PERFORMING ARTS

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

B.E.S. 8th ed. ed. Oct. 2019. 960p. ed. by ed. by Steven Jay Schneider & Ian Haydn Smith. ISBN 9781438050751. $35. FILM
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Since its inception in 2003, this guide to cinema has been a powerhouse. Compiling a list of 1,001 must-see movies is no easy task, yet Schneider (Eurohorror; The Cinema of Wes Craven) and film journalist and critic Smith’s selections, from A Trip to the Moon (1902) through BlacKkKlansman (2018) are faultless. Lavishly illustrated with movie stills and posters, the volume features a wide range of flicks, from Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Notorious (1946) to the infamous Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), banned in many countries for its depiction of violence and sex. Each selection is accompanied by a masterly essay from one of 70 critics, which describes the movie’s plot, contextualizes its place in film history, and highlights details of its production and reception. A sidebar provides production information, including runtime, cast and crew, and Oscar awards and nominations. While film buffs will happily page through the work chronologically, newcomers will appreciate the indexes (alphabetical, by director, and by genre).
VERDICT This long-running work remains an achievement, yet its recent move to annual updates means that the difference between this edition and the previous one is negligible. Libraries owning the earlier iteration need not replace it.

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