File Size: 1036 KB
Print Length: 416 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (March 31, 2010)
Publication Date: April 19, 2010
I came away from "Warning Shadows" impressed by the depth and breadth of Giddins' knowledge. Not only does he write sensibly about Orson Welles, John Huston and Alfred Hitchcock (and say interesting reasons for these filmmakers) but he can also pinpoint the best motion picture made by the practically forgotten John Brahm, offer perceptive comments about lesser-known films of the Weimar era (which is where he draws the name of his book) and even view the "Indianerfilm" of the former Eastern Germany with intelligent interest.
The only real drawback with "Warning Shadows" is that almost all of the essays are about four pages long. (They were originally written as DVD reviews. ) Giddins should use his experience on film to assault a subject at a longer length.
Still, if you think film history is too important to be still left to the professors, this is a book to read., "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a movie studio owning a fortune must be in want of Excellent Books. "
This is just one of many excellent, eccentric and elegant section introductions in collection of magazine articles published between 2005 and 2009 (mostly in "The Ny Sun") and now nicely maintained under title "Warning shadows: home alone with typical cinema" by Gary Giddins. Giddins, who is a fantastic music critic shows that he is not restricted on just territory: he or she writes about classic movies with the same fair and wit, often pointing at lesser known gems (1967 soviet "Anna Karenina") and offering his approach to works by Kurosawa, Bergman, Tati and everything from "Blade Runner" to "Ben Hur", amusing his viewers with riches of anecdotes along the way. I really have his celebrated biography of Bing Crosby (that covers first part of Bing's career, hopefully there will be a sequel) so was not a surprised that Crosby somehow found the way even in this guide, as he or she left his mark in the movies as well. Giddins is a true wit, a person who is aware how to engage a reader with a humorous touch and often pointing at quality or lack of it in the classic movies - his opinions often suggest re-viewing and surely I am not the only one who noted few titles down during the reading of this collection. Since it's basically collection of essays, it can be enjoyed slowly - myself, I was initially browsing trough some of my favorite parts, going backwards and ahead, until eventually I see the whole darn thing from cover to cover once again with the biggest pleasure.
Touching not only the selected movies and giving intriguing informations about actors, directors and suppliers, Giddins also writes about the movie industry and the way audience perceive movie entertainment - he writes about nickelodeon days and muses what a long way we crossed from watching the movies trough the hole in a machine until present day when (again) movie observing is solitary business, often confined to a electronic notebook gadgets. In such a way, this book is a love letter to countless movie theater theaters that are now a thing of the past and in truth there is a ardent tribute to long-gone New York cinemas listed at the beginning of the book. Combining his knowledge of movies and music, Giddins is in my view in the same league as equally talented Will Friedwald (author of "Jazz singing") and ideally this work will motivate others to continue in the same league. Outstanding reading that surely attracts re-visits and it shows how wonderful and sincere the work can be when is done with love., I have unbounded regard for Giddins. His jazz writing is superlative. Their film writing is also well considered, thoughtful and well-written. The only thing is, I needed to sit back and let Giddins expatiate in his usual expansive way. However, this book is tied to very specific box arranged DVD releases and me personally, this creates somewhat unnatural boundaries that make the book less interesting., Although best known as the long time jazz vit for the Village Tone of voice, Gary Giddins "gets" movies. He intimately comprehends, and has the uncanny capacity to bring into concentrate for the reader, not only the bigger picture (which he does, breathtakingly, in an amazingly astute overview of the full-circle journey of motion picture looking at considering that the turn of the last century in the first chapter of his new book, "Warning Dark areas: Home Alone With Classic Cinema"), but also the diverse intricacies of types and sub-genres, of motion picture directors' entire oeuvres, of the basic, indefinable things that makes us wish to watch movies, even when we are going to home alone.
In "Warning Shadows, " a collection of Giddins' DVD reviews for the now defunct Ny Sunlight, he succinctly yet sagaciously delves into the works of time tested auteurs and much-appreciated actors and stars as well as overlooked geniuses and overlooked, would-be masterpieces. He adroitly notes, for instance, that Alfred Hitchcock has experienced the last laugh on his many biographers and critics by remaining the most durably popular studio-era film director in the English-speaking world, and lights up in two essays about the often misinterpreted and misunderstood John Ford more than some have maintained in entire volumes.
Giddins writes in his piece on Noir-cum-Western-cum-Sixties Epic auteur Anthony Mann, "The 1955s were arguably the greatest years of the Western, the period in which generic formulas were at once sustained and destabilized through psychology, revisionism, high style and the sort of magnificence that follows when the most durable cliché t are reframed against time-honored paradigms. " In the same manner Giddins reinterprets much of what is at a be accepted (or dismissed) as cliché in typical cinema, and reframes individual films and entire body of within fresh new evaluations that will make you want to watch them.
Underneath the analytical surface, it's disarmingly obvious in every critique that Giddins is an unabashed fan of cinema, and this fact, manifiesto in each line, makes the book a total happiness to read, for the rest of us unabashed fans as well as the casual reader who may wish to find out more on the defining art form of the twentieth century and some of their most adept practitioners.
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