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

Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling

Reinventing Hollywood

by David Bordwell. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017.
592 pages, 6 × 9 inches. Illustrations.
[go to Amazon]

The following errors are in the hardcover version of Reinventing Hollywood but are corrected in the paperback.

p. 9 —  12 lines from bottom: “had became” should be “had become”.

p. 93 — Last sentence of second full paragraph: “The Killers (1956)” should be “The Killing (1956)”. I try to do the film, and its genre, justice in another entry.

p. 169 — last two lines of second full paragraph: Weekend at the Waldorf  should be Week-End at the Waldorf.

p. 334 — first sentence of third full paragraph: “over two hours” should be “about one hundred minutes.”

We couldn’t correct this slip, though: p. 524: two endnotes, nos. 30 and 33 citing “New Trend in the Horror Pix,” should cite it as “New Trend in Horror Pix.”

Since the paperback was published, I’ve learned of the following errors:
p. 422 —  The statue seen in Dorian’s house and reflected in the mirror Dorian stands before is not a reproduction of Michelangelo’s David; it is Andrea del Verrocchio’s. The “Prelude” used as a musical motif and played by Dorian for Sybil is Chopin’s, not Liszt’s. Thanks to Susan Felleman for the corrections.


Here are some scenes illustrating points made in the course of Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling.

Chapter 2: Time and Time Again
Laying the breadcrumb trail in Penny Serenade (1941; p. 88).


Interlude: Kitty and Lydia, Julia and Nancy
“I never forgot that ball”: Conflicting memories in Lydia (1941; p. 111).


Interlude: Mankiewicz: Modularity and Polyphony
Addie Ross as cynical narrator in A Letter to Three Wives (1948; p. 190).


Chapter 5: What They Didn’t Know Was
The audio replay in Sudden Fear (1952; p. 211).


Chapter 6: Voices Out of the Dark
Voice-over and time-jumping narration in The Miniver Story (1950); pp. 243–245.


Chapter 7: Into the Depths
Subjective sound in H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941; pp. 278–280).


Chapter 7: Into the Depths
Hallucinatory montage in Moonrise (1948; pp. 295–296).


Chapter 8: Call It Psychology
The Expressionistic dream sequence in Blind Alley (1939; pp. 303–304).


Interlude: Innovation by Misadventure
The standup comedian’s monologue on psychoanalytic films in The Guilt of Janet Ames (1947; p. 337).


Chapter 10: I Love a Mystery
Shock ellipsis in Secret Beyond the Door (1948; p. 400).


Chapter 11: Artifice in Excelsis
A movie within a movie in Hellzapoppin’ (1941; p. 428).

David Bordwell
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