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John Howard Reid

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Publisher:  Lulu ISBN-10:  1430301139 Type: 


Copyright:  April 22, 2007 ISBN-13:  9781430301134

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Amazon Kindle Only $2.99
Books on Classic Movies

A guide to classic movies in the science fiction and fantasy category, complete with exhaustive credits, release and background information, plus up-to-date reviews.

A question I'm often asked is what advantage a book has over the internet. In other words, if a fan is interested in classic movies of a certain genre, why not simply look up all the information he needs on a web site like the International Movie Database?

Certainly web sites like the above are very useful. I use them myself. I even write for them. But there is a limit to the help they provide. True, if you're a peripheral fan who will watch "Star Wars" on TV and maybe buy "The Invisible Man" on DVD, and leave it at that, then a book like this that brings a vast amount of information together in one place, does not necessarily qualify as an essential item. 

On the other hand, if you are really persistent fan, and are prepared to spend a great deal of your time checking the internet's cross references, you could in the space of six months or two years, gain a fair amount of the information contained in this book. Not all of it, of course. I would estimate around 60%. Say, two-thirds!

The fact is that a book like this contains a fair amount of information that is simply not available on the net, no matter how hard you look for it.

Take a movie like "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes". This book provides complete cast and camera credits, plus release information. True, this is virtually identical to the info on the net, but, personally, I find the book much easier to read. You can find everything you want to know at a glance.

The book then provides nearly two big pages of extensive notes and reviews. So does the net, you will say. But there's an enormous time-saving difference between a selection of carefully edited comments by experts than an endless grab-bag of amateurish ravings, ridiculous complaints and irrelevant side-issues, interspersed with a few sensible and sensitive appreciations that are almost impossible to find amongst all the dross!  

A book not only brings a vast amount of informative data together in an easily accessible form, but makes facts and comments even more interesting and appealing with a selection of fascinating and appropriate illustrations.

In my opinion, a book cannot be compared to an internet data bank. True, the internet is ostensibly free, whereas the book costs money. But isn't your time, your convenience and the extra pleasure you gain worth a few extra dollars?

And above all, isn't a book like this by far the easiest way to discover and find out about other movies in a particular genre that you would enjoy watching? So the next time you visit your DVD shop and you see a movie called "The Snow Creature" in the $2 bin, you resist the impulse to buy it, beause you remember reading a review that said the movie was one of the tamest ever made. On the other hand, you see a movie called "La Otra" in the  Price Reduced section. It stars Dolores Del Rio, but the dialogue is all in Spanish. You buy it anyway because you remember it described as a masterpiece of Mexican cinema. And you also looked it up on the net, where it received three or four rave reviews. So you now know enough of the plot to follow the story, even though you don't understand a word of Spanish.

Oddly, the net is often a very good source of information on obscure movies if you know what you're looking for. So I'm not denigrating the net. It has its usefulness. But books are my preferred choice. I use them all the time. The net serves as an excellent adjunct so long as you don't waste time looking up popular movies where the comments section is swamped by dozens of "reviews" by people who tell you their feelings but provide little if any guidance or information.

For guidance, information and inspiration, you can't beat books!

And now, of course, there are ebooks. This book is available at most ebook retailers, including Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble's NOOK Book.

The distributor has changed the cover of the NOOK Book and other ebook retailers (except Kindle), but it's exactly the same book inside.

Professional Reviews

Ross Adams in Dress Circle magazine

John Howard Reid's books just seem to get bigger and better and more informative. His new 2007 release will fill a void for all who are interested in movies that deal with science fiction, fantasy, horror and the supernatural. Many books deal with these subjects, but most are just glossy picture books. JHR's book delves into all of the films' actors, directors, producers, release dates, opening nights, technical staff and much, much more.

This book is a must. It opens up new areas for appreciating a film. Most books just give the critic's own comments, but JHR offers critical comments from other reviewers as well, so that the reader obtains a more balanced view of the film's qualities.
For the Disney version of "10,000 Leagues under the Sea" for instance, in addition to relevant notes and comments about the film's production and its stars, Reid offers succinct quotes from a number of critics who either praised or damned the film.

Fantasy cinema offers a greater variety of movies than most people realize. For example, Reid includes comedies and spoofs like the famous "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" and Bob Hope's "The Ghost Breakers" as well as fantasy cartoons like Disney's "Ichabod and Mr Toad".

The front cover features a magnificent color photo of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis"; the back cover, an equally colorful poster from "Forbidden Planet". There are also pages of fascinating original lobby card reproductions.

Although it presents well as a coffee table book, JHR's "Science Fiction and Fantasy Cinema" is much more than that. It is an invaluable addition to any film lover's library.

Tami Brady in TCM Reviews

If you are a trivia buff that likes learning little tidbits about classic movies or like me are constantly asking “Isn’t that the guy from such and such a movie?” then you’ll enjoy Science-Fiction & Fantasy Cinema: Classic Films of Horror, Sci-Fi & The Supernatural. This reference covers a wide variety of movies from the thirties to the seventies. These include epic movies like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Star Wars, Abbott & Costello comedy flicks, and even a large selection of Disney movies.
The movies are presented in alphabetical order. Each entry then notes the characters and the actors that played them as well as the people behind the scenes such as the director, producer, writer, etc. From here we get into the details of copyright date, release dates, and length of the film. A short synopsis and a comment section follow.
Apart from the section where I could look up names of actors, the comments section was probably the section I most enjoyed. I found myself browsing these sections and finding out all sorts of interesting bits of information.

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