||November 1, 2009
A massive book of 468 pages, this guide to the Best in Cinema Thrills that are now available on DVD, contains over 700 film reviews. No less than 1,200 DVDs were examined in the preparation of this volume.
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Breaking News... MYSTERY, SUSPENSE, FILM NOIR & DETECTIVE MOVIES ON DVD wins a Readers Favorite 2011 Award!
As a keen fan, I'm naturally aware that classic movies are often available on two or more DVD labels. Which is the best? This book will tell you. And surprise, surprise! The best is often the least expensive version. Why pay $29.95 when you can buy a superior DVD of exactly the same movie for $2?
This book names names and steers you in the right direction every time.
But as a real keen fan, I'm also anxious to discover titles that I've never seen and would enjoy watching. This cleverly designed book enables me to gratify this desire in a number of interesting ways. I can glance through the 700-film Index and pick a title that strikes my fancy. Or I can flip through the book's 311 alphabetical pages (many with accompanying photos), Or I can read some of the articles like "The Best Sherlock Holmes" or "The Thin Man Series" or "Raymond Chandler on DVD". Or I can check out the "Top Noir on DVD" listing.
Editor Ross Adams writes in the February 2010 issue of Dress Circle: the Film Enthusiasts’ Magazine: Just a fraction larger than Leonard Maltin’s Film Guide and a massive 1.3 inches thick, this book is a real pot pourri of essential information: players, technical teams, music, release dates and more. During 2009, I purchased a number of classic movies on DVD, but the jackets cointained only bare details. I was able to retrieve information by looking up the index of over 700 films in this book and then turning to the descriptions Reid provides.
The book is interspersed with good black-and-white photos of film stars, scenes from films and prints of posters and lobby cards. Some of the 222 movies extensively reviewed in the main section include Gilda, Laura, Father Brown Detective, Lady Vanishes, Maltese Falcon, Man Who Knew Too Much, Naked City, City Streets, Night Has a Thousand Eyes, Mandalay, Odd Man Out, The Paradine Case, Phantom of the Opera, Rebecca, Vertigo, Leave Her to Heaven, Lady from Shanghai, The Kennel Murder Case, Spellbound and Run for the Sun.
Briefer summaries and reviews are then provided for a further 500 films in a supplementary section. Full DVD details are given in each instance, and the quality of the DVD itself is rated on a scale of 1 to 10.
There are also some interesting supplementary chapters on Sherlock Holmes, the Thin Man series, and Humphrey Bogart versus Alan Ladd.
The author also lists details of "Recommended DVD Suppliers" and even provides his choice of the "36 Top Noir Movies on DVD."
And finally, there is a comprehensive index of all 730 titles covered in this book.
I most highly recommend Mystery, Suspense, Film Noir and Detective Movies on DVD by John Howard Reid.
WHAT A GREAT BOOK! Reviewer T.M. Craig writes: As I tend to prefer to watch the latest blockbuster coming to my local theater, "Mystery, Suspense, Film Noir and Detective Movies on DVD" reminded me of the true classics. This guide reminded of when films were true "art" about not about computer enhancements. This book is a great collection of movies even the casual movie lover may know and it also includes the movies that should be known by the general public.
While this book does contain quite a number of films, I had never heard of, it does an excellent job of explaining each film in great detail. Reid lists the cast, director, synopsis and a comment for each film he has listed in this extensive guide. While I am not a true fan of old cinema, there are quite a few films that I will now rent due to reading through this guide.
Michael Woodhead, TCM Reviews 12/19/09:
Five stars! They don't make them like they used to do. And reading through this compendium of some of the best `mystery, suspense, film noir and detective movies on DVD' reminded me of that.
In many cases, these films were made under the studio system, whereby the scripts were tailored to the actors' strengths and personalities. This is one reason why many of the old films were so good.
The author has brought together outlines of hundreds of them, each complete with a cast list, the major production staff, copyright and release notices, story synopsis, and his own personal comment about the film.
Also embellishing some of the outlines are dozens of black-and-white photos, as well as a lengthy but well-written article on `noir, crime and mystery'. Several other shorter articles are included, aimed at those interested in the genres--the best Sherlock Holmes, and Raymond Chandler as adapted for the movies, for example.
Reid has done a marvelous job putting these all together, thus taking a lot of the legwork out of trying to locate these movies for our viewing pleasure--he includes a small list of DVD suppliers where many of these films can be purchased at very reasonable prices.
Many titles will be familiar; for example, The Maltese Falcon. However, those same people who recognize it might not realize that there were at least four adaptations of Dashiell Hammett's 1929 five-part serial; two of the movies are included in the book, one starring Ricardo Cortez, the other with Humphrey Bogart.
Other titles, of course, won't be so familiar. There are some fascinating anecdotes, too. For example, for the movie Odd Man Out, "director Carol Reed asked the composer to write the score from the shooting script and record it, so that [James] Mason could walk in time to the beat". Such tidbits encourage readers to find copies of the films in order to see for themselves how it was accomplished.
So, for the lover of vintage thriller movies, this book would make an ideal and extremely informative purchase.
