Turner Classic Movies: The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies And Why They Matter Book Review
“Turner Classic Movies: The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies And Why They Matter” is too basic for film buffs.
Writer/film historian Jeremy Arnold’s book “Turner Classic Movies: The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies And Why They Matter” is exactly what the title suggests. Each of the 52 films listed are accompanied by a poster, film stills, credits, quotes by industry pros or experts, and a “What to look for” section that points out moments such as the iconic mirror sequence in “Duck Soup,” Harry Lime’s entrance in “The Third Man,” and the use of steadicam in “Rocky.” The bulk of the book involves a multi-page blurb about why each film is essential. Readers can expect these pieces to dive into trivia, the film’s history and influence, awards, box office, and behind-the-scenes stories. As an example of what to expect, there are writings about the violence in “Bonnie and Clyde,” the “Ballet of the Red Shoes” sequence in “The Red Shoes,” and the epic big budget spectacle of “Ben-Hur” (the original, of course).
If you’re a film buff, there is nothing remotely surprising here as the book’s 52 films include the usual suspects such as “King Kong,” “Casablanca,” “Singin’ In The Rain,” “Citizen Kane,” and “Seven Samurai” (I don’t know how “Star Wars didn’t make this list though). All of the films highlighted are generally great pieces of cinema, but they’re all very safe and established picks. That’s not to say you won’t learn anything from this book though as Jeremy Arnold provides a wealth of information and trivia (I never knew about that “Seven Samurai” and Yoda connection for instance). With all of that said, if you’re a casual film fan or are looking for a list of great classic films to seek out, this TCM book is a great starting point.
Note: The book begins with a foreword by TCM TV host Robert Osborne and an intro by author Jeremy Arnold and concludes with a bibliography, index, and acknowledgments.
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