Moments That Made the Movies

David Thomson, Author
David Thomson. Thames & Hudson Inc., $39.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-500-51641-6
Reviewed on: 11/04/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
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When we think about the movies we love or even the ones we hate, specific moments come to mind. Whether we recall a scene or an image or certain dialogue, these moments define the film in our recollection. Prolific film-critic Thomson's (The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies) new art-sized book examines these "sensational" moments from more than 70 films in this film-lover's treasure. Organized chronologically Thomson begins in the year 1887 Eadweard Muybridge's Animal Location and spans all the way to 2008 with the Coen brothers' Burn After Reading. The selection largely encompasses American classics—Preston Sturges's The Lady Eve, Billy Wilder's Sunset Blvd—and a smattering of foreign films directed by the likes of Kenji Mizoguchi, Jean-Luc Godard, and Michelangelo Antonioni. He'll occasionally include less known films such as Danny De Vito's Hoffa or Jane Campion's In the Cut. The "knock-out" set-pieces often lean towards the violent or erotically charged, but all include multiple images, sometimes full-page spreads. Thomson warns in his introduction that readers shouldn't interpret the chosen moments as "the ‘best' moments" or his "personal favorites," though recent history definitely gets downplayed: 1959, for example, gets three entries, while there are none from 1996 to 2000. The book's effect is undeniable, as the reader feels determined to hit the nearest theater. Agent: Steve Wasserman, Kneerim & Williams. (Oct.)
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