Nostalgic Cinema


Dictionary of Films – Dictionary of Film Makers
Georges Sadoul
1972 edition (updated from the original 1965 release)

Dictionary of Films and Dictionary of Film Makers is a twin-volume set, that, while sold separately, should really be purchased and discussed together, as one book compliments the other. Before the interweb came along, a film enthusiast had to rely on reference books to learn more about what was out there. While these books were already 16 years old when I purchased them, they proved invaluable resources at that time, just when I went back to high school at age 20, and I was learning more about world cinema, and in that regard, included a lot of foreign language films that weren’t in Leonard Maltin’s annual guide.

Dictionary of Film Makers has biographies and film credits of many directors, producers, writers, cinematographers, etc. No actors are included, except those like Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton who were also directors. The only other screen personalities included are Harold Lloyd or The Marx Brothers, who controlled the creative content of their films. Fair enough. There is an asterisk beside any name in the Film Makers book that is an addition not found in the previous edition. Any titles in their filmographies which have an asterisk are reviewed in its companion volume. Dictionary of Films gives synopses, credits, and reviews for any film that was noted in its sister book. Another neat bonus: the titles often have review extracts from other authors! (My favourite: the pull quote from RenĂ© Clair about Keaton’s Sherlock Jr.) As this school year progressed, I would record foreign films from CBLFT (our French channel), or on TVO Sunday nights’ (when they programmed French movies), and hope that they had French inter-titles so that I could translate and understand. Because of this book, I had made a point of discovering such gems as Ermanno Olmi’s Il Posto or Jean Renoir’s The Little Match Girl.