Guide to the films of yore
Be warned! This book’s title may be confusing. It is called "Movies Magnificent: 150 Must-See Cinema Classics", and you may think you have found some important omissions. But there is a reason. This is one book in a series on the films of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Films like the classics, "Casablanca", "Gone With The Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz" are included in other volumes by author, John Howard Reid.
All Reid’s books are interesting and useful. This present book deals with an impressive range of film landmarks, including credits, reviews and interesting background details on films like Algiers, Anna and the King of Siam, The Bells of St Mary’s, The Best Years of Our Lives, Blood and Sand, Blossoms in the Dust, Citizen Kane, Cover Girl, Dinner at Eight, A Double Life, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Gaslight, The Ghost and Mrs Muir, Going My Way, The Grapes of Wrath, The Harvey Girls, Henry V, Holiday Inn, Key Largo, Kitty Foyle, Leave Her to Heaven, Lost Weekend, Miracle on 34th Street, Now Voyager, Phantom of the Opera, The Philadephia Story, Pinocchio, The Razor's Edge, Rebecca, Sergeant York, The Seventh Viel, Spellbound, Sullivan’s Travels, Suspicion, Thief of Bagdad, We’re No Angels, White Christmas, The Yearling. But the book also does take a swipe at some of the sillier, popular film "classics" like "Andy Hardy Meets Debutante" and "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" which Reid describes as "a ghastly film" which bears absolutely no relationship to the famous true-life account on which it is allegedly based.
The book also includes some contemporary reviews and other comments by critics who know their cinema and always try to be balanced.
The notes on the films are also most interesting, listing awards and nominations the films won when first released, how they fared at the box-office and other behind-the-scenes stories.
Unfortunately, the book is sparsely illustrated with only 20 black-and-white photos (mostly full page), and although most seem unfamiliar, a few are of poor quality. A beautiful full-color shot of Charles Boyer, Hedy Lamarr and Sigrid Gurie in Algiers compensates to some extent.