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Ian Wright

Roger Ebert's Book of Film: From Tolstoy to Tarantino, the Finest Writing From a Century of Film - Free PDF Download


Roger Ebert's Book of Film: A Treasure Trove for Film Lovers




If you are a fan of movies, chances are you have heard of Roger Ebert, the legendary film critic and columnist who wrote for The Chicago Sun-Times for over four decades. Ebert was not only a prolific reviewer of contemporary films, but also a passionate advocate and educator of film history and culture. In 1996, he published Roger Ebert's Book of Film: From Tolstoy to Tarantino, the Finest Writing From a Century of Film, a lavish and entertaining anthology of writings on film from various sources and perspectives. In this article, we will explore what makes this book a must-read for anyone who loves cinema.




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The scope and diversity of the book




One of the most impressive features of Roger Ebert's Book of Film is its breadth and variety. The book contains over 100 selections that touch on every aspect of filmmaking and filmgoing, from the artistic to the technical, from the personal to the social, from the classic to the modern.


The genres and periods of film covered by the book




The book covers a wide range of genres and periods of film, from silent comedies to musicals, from westerns to sci-fi, from noir to horror, from documentaries to animation. The book also spans the history of cinema, from its origins in the late 19th century to its developments in the late 20th century. The book includes writings on films that Ebert considered particularly well-made, important, or influential, such as Citizen Kane, Vertigo, The Godfather, Jaws, La Dolce Vita, Metropolis, On the Waterfront, Psycho, The Seventh Seal, Sweet Smell of Success, Taxi Driver, The Third Man, The Wizard of Oz , and many more.


The authors and sources of the film writings




The book also showcases a diverse array of authors and sources of film writings, from novelists to critics, from directors to actors, from producers to stuntmen. The book features excerpts from novels that have indelibly captured the experience of moviegoing in our lives (such as Walker Percy's The Moviegoer and James Agee's A Death in the Family) and the culture of the movie business (such as F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon and Nathanael West's The Day of the Locust). The book also features essays by famous writers who have expressed their admiration or analysis of films (such as Leo Tolstoy on King Lear, Virginia Woolf on The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, George Orwell on Chaplin, Truman Capote on Marilyn Monroe, Joan Didion on John Wayne, Tom Wolfe on Cary Grant, Susan Sontag on Godard, etc.). The book also features interviews with or memoirs by filmmakers who have shared their insights or anecdotes on their craft (such as John Houseman on Orson Welles, Kenneth Tynan on Mel Brooks, John Huston on himself, Alfred Hitchcock on suspense, Federico Fellini on dreams, etc.). The book also features articles by critics and theorists who have offered their perspectives or frameworks on film (such as Pauline Kael on trash, Graham Greene on thrillers, Andrew Sarris on auteur theory, etc.).


The insights and opinions of Roger Ebert




Another remarkable feature of Roger Ebert's Book of Film is the presence and voice of Roger Ebert himself. Ebert not only compiled and edited the book, but also wrote an introduction for each selection, providing some background information, context, and commentary. Ebert also expressed his own views and critiques on film throughout the book, revealing his tastes, preferences, and judgments.


How Ebert selected and introduced the writings




Ebert selected the writings based on his own criteria and interests, rather than following a strict chronological or thematic order. He wrote in his preface: \"I have tried to include selections that are interesting in themselves, that illuminate some aspect of film, that represent a point of view, that are well written. I have not tried to be comprehensive or definitive; this is not a textbook, but a personal anthology\". Ebert also introduced each selection with a brief but informative paragraph, explaining why he chose it, what it is about, who wrote it, and how it relates to film. He also added some trivia, anecdotes, or opinions to spice up the introductions. For example, he introduced Tolstoy's essay on King Lear with this remark: \"Tolstoy hated Shakespeare. He thought he was vulgar, sensational, cheap, and obvious. He was especially offended by King Lear, which he considered a ridiculous melodrama. Here is his essay explaining why\".