HD Thompson: Film Noir Comes out of the Shadows
Five stars: If you're a fan of cinema noir, mystery and suspense make room on your bookshelf, clear your netflicks queue and dust off your Mill Creek mystery/suspense/crime DVD set. This movie reference book is different. Among the 1200 movies rated are the "usual suspects" of expected noir and mystery classics but what is a pleasant surprise is the number of forgotten and lesser know noir and mystery movies. I would venture to say that many of these movies were never reviewed when released and are just now given the serious consideration they deserve. Mill Creek and Alpha among others have released DVDs that contain many of the films reviewed and sources are given for most films.
The featured movies have a complete cast list , I really like this because I'm a fan of character actors and always want to know who that familiar face is.
A synopsis of most of the plots is a feature but the real interest for movie buffs is found in the comments section. Mr. Reid is generous in sharing his bountiful knowledge of movies and is an intelligent and thoughtful critic. The writing is first rate and in the section covering 500 films he moves seamlessly from one film to another while imparting information and movie trivia in a most interesting way. Mr Reid's enthusiasm for movies is contagious, I found myself making a list of "must see" movies as I read.
"Mystery, Suspense, Film Noir and Detective Movies on DVD: A Guide to The Best In Cinema Thrills" is a welcome edition to my movie reference shelf. Rating: *****.
Cherie Fisher for Reader Views (12/09) :
Calling all old movie buffs! This is a great guide for anyone who loves watching old movies. The author does an excellent job capturing not only the great classics, but also some of the more obscure films that should not be missed.
The first part of the book is organized alphabetically by movies. Each movie description is broken down by cast, synopsis, DVD guide and comments. The author is very effective in his movie choices and I was glad to see some of my old favorites like "Rebecca," "Vertigo" and "Spellbound." He also was not afraid to discuss the movies that leave a lot to be desired, like "The Woman in Green" where he described the plot as "so full of gaping holes, it makes no sense at all."
The second part of the book is all about Noir, Crime and Mystery. Reid does an excellent job describing what Noir is and then matches movies to the description. He has many of the old favorites like the "Thin Man" series (which I still watch the entire series on New Year's Day), "Casablanca" and the "Sherlock Holmes" movies.
I know what I will be doing a lot of in 2010, as I came away with a long list of movies that I absolutely need to rent, like the "Canary Murders" with William Powell and "Gilda" with Rita Hayworth. "Mystery, Suspense, Film Noir and Detective Movies on DVD: A Guide to the Best in Cinema Thrills" by John Howard Reid would make and excellent gift for someone who enjoys classic movies, especially those who are new to the mystery, suspense and film noir genre. Unlike his review of the "Woman in Green," which Reid says has a plot riddled with gaping holes, his guide book is not full of gaping holes and makes complete sense.
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Reader Reviews for "Mystery, Suspense, Film Noir & Detective Movies on DVD: A Guide to the Best"
|Reviewed by William Potter
|Mystery, Suspense, Film Noir and Detective Movies on DVD-A GUIDE TO THE BEST IN CINEMA THRILLS by John Howard Reid is a dream come true for movie buffs. If your collection of movies is less than classic or you would like to sample the best thriller flicks of the former century then this book is the place to begin.
Mr. Reid has researched, reviewed and listed over 700 examples of the best in cinema that can be found in the DVD format. The first 218 titles included, feature an extensive review page. He includes the full cast and the parts played by name. The director, screenplay writer, editor, music, sound and producers are listed as well as copyright date, studio, world wide release dates and running times. Each title is summarized with Mr. Reid’s own personal review and other comments. He rates the transfer DVD on a 1 to 10 scale, ten being a superb transfer from film and one being an unwatchable DVD. The remaining 500 films are briefly described.
Most of the titles were released in the 1930’s to 1950’s with several selections from the 60’s and 70’s. You’ll recognise many of the well known classics like Twelve Angry Men or A Kiss Before Dying. However, this book really shines in its ability to bring exposure obscure titles like Attack of Giant Leeches.
What is film noir? Mr. Reid takes a one-hundred page look at Noir, Crime and Mystery with several hundred movies mentioned. Interested in Sherlock Holmes or Raymond Chandler movies? How about the Thin Man series? Mr. Reid designated a full chapter o each of these categories. How about hard-boiled movie tough guys? Mr. Reid takes an in depth look in a chapter called Bogart versus Ladd.
The amount of time and research needed to produce a book this detailed and informative is remarkable. Hundreds of wonderful black and white photos add to the authenticity of the collection. Mr. Reid has over 50 years of writing experience and it shows on every page as his descriptions flow smoothly from point to point without any trite or clichéd passages. All movie buffs should take advantage of this wonderful guide. Flipping through the pages you can’t help making a list of must-sees before running out to the local rental shop. If you enjoyed classic thrillers back in the day and wonder about current DVD availability then you need this book. If you are tired of the CGI filled dribble that Hollywood is passing off as Mystery/Thrillers these days then this is guide is a must read for finding something very different.
lulu.com (September 27, 2009)