From D.W. Griffin to Chaplin, from Brando to Nicole Kidman, Thomson gives readers one of the wisest, most insightful, entertaining, and illuminating books ever written on American film--plus a much-needed one-volume history of Hollywood. 23 photos in text, 1 in full color.From D.W. Griffin to Chaplin, from Brando to Nicole Kidman, Thomson gives readers one of the wisest, most insightful, entertaining, and illuminating books ever written on American film--plus a much-needed one-volume history of Hollywood. 23 photos in text, 1 in full color.Read Less
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Blame it on my wife whose bio-mania brought the Nicole Kidman biography by David Thomson into our house. I could tell its style was well beyond just 'pop', and each chapter ventured more and more into reasonably-inferred psychological suppositions that gave unusual depth to a celebrity figure. And, despite his observational distance, there came from Thomson himself a sense of depth to his own mind as it developed in examining Kidman.
Very, very good writing.
So I bought his earlier, more comprehensive work, The Whole Equation. This guy knows his Hollywood, brings psychological keenness I rarely see in any work of any kind, and even in mentioning anecdotal material that has passed by me before, gives that a context and elaboration totally fresh.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-10-11 The "whole equation," a phrase borrowed from F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished Hollywood novel, The Last Tycoon, refers to the balancing of financial acumen, artistic aspiration and sociological savvy that movie moguls needed to keep Hollywood flourishing during the Depression. It's also what Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film) aims to achieve in his idiosyncratic chronicle of American filmmaking. He explores personalities (Louis B. Mayer, David O. Selznick) and specific films (von Stroheim's Greed, Spielberg's Jaws) to explain the 20th century's shifting sensibilities. Thomson addresses seminal effects from the last 100 years-from the ramifications of sound and color to the chilling consequences of the McCarthy hearings-to explain the culture of moviemaking. His writing is lyrical, but his pronouncements hyperbolic. (His ire against psychiatry, manifested in a dislike of Method acting, is particularly pronounced; its influence on an acting style, claims Thomson, "could yet destroy a society.") Thomson is considerably frustrated with current films and what he sees as moviegoers' lowered expectations. His melancholy metaphor for survival in Hollywood is the 1974 film Chinatown, where "the lone seeker of truth is told to shut up at the end." This fascinating, sometimes frustrating love letter to Hollywood doesn't shirk from exposing the blemishes on Thomson's inamorata. 23 photos. (Dec. 10) Forecast: Knopf will release an expanded edition of Thomson's Dictionary of Film in November, which could spur additional interest in this title, which will have a 75,000 first printing. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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