November 17, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

Concentrating on more than 150 directors from 1929 to the present, and excluding those whose careers didn’t begin until after 1975, Michael Barson juxtaposes profiles of the celebrated — Ford, Hawks, Huston, Hitchcock — with those you may have forgotten, or never even heard of: Anatole Litvak, William Keighley, Allan Dwan, et al. In Barson’s democratic film cosmology, the line between cinematic titan and trivia-game answer is thinner than you might think. Even the biggies, he notes, had flops, while the also-rans often placed in the money. Informed and opinionated, this is a must-have for the serious film buff. B+

You May Like