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Without any hint of snobbery, the book uses examples from all kinds of films, from revered classics to recent box-office hits, to illustrate aspects of the art form. For instance, it cites James Cameron's TITANIC (hardly perceived as teaching material for film art) as an example of a filmmaker's subtle use of different flesh tones to evoke a sense of optimism or doom.
The chapter on "Ideology" was not available on some earlier editions. It provides a fascinating discussion on how movies often contain either implicit or explicit political leanings, religious beliefs, ethical values, and other allusions that reflect the attitudes of the filmmakers. It also includes a discussion on portrayals of gays and lesbians in films.
The book is replete with still photos from movies, each accompanied with a wonderful caption that serves as a mini-analysis of a certain aspect of the movie itself, so that readers can get a quick lession on film art. Illustrations that stand out include: a series of screenshots from the Odessa Staircase sequence in THE BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, storyboards from the cropdusting scene in NORTH BY NORTHWEST, a shot-by-shot analysis of a scene from Hitchcock's SABOTAGE that demonstrates sometimes an actor's performance can be made more effective when his or her face is unseen.
This is not a film review book. You won't see capsule reviews, cast biography, production history, etc. written about every single movie. This book does cite from about 300 films, but it only uses them as examples for discussing certain aspects of film art. It often assumes the readers have already seen the films in question. That brings up my biggest concern: the book often gives away plot details of the movies it discusses. To compensate for that, a lot of films cited by the book are popular hits that have likely been seen by most people, such as PRETTY WOMAN, TITANIC, DIE HARD, etc.
Each new edition of the book differs from earlier ones mainly in the selection of still photos. Newer editions contain more stills from recent films. The first three editions came out in 1971, '75, and '80 respectively. Hence, if you want to see more coverage of, say, films made in the 70s, be sure to get at least the 3rd edition or later.
Last but not least, the book ends with a comprehensive appraisal of CITIZEN KANE that (a) analyzes the movie itself, (b) serves as a grand summation for the book, and most importantly, (c) invites the reader to apply all the knowledge gained from the book to becoming a more astute film viewer.
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N is told in a most innovative narrative style. Switching back and forth from the film noir style to the voice of Aimee, Edwards captures the reader with strong symbolism and living, breathing characters. When I first heard about this book, the one letter title intrigued me, but I was left satisfied and enlightened as I moved through the book. The recurring theme of N is tightly and believeably wrapped up in a surprise ending, one of the critical things I think makes a mystery novel a mystery novel. Edwards gives us more than just the run of the mill mystery, however. Laced with romance, family themes, and discovery, N is a novel to be absorbed and pondered; not simply read and forgotten.
~Reviewed by CandaceK
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This world, where we believe we are, but are not. The other world, where we believe we are not, but where we actually are.
He goes on to describe the fallen state of both this world, and the fall of man, and the importance of work and methods of how to regain the primordial divine grace, how to be a Gods minister while on earth, etc.
For the sincere Martinist will I warmly recommend this book, it's probably one of his best works.
Paal E. Vevle
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A recomended lecture to all serious students of ocultism, particularly, Qabbalah.
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On a structural note, the book is set in somewhat small print. A handful of maps are offered. At 900-plus pages, I'd suggest this book for (obviously!) serious students of the war or Genl Lee. Perhaps one should first digest on of the many biographies of R. E. Lee before attacking this Bible-sized epic.