The BFI Companion to Crime (Film studies)

 
9780304700431: The BFI Companion to Crime (Film studies)

Published to coincide with a "crimefest" at the National Film Theatre in London, this heavily-illustrated reference book offers a guide to all forms of crime on film. It contains 500 entries on crime cinema classics and the cult films of the genre, including many from Europe and the Far East.

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Review:

Movie lovers would be well served if every film genre had a book devoted to it that is as loving and comprehensive as The BFI Companion to Crime. Editor Phil Hardy, who also oversaw the excellent Overlook encyclopedias of horror, science fiction, and Western films, has outdone himself with this volume. Teaming with the British Film Institute, Hardy has produced a volume that covers all aspects of the crime film. You'll find entries on every significant movie in the genre: classics such as The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Chinatown, and Goodfellas; lesser-known works such as An American Tragedy, Raw Deal, Peeping Tom, and Mona Lisa; popular favorites such as Die Hard and Pulp Fiction; and foreign films from Les Vampires to Diva. Entries for each movie summarize and evaluate the film and provide a full list of credits.

The companion also covers the lives and careers of important pulp novelists such as Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, and Elmore Leonard (whose books were frequently made into movie classics) and approaches the genre by subject. Entries on a variety of relevant topics include blackmail, drugs, Fu Manchu, homosexuality, Sherlock Holmes, and vigilantes. Perhaps the best feature of the book are the hundreds of photographs, in both color and black and white, that illustrate the volume. They are the most striking collection of stills you'll see in any movie book, and they collectively give a taste of the crime film's extraordinary visual richness. This superb companion is full of detail, yet is so accessible that it will delight both crime film aficionados and fans who are just getting acquainted with this deep genre.

About the Author:

Phil Hardy has edited many reference books on popular cinema. He is also an authority on popular music and is co-editor of The Faber Companion to 20th Century Popular Music.

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