How Ebert expressed his own views and critiques on film




Ebert also expressed his own views and critiques on film throughout the book, sometimes agreeing or disagreeing with the authors of the selections, sometimes adding his own insights or observations, sometimes revealing his personal favorites or dislikes. For example, he agreed with Pauline Kael's defense of trashy movies: \"I share her conviction that movies are often most alive when they're vulgar\". He disagreed with George Orwell's dismissal of Chaplin: \"I think Orwell is wrong about Chaplin. Chaplin was not only a great comedian, but a great artist, who used comedy to express his vision of the human condition\". He added his own insight on Hitchcock's use of suspense: \"Hitchcock was a master of suspense, but also of irony. He often made us identify with the villain, or sympathize with the victim, or laugh at the horror\". He revealed his personal favorite film: \"If I had to choose one film to take to a desert island, it would be Citizen Kane. It is not only a great film, but a film about filmmaking\". He also revealed his personal dislike of musicals: \"I have a confession to make: I don't like musicals. I find them artificial and boring. I prefer movies that tell stories with words and images, not songs and dances\".


The benefits and challenges of reading the book




Finally, Roger Ebert's Book of Film is a book that can offer many benefits and challenges to its readers. The book can enrich one's appreciation and understanding of film, inspire one to watch more films and read more film literature, but also overwhelm or frustrate some readers.


How the book can enrich one's appreciation and understanding of film




The book can enrich one's appreciation and understanding of film by exposing one to a variety of films, genres, periods, styles, techniques, themes, and messages. The book can also introduce one to different ways of looking at and thinking about film, from different angles and perspectives. The book can also provide one with valuable information, context, and commentary on film history and culture. The book can also stimulate one's curiosity and imagination about film as an art form and a medium of expression.


How the book can inspire one to watch more films and read more film literature




How the book can be overwhelming or outdated for some readers




However, Roger Ebert's Book of Film is not a perfect book, and it may pose some challenges or difficulties for some readers. The book can be overwhelming in its size and scope, as it contains over 800 pages of dense and diverse texts. The book can also be outdated in some aspects, as it was published in 1996 and does not reflect the latest developments or trends in film. The book may also contain some errors or omissions, as Ebert himself admitted in his preface: \"I have undoubtedly made mistakes, and I apologize for them\". The book may also reflect some biases or preferences of Ebert that may not match those of other readers. For example, some readers may find Ebert's dislike of musicals or his admiration of Citizen Kane unreasonable or unfounded.


Conclusion




In conclusion, Roger Ebert's Book of Film is a treasure trove for film lovers, as it offers a rich and varied collection of writings on film from different sources and perspectives. The book also showcases the insights and opinions of Roger Ebert, one of the most influential and respected film critics of all time. The book can enrich one's appreciation and understanding of film, inspire one to watch more films and read more film literature, but also overwhelm or frustrate some readers. The book is not a definitive or comprehensive guide to film, but a personal and passionate anthology that reflects Ebert's love and knowledge of cinema. As Ebert wrote in his preface: \"This book is not intended to teach you anything; it is simply a way of sharing my enthusiasm\". If you share his enthusiasm, or want to discover it, you should read this book.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about Roger Ebert's Book of Film and their answers:


- Q: Where can I buy Roger Ebert's Book of Film? - A: You can buy Roger Ebert's Book of Film from various online retailers, such as Amazon.com , or from your local bookstore. - Q: How many films are mentioned or discussed in Roger Ebert's Book of Film? - A: According to Ebert's own count, there are 1,001 films mentioned or discussed in Roger Ebert's Book of Film. - Q: What are some other books by Roger Ebert that I can read? - A: Some other books by Roger Ebert that you can read are The Great Movies series, which contain his essays on 100 films each that he considered great; Life Itself, which is his memoir; and Your Movie Sucks, which is a collection of his negative reviews. - Q: How can I watch the films that are mentioned or discussed in Roger Ebert's Book of Film? - A: You can watch the films that are mentioned or discussed in Roger Ebert's Book of Film by renting or buying them from various online platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, etc., or by borrowing them from your local library. - Q: How can I learn more about Roger Ebert and his work? - A: You can learn more about Roger Ebert and his work by visiting his website, which contains his reviews, essays, blog posts, and other writings; by watching the documentary Life Itself, which is based on his memoir; or by following his Twitter account, which is maintained by his wife Chaz Ebert. 71b2f0854b


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