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Cinema: The First Hundred Years

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Cinema: The First Hundred Years

Current Status:
In Season
David Shipman

We gave it a B+

Cinema: The First Hundred Years David Shipman (St. Martin’s, $50) A gorgeous, if helplessly shallow, gallop through movie history, Cinema takes the reader largely on a month-by-month tour, from Fred Ott’s Sneeze (Thomas Edison, 1893) to The Crying Game (Neil Jordan, 1992). The photos are swell, but what saves this from being another pricey doorstop is Shipman’s scathingly opinionated prose. He’s sometimes high-handed (”Raging Bull is not the worst picture about prize-fighting-though it’s a near thing”), but he doesn’t venerate old movies to the detriment of the new. Even better, by including films from other countries, Shipman keeps Hollywood in perspective. Cinema has its odd blind spots-drive-in cheese, the French new wave-but it’s the first survey in years to make the canon seem fresh. B+ -Ty Burr