Fugitive from a Kubrick cannibal flick

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Stanley Kubrick, apparently, was more likely to ask someone else about drugs than take them himself - someone like Frederic Raphael, for instance, hired in 1994 to turn Arthur Schnitzler's Traumnovelle into the script of Eyes Wide Shut. Eyes Wide Open (Orion £12.99) is a fascinating explanation by Raphael of why the late, great Kubrick took 25 years to produce a lengthy update of the original story, a process the writer likens to a cannibal digesting an enemy's body to absorb his power. Stanley Kubrick, Director (Weidenfeld £25) crops up again in critic and friend Alexander Walker's lavish update of his 1971 study Stanley Kubrick Directs. Walker's text is now accompanied by "A Visual Analysis by Sybil Taylor and Ulrich Ruchti" and since this comprises frame enlargements rather then photographic stills, the result is a feast for the mind and the eye.

Stanley Kubrick, apparently, was more likely to ask someone else about drugs than take them himself - someone like Frederic Raphael, for instance, hired in 1994 to turn Arthur Schnitzler's Traumnovelle into the script of Eyes Wide Shut. Eyes Wide Open (Orion £12.99) is a fascinating explanation by Raphael of why the late, great Kubrick took 25 years to produce a lengthy update of the original story, a process the writer likens to a cannibal digesting an enemy's body to absorb his power. Stanley Kubrick, Director (Weidenfeld £25) crops up again in critic and friend Alexander Walker's lavish update of his 1971 study Stanley Kubrick Directs. Walker's text is now accompanied by "A Visual Analysis by Sybil Taylor and Ulrich Ruchti" and since this comprises frame enlargements rather then photographic stills, the result is a feast for the mind and the eye.

Kubrick is cited as a major influence by Ridley Scott (Orion £12.99), probably the most influential of the commercials directors who left Britain for the States in the Seventies. Paul M Sammon canters gamely through his career ups and downs, and the result is fine until something more substantial emerges. Joel & Ethan Coen (Titan £14.99) are also examined for the first time, in a highbrow volume edited by Peter Korte and Georg Seesslen, and they contribute a typically irreverent foreword to Geoff Andrew's Directors A-Z (Prion £15). A reminder that there's more to movies than directors comes in Seventy Light Years (Faber £17.99), an anecdotal autobiography by the great cinematographer Freddie Young, who died last year aged 96 having worked on a staggering 161 films.

Alfred Hitchcock, meanwhile, was born a century ago this year, and cashing in on this are The Complete Hitchcock (Virgin £14.99) by Paul Condon and Jim Sangster, The Alfred Hitchcock Story (Titan £29.99) by Ken Mogg, and English Hitchcock (Cameron & Hollis £17.95) by Charles Barr. Barr, like Condon and Sangster, deals with Hitch's output film by film, but, unlike them, just dissects the two dozen he made before decamping to Hollywood in 1939. Barr provides a plethora of stills, lots more in fact than the rival pair allow for their comparatively lightweight stocking-filler. Mogg trumps them all with his comprehensive survey of the director's entire career, producing a wealth of analysis and gossip.

François Truffaut's seminal interviews with Hitchcock have inspired many Q&A books about directors. Cameron Crowe's Conversations with Billy Wilder (£20) is a fine variation on the theme: the rock journalist turned writer-director conducts the first ever head-to-head with a living legend. Since its appearance in 1981, when the subject of Lindsay Anderson's About John Ford... (Plexus, £12.99) had been dead for eight years, the author has died as well, and this reprint is a fitting tribute to both: 50 years of films, championed by a fellow director and astute writer as the work not of an intellectual auteur but of a classic storyteller.

The new British Popular Cinema series from Routledge is a timely reminder that we have produced a lot of great films. Sometimes, like The Day the Earth Caught Fire in British Science Fiction Cinema (£14.99) or Get Carter in British Crime Cinema (£14.99), they're influenced by American genres or financed by American studios; but at the same time, they're still as British as county cricket, and the fact that both are set to be remade in the US proves we can export popular entertainment with the best of them. The two books may be aimed more at students than buffs, but in common with James Chapman's "Cultural History of the James Bond Films", Licence to Thrill (I B Tauris £14.95), anyone who picks them up will find plenty of food for thought.

The Bloomsbury Movie Guide No 6 focuses on another cult crime yarn, Performance (£10.99), the Swinging London version of sex 'n' drugs 'n' rock 'n' roll by co-directors Nicolas Roeg and the late Donald Cammell. Mick Brown makes the A-Z format work to his advantage, engaging intelligently with the film without getting in its way. In Search of The Third Man (Methuen £14.99) by Charles Drazin succeeds in bringing Carol Reed's 1949 Graham Greene-scripted thriller to life.

Anyone with a film nut in their life will find their prayers answered by The Virgin Film Guide (£16.99) and the Time Out Film Guide (Penguin, £14.99). Both are marching into their eighth editions, but for two quid less Time Out boasts brainy critics by the bucketload and exemplary coverage of world cinema. Since they've also added main production credits for each film, they now give Halliwell's Film & Video Guide 2000 (HarperCollins £19.99) a serious run for its money. The late Leslie Halliwell's able replacement, John Walker, is great on peripheral details - extracts from contemporary reviews, availability of video, laserdisc and DVD - but this 15th edition mentions 23,000 movies to Time Out's 12,700 and his potted opinions have trouble competing.

Halliwell's Who's Who in the Movies (HarperCollins £16.99), on the other hand, Walker's expanded version of Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion, is indispensable: an encyclopaedia of talent behind and in front of the camera since the birth of cinema. The Virgin Book of Film Records (£12.99), by Phil Swern and Toby Rowan, fields facts of a different kind, summed up in the title of Aubrey Dillon-Malone's pocket-sized competitor, I Was a Fugitive from a Hollywood Trivia Factory (Prion £9.99). Taken together, they tell you everything you never wanted to know about Hollywood and were afraid someone would tell you. Trivial doesn't begin to cover The Bigger Little Book of Hollywood Clichés (Virgin, £7.99), but that's the point. Roger Ebert, the American Barry Norman, hopes his diverting compilation of readers' contributions might "shame filmmakers into avoiding the most shopworn conventions". Dream on.

From the ridiculous to the sublime, Andrei Tarkovsky: Collected Screenplays (£17.99) joins the latest published scripts from Faber. Translated by William Powell and Natasha Synessios, it includes Soviet cinema milestones Solaris and Stalker, unproduced outlines and a lucid commentary on his film legacy. An equally lucid Q&A prefaces the gripping double bill of Seven & 8mm (£7.99), in which screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker discusses his happy and unhappy collaborations with directors David Fincher and Joel Schumacher. There's no additional material but more laughs in the award-laden screenplay for Shakespeare in Love (£6.99) by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. Its most effective moments, naturally, are borrowed from the Bard, like the title of North by Northwest (£8.99), Ernest Lehman's "Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures".

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