original titles and their english equivalents), but flipping through, I'd wager I've seen all but about 25 of them. Now I can die a happy man. wink.gif

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Just picked up a copy of this from the library (I was first in the "hold" queue), but it feels futile already to try to get through the tome in 3 weeks. I was a little discouraged to stumble over two typos in the introduction, but that won't stop me.

I'm not sure how I'll tackle it. I guess the lesson learned is: Don't check it out of the library; buy it instead.

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There's no problem, really -- I calculated that if you don't sleep for the next 3 weeks, you can make it through 252 films. Then, renew the book 3 more times, and mission accomplished!

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I just went through the New Yourk Times 1000 and I have seen 184 of them.

I'd only seen 179 of them....these lists make me feel so inadequate. So many movies, so little time! Maybe if I could get them to stop making new movies for about 3 years, I could catch up on all the old ones I need to see. smile.gif

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This may be worth a new thread, but The Washington Monthly has a fun post linking to a site (that I can't pull up; may be related to some weather issues affecting my connection) covering Movies To AVOID Watching Before You Die.

The comments feature some worthy titles, and several spirited defenses of Starship Troopers.

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This may be worth a new thread, but The Washington Monthly has a fun post linking to a site (that I can't pull up; may be related to some weather issues affecting my connection) covering Movies To AVOID Watching Before You Die.

The comments feature some worthy titles, and several spirited defenses of Starship Troopers.

I hope they included Lady in the Water...

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I just picked up a "revised edition" of the hardback, which I saw at the library. But I think it's the same book that came out a few years ago.

In looking at Amazon, I see that a fully updated version is scheduled to be released:

Among their new additions are The Queen, The Lives of Others, Brokeback Mountain, and several more recent movies that have attracted worldwide attention.

So did they eliminate other titles to make room for the newbies? The capsule description doesn't say.

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David Thomson has released Have You Seen?, his essays on a 1,000 "must-see films," according to the description at the linked page. I wonder how many of Thomson's 1,000 films match the 1,001 "must see" films in the book under discussion in this thread.

I'm going to add this one to my birthday/Christmas list, although that horribly ugly Thomson book cover gives me some pause. :) I greatly enjoy Thomson's The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, which I'm very surprised to find we don't have a discussion of here. Could've sworn we did.

Edited by Christian

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David Thomson has released Have You Seen?, his essays on a 1,000 "must-see films," according to the description at the linked page. I wonder how many of Thomson's 1,000 films match the 1,001 "must see" films in the book under discussion in this thread.

I'm going to add this one to my birthday/Christmas list, although that horribly ugly Thomson book cover gives me some pause. :) I greatly enjoy Thomson's The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, which I'm very surprised to find we don't have a discussion of here. Could've sworn we did.

One more Thomson digression: His new tome is reviewed at The Atlantic (HT: Ross Douthat):

Thomson has never been backward-looking

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Got it! 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, that is -- not the David Thomson book. Not yet.

The titles added since the first edition are good ones, with that glaring exception of Apocalypto, but I yield to the critical debate over that title and recognize that at least some critics find it a must-see. There was one title among the newbies I'd never heard of, so that's ... something. Something good, I think. Oh, and the dust jacket references two film titles that are nowhere to be found among the additions. I'm wondering if the jacket used European titles, and the actual entries used the U.S. titles. As is, it looks like a glaring error.

I don't have the volume in front of me, so I can't comment further at this time.

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Tag-teaming back once more to Thomson's book, here's the New York Times review:(HT: MCN)

Thomson likes a good argument, and makes one well, but in this book, at least, he

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<i>The New Biographical Dictionary of Film</i></a>, which I'm very surprised to find we don't have a discussion of here.

Thomson's Biographical Dictionary of Film has been selected by 51 film critics as the best book about film. Take a look at the top 5 choices: Thomson, Bresson, Sarris, Truffaut/Hitchcock, Bazin. What a list!

Edited by Christian

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First, I've changed the topic title of this thread to capture the Thomson discussion, which I'll now add to by revealing what I discovered last night at Borders:

Thomson's Biographical Dictionary of Film is now out in a fifth edition! In the introduction, Thomson says this might be the final edition of the book, owing to changes in how movies are distributed, or something like that. I had thought he might cite his age, or maybe his health, but he didn't, which leads me to believe he's still spry and planning to publish more books of some kind in the future.

Also, returning from the bookstore, I thought the new edition of Thomson's book might spur a new post in my neglected blog. I'd draw from the fourth edition, which I own, and maybe point to the few distinguishing features I knew about in the new edition. But then I read the Slant piece and thought, What could I possibly add? And that explains why I blog so infrequently. Others say it much better, well before I can digest and process my own thoughts on whatever blog-worthy subject I might come up with.

Edited by Christian

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