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Film Art: An Introduction
David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson

The Making of a Feature Film (Pelican)

The Making of a Feature Film (Pelican) - Ivan Butler The Making of Feature Films: A Guide is not, despite what the title may seem to imply, a guide to making feature films. Rather, it is a book that showcases the people who do make them. As the author says in the book's own preface: "the book is intended as a documentary rather than a textbook... My purpose is to provide an account of the processes involved in the making of feature films today."

The books deals with some of the many people involved in the making of a film, i.e. the Producer, the Director, the Scriptwriter, the Actor(s), the Cameraman, the Art Director, the Costume Designer, Special Effectsman, The Continuity Girl, the Editor, the Composer, Sound Mixers, the Distributor, the Censors, and even the Cinema managers and projectionists. The books spends varying amounts of time on each role, from 50 pages on The Director to 2 pages on The Continuity Girl.

The book mostly consists of original interviews (though there are a few from older publications) with people who work in the film industry, whether they be directors, editors, etc. Interviewees of note include John Frankenheimer, Lindsay Anderson, Jack Clayton, Sidney Lumet, John Huston, George Sidney, Fred Zinnemann, Terence Young, Richard Lester, Roman Polanski, John Schlesinger, Otto Preminger, J. Lee Thompson, Jack Cardiff, Peter Hall, and Tony Richardson.

This is a rather dated book on the film industry (published 1971) and though that is the point of the book, to document above all else, it may be a bit disappointing for readers looking for something more along the lines of an actual guide. So dated, in fact, that one of the main discussion points in the interviews is the directors' feelings on the advent of color films.

It is a surprisingly good book though, surprising in that it is now old and forgotten. It can be pretty insightful when it comes to the behind the scenes of filmmaking and it has some great interviews with some impressive filmmakers. It's also not a dull or commercial affair; the author, Ivan Butler, seems to be very passionate about film and approaches this book as more of a work of film theory and film as an art rather than a cash-in on the medium.

I found this randomly in a thrift store so I can't imagine where you may find this nowadays (ahem, Amazon.com), but it was well worth the approximate $1 I spent.

An enjoyable read with a fine overview of the people who populate the film studios.