David Bordwell's website on cinema   click for CV




Perplexing Plots: Popular Storytelling and the Poetics of Murder

On the History of Film Style pdf online

Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling

Film Art: An Introduction

Christopher Nolan: A Labyrinth of Linkages pdf online

Pandora’s Digital Box: Films, Files, and the Future of Movies pdf online

Planet Hong Kong, second edition pdf online

The Way Hollywood Tells It pdf online

Poetics of Cinema pdf online

Figures Traced In Light

Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema pdf online

Exporting Entertainment: America in the World Film Market 1907–1934 pdf online


Hou Hsiao-hsien: A new video lecture!

CinemaScope: The Modern Miracle You See Without Glasses

How Motion Pictures Became the Movies

Constructive editing in Pickpocket: A video essay


Rex Stout: Logomachizing

Lessons with Bazin: Six Paths to a Poetics

A Celestial Cinémathèque? or, Film Archives and Me: A Semi-Personal History

Shklovsky and His “Monument to a Scientific Error”

Murder Culture: Adventures in 1940s Suspense

The Viewer’s Share: Models of Mind in Explaining Film

Common Sense + Film Theory = Common-Sense Film Theory?

Mad Detective: Doubling Down

The Classical Hollywood Cinema Twenty-Five Years Along

Nordisk and the Tableau Aesthetic

William Cameron Menzies: One Forceful, Impressive Idea

Another Shaw Production: Anamorphic Adventures in Hong Kong

Paolo Gioli’s Vertical Cinema

(Re)Discovering Charles Dekeukeleire

Doing Film History

The Hook: Scene Transitions in Classical Cinema

Anatomy of the Action Picture

Hearing Voices

Preface, Croatian edition, On the History of Film Style

Slavoj Žižek: Say Anything

Film and the Historical Return

Studying Cinema


Book Reports

Observations on film art

THE RHAPSODES goes to the movies

Thursday | June 23, 2016   open printable version open printable version

Counterattack 500

Counter-Attack (Zoltan Korda, 1945).

Rhapsodes cover 300My little book on 1940s film critics has been lucky. It’s gotten more reviews, and gotten them more quickly, than anything else I’ve written in recent years. The online ones are by David Hudson at Fandor, Michael Curtis Nelson at PopMatters,  and Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune. Not yet online, or available only through subscription services, are reviews by Geoffrey O’Brien (Artforum), Nick Pinkerton (Sight & Sound), and Dana Polan (Film Quarterly; the first page is available for free). All are generous and encouraging. I take the reviewers’ support to reflect the continuing appeal of four extraordinary writers who opened up fresh ways to think and talk about American cinema.

Coming up are two film series based on the book. At Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image, David Schwartz has arranged a program of four films to play this weekend. Each is paired with a critic: Citizen Kane for Otis Ferguson, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre for James Agee, the little-seen Counter-Attack for Manny Farber, and The Picture of Dorian Gray for Parker Tyler. I’ll introduce Kane on Saturday and will hang around to talk with visitors, and copies of the book will be on sale.

After Kristin and I get back to Wisconsin, our Cinematheque will be running a comparable series across four weeks. Our programmer Jim Healy has put Sierra Madre, Counter-Attack, and Dorian on that bill as well, while our Ferguson pick is The Little Foxes. On 7 July I’ll introduce the series with a presentation. The full schedule is here.

If you’re in Astoria or in Madison, I’d be happy to see you!

On this site, of course there’s lots about Kane, most recently here. On The Little Foxes, try here and here.

P. S. 23 June 2016: James Wolcott, another remarkable critic-essayist (his work resides on my four-foot shelf), has kindly Tweeted about The Rhapsodes.

Treasure 500

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). “The Huston trademark consists of two unorthodox practices—the statically designed image (objects and figures locked into various pyramid designs) and the mobile handling of close three-figured shots” (Manny Farber).

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