The Big Screen

The Big Screen

The Story of the Movies

Book - 2012
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The Big Screen tells the enthralling story of the movies: their rise and spread, their remarkable influence over us, and the technology that made the screen--smaller now, but ever more ubiquitous--as important as the images it carries.

The Big Screen is not another history of the movies. Rather, it is a wide-ranging narrative about the movies and their signal role in modern life. At first, film was a waking dream, the gift of appearance delivered for a nickel to huddled masses sitting in the dark. But soon, and abruptly, movies began transforming our societies and our perceptions of the world. The celebrated film authority David Thomson takes us around the globe, through time, and across many media--moving from Eadweard Muybridge to Steve Jobs, from Sunrise to I Love Lucy , from John Wayne to George Clooney, from television commercials to streaming video--to tell the complex, gripping, paradoxical story of the movies. He tracks the ways we were initially enchanted by movies as imitations of life--the stories, the stars, the look--and how we allowed them to show us how to live. At the same time, movies, offering a seductive escape from everyday reality and its responsibilities, have made it possible for us to evade life altogether. The entranced audience has become a model for powerless and anxiety-ridden citizens trying to pursue happiness and dodge terror by sitting quietly in a dark room.

Does the big screen take us out into the world, or merely mesmerize us? That is Thomson's question in this grand adventure of a book. Books about the movies are often aimed at film buffs, but this passionate and provocative feat of storytelling is vital to anyone trying to make sense of the age of screens--the age that, more than ever, we are living in.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780374191894
0374191891
Branch Call Number: 791.430973 Tho
Characteristics: viii, 595 pages : illustrations

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ChristchurchLib Mar 18, 2013

A straightforward history of the movie industry this is not, but if you're looking for erudition, provocative questioning, and an intelligent analysis of what's happened on the screen (big, small, or attached to a computer), you've come to the right place. From changes in technology to shifts in creative energy, David Thomson covers about 100 years of film-making with "free-associative license," The New York Times says approvingly. Knowledgeable, persuasive, and passionate, Thomson and The Big Screen should not be missed by serious moviegoers - or those who want a great introduction to film history.

Popular Culture newsletter March 2013.

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