Paperback review: The Big Screen, By David Thomson

 

Thomson’s history of the movies is social as well as artistic, and is largely character-led and predominantly male, punctuated as it is by great directors such as Hitchcock, Hawkes, Spielberg, and Scorsese.

In that respect, it says a great deal about the shapers of popular consciousness, beginning with the Jewish immigrants who effectively started Hollywood in the first place and who would go on to found major film houses that still exist today. But Thomson also reflects on the way film actresses and their behaviour onscreen affected not just fashion but how women viewed themselves. And his superb ability to zoom in on details, then pan out to the bigger picture, is worthy of any great director.

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