50 Years of American Cinema
Created by Fidelio.
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Since its first publication in the early sixties and over various updates, "50 ans de cinéma américain" has become the Holy Book of most french cinephiles. Initially published by Jean-Pierre Coursodon and Yves Boisset (with Bertrand Tavernier writing some unsigned articles) as an opuscule called "20 ans de cinéma américain", the book has been totally restructured by Coursodon and Tavernier in the early seventies as "30 ans de cinéma américain", then in 1991 as "50 ans de cinéma américain" and finally updated - for the time being - in 1995.
Due to its form and long sedimentation, division into many sections and the piling up of informations over the years, none list here can really do justice to this book. The highlight and largest section of the book is indisputably the "Dictionary of filmmakers" in which the authors virtually discuss the whole filmographies of more than 250 american directors (this part can't be materialized into a list).
The present list focuses on the first part of the book, a timeline between 1939 and 1993 including the most important and noteworthy movies of each year ("works"). Please note that this section also includes other comments ("facts" and "talents") impossible to transpose here.
The two authors bring up the unmissable masterpieces and commercial triumphs but also a lot of personal picks from overlooked directors or victims of the blacklist (residue of their early years as fervent publicists). They deliberately include some turkeys ("le coin du nanar") and obscurities ("à redécouvrir"), with a strong attention to short features (mainly cartoons).
I hope this list, despite its flaws and restriction to american movies, could be of some utility to ICM users and bring to light which is my favorite book about movies (along with the "Dictionary of Films" from Jacques Lourcelles).
The authors are currently working on a definitive edition of their book - presumably entitled "100 ans de cinéma américain" - that will considerably enlarge the scope, starting from 1914 and to likely reach 2014. Needless to say that most of the previously summoned french cinephiles are awaiting for this like men of God were devotedly expecting the Parousia back in the days.
Missing : "Seven lively arts" (John Hubley, 1959) ???
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Last updated on May 13, 2018;