DVD Corner's blog

News, dvd and blu-ray reviews

Taschen: 100 All-Time Favorite Movies Book Review

Taschen- 100 All-Time Favorite Movies Book

“Taschen: 100 All-Time Favorite Movies” is a majestic love letter to cinema.

Edited by Jurgen Muller, “Taschen: 100 All-Time Favorite Movies” is a two paperback book set that covers 100 of the best films (according to a staff of 25 authors/journalists/professors) from the years 1915 to 2000. The first volume covers 1915-1959 while the second tackles 1960-2000.

List wise, there’s nothing too surprising here as there are the expected revolutionary silent films (like “Nosferatu,” “The General” and “Metropolis”), beloved comedies (namely “Duck Soup” “Some Like It Hot” and “The Gold Rush”), epics (“Gone With The Wind” and “Ben-Hur”), classics (“Citizen Kane,” “Casablanca,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,”  “The Seven Samurai,” “La Dolce Vita,” and “The Godfather”), a few semi obscure titles (“Fan-Fan The Tulip,” Paul Verhoeven’s “The Fourth Man” and the underrated “Elevator To The Scaffolds”), and a large number of masterpieces (and personal favorites) such as “King Kong” (the original of course), “Psycho,” “Goldfinger,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Star Wars,” and “Blue Velvet.” Perhaps the only film that feels strangely out of place here is John Woo’s “Face/Off.”

From a content perspective, this book contains a wealth of information. Not only does Muller provide his own thoughts on each decade of cinema (starting with the 20’s) prior to each decade’s listing of top films, but he really digs into the evolution of cinema. Throughout the course of his decade pieces, he writes about film history, film as an art form, silent and sound films, iconic films and stars of each decade, imagery, genres, the wonder year of cinema (1939), international cinema, auteurs, historical events, technological changes and much more.

The bulk of the content, however, lies with the 100 films listed. Each of the authors does a noteworthy job of analyzing, praising, and breaking down the film’s story, themes, and historical significance. Whether the political and social commentaries of “Duck Soup” are being touched on or the neorealism of “Bicycle Thieves” is being described, you can be sure that each film entry is thorough. On top of all of that, readers get critic and film quotes, bios of directors (or stars) of each of the 100 films, and an extensive amount of glossy B&W or color film and poster images (some of which span two pages).

Last, but not least, it should be noted that the end of book two lists Oscar winners from major categories from 1927 (the first year of the Academy Awards) to 1999. It might be meaningless to some, but I’ve always found the Academy Awards to be an enjoyable film tradition (even if doesn’t quite have the same impact it once did).

Overall Thoughts: “Taschen: 100 All-Time Favorite Movies” certainly makes a great starting point for new film buffs, but it will also appeal to veteran cinema lovers (like myself). Whether the book gives you a deeper appreciation of certain films, make you think about ideas you never caught on to, or drives you to watch/re-watch films listed, readers are bound to have a positive reaction to this thoughtfully written material.

January 10, 2014 - Posted by | Book review | , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: