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Wheeler Winston Dixon

Forfatter af A Short History of Film

36 Works 339 Members 6 Reviews

Om forfatteren

Wheeler Winston Dixon is the James Ryan Professor of Film Studies, Coordinator of the Film Studies Program, Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Image credit: Photo by Troy Fedderson/University Communications.

Værker af Wheeler Winston Dixon

A Short History of Film (2008) 58 eksemplarer
A History of Horror (2010) 35 eksemplarer
The Early Film Criticism of François Truffaut (1993) — Redaktør — 25 eksemplarer
Film and Television After 9/11 (2004) 10 eksemplarer
The Films of Freddie Francis (1991) 5 eksemplarer
Film Talk: Directors at Work (2007) 4 eksemplarer
Disaster and Memory (1999) 4 eksemplarer
Dark Humor in Films of the 1960s (2015) 2 eksemplarer
Synthetic cinema (2019) 2 eksemplarer
The Films of Reginald Leborg (1992) 1 eksemplar
I Went That-a-Way: The Memoirs of a Western Film Director (1990) — Redaktør — 1 eksemplar

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This book is an attempt at nothing less than a history of film, from the beginning to the present.

It starts in the beginning, with Thomas Edison and George Melies and the film of the Jules Verne story From the Earth to the Moon (that's the one where the Man In The Moon suddenly gets a spaceship in the eye). From there, the book explores the silent film era, the coming of sound, the patriotic and propaganda films that were produced during World War II, film noir, the sudden freedom in subject matter that happened in the post-war era and French New Wave. The book ends with an exploration of new digital technology, and the fact that films no longer have to be shot on actual film.

It also looks at films around the world, during each era, including from countries that were not known for their cinematic output. It also specifically mentions many, many films, some of which are probably gone forever.

This book may be a little light in the overall film analysis, but, remember, the title is A Short History of Film, not A Long and Detailed History of Film. For everyone else, this book is very much worth the time. The casual reader and the film lover will learn more than they ever wanted to know about film history.
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plappen | Jul 29, 2017 |
Comic book / superhero movies have become extremely popular in recent years. This book explores their history.

In the 1930's, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers were among the first comic book characters to make it to the big screen. They were multi-chapter movie serials (the film equivalent to a radio serial) to get children to come to the theater week after week. In the 1950's and 1960's, TV shows like Superman (with George Reeves) and Batman (with Adam West) were still aimed at children. With the booming popularity of annual conventions like San Diego Comic-Con (attended by upwards of 100,000 people), comic books are now marketed for adults.

The authors look more specifically at DC Comics, home to Batman and Superman. A number of films have been produced over the last 30 years with each character, with varying levels of quality and level of box office receipts. DC has also produced a number of lower-budget animated Batman and Superman films over the years. The average comic book fan has not heard about them because they went straight to video or straight to streaming.

Marvel Comics, on the other hand, has a seemingly infinite number of superheroes, and combinations of superheroes, from which to choose. Examples included Spiderman, the Avengers and Iron Man. The first few Marvel films were underwhelming, in regards to quality and box office receipts, so Marvel Studios was created. The quality of the films, and their receipts, increased dramatically.

No book on comic book movies would be complete without a look at Japanese anime. It started after World War II when American brought comic books to Japan. The reader will learn a lot about anime. The book also explores movies that began life as comic books from companies other then DC and Marvel, like Barb Wire, Tank Girl and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Comic book fans and pop culture fans will love this book (despite the high price). It is short, very easy to read and well worth the reader's time. This easily gets five stars. (I received this book from the author in exchange for this review.)
… (mere)
plappen | Mar 14, 2017 |
I got an advance copy of this book, and after seeing it recommended on TCM, all I have to say is that it is a really interesting book. Most movie histories focus on the actors or director. This book focuses on the cinematographer, the person running the camera (also known as the Director of Photography, or D.P.)

Black and white film, even during the silent movie era, allowed an opportunity to experiment with light and shadow, and camera angles, in order to create a mood. Some directors were happy to give their D.P. free rein to light a scene the way they thought best, knowing that what showed up on the screen would be amazing. Other directors planned every bit of a scene, including the lighting, ahead of time, giving the D.P. not much to do except run the camera.

For every great film that was made, like "Citizen Kane" or "Casablanca", hundreds of cheap, lesser-quality B-pictures were produced. During the height of the studio "system", in the 1930's and 1940's, an Oscar-winning D.P., as an employee of one of the studios, might be obligated to work on a low-budget film, that if made today, would go straight to video. Each studio owned their own chain of theaters, which needed a constant supply of movies, so Hollywood really was a factory, churning out film after film. People needed an escape from the Great Depression and World War II, so they went to the movies.

The 1950's and 1960's were the era of Cold War paranoia, and New Wave cinema. It was also the time of the introduction of various "versions" of color movies, like Panavision or Cinemascope. Some of the D.P.'s profiled in this book were able to make the transition to TV and color films; others were not so fortunate. The last great black and white film was 1962's "Psycho."

The author starts the book by mentioning that the vast majority of films from the early days are no longer available, at all. The reasons include improper storage of film canisters, human stupidity, or the fact that movie film does not last forever. A film might be a boring, amateurishly done piece of schlock, but it is still a piece of film history, and it is still gone, forever. A number of the films mentioned in this book are not available anywhere.

This book is highly recommended for really passionate fans of old movies, people who are familiar with names like Gregg Toland, Nicholas Musuraca and John Alton. For the rest of us, this is a really interesting look at black and white films. Yes, it is well worth reading.
… (mere)
2 stem
plappen | Oct 16, 2015 |
This book was part of the assigned reading for a film class I took at UNCW, Apocalyptic Film. The course dealt with various versions of an apocalypse and the films that represented apocalyptic occurrences. However, while the book is subtitled "Spectacles of Destruction in American Cinema," it seems more focused on the real world issues that were going on when it was written, late 2002/early 2003.

While there are plenty of apocalyptic film mentions, there are not quite enough for a book that is supposed to a study of film. Instead, this book focuses on the issues occurring in the real world during the period the film was made. Dixon also discusses Sept. 11, the impact it was having on film in the year since the attack, and the death of traditional film as it was replaced by digital video (Attack of the Clones is discussed heavily in its role in this movement).

Dixon does an excellent job of breaking down the problems in the world and in Hollywood, especially the rise of the B movie to A status and the hyperconglomeration of the world media. This is more a thesis on the current state of the world and how Hollywood film has either influenced or been influenced by various apocalyptic scenarios we have faced over time. Pity that's not how the book is marketed.
… (mere)
regularguy5mb | Mar 20, 2015 |


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