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Molly Haskell Recommends Books on Film

Molly Haskell is one of cinema’s most insightful, influential, and intelligent critics. Since the 1960s, her writing has appeared in the Village Voice, the New York Times, the Guardian UK, Esquire, The Nation, the New York Review of Books, and many more. Her books include From Reverence to Rape: the Treatment of Women in the Movies (1973; 1989, 2016); Love and Other Infectious Diseases; Frankly My Dear: Gone with the Wind Revisited; and My Brother My Sister: Story of a Transformation (2013). In 1997, Oxford University Press published a collection of essays and interviews, Holding My Own in No Man's Land. Steven Spielberg: A Life in Films (part of Yale’s Jewish Lives series), will be published in January 2017. Visit her website at www.mollyhaskell.com

A Library member and friend since 1977, we recently asked Ms. Haskell to recommend a list of essential books on film. All titles—and many more—can be found in the Library stacks, most in stack 12 in the 791 call number range.

Andrew Sarris | The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968 (1968) 

The classic that reexamined studio directors and ushered in a new era of cinephile auteur criticism.

Pauline Kael | I Lost it At the Movies (1965)

The first collection of her hugely influential reviews. The battle between Kael and Sarris galvanized film lovers and reviewers, creating what Phillip Lopate called the heroic age of movie criticism.   

American Movie Critics: An Anthology from the Silents Until Now (Phillip Lopate, ed., 2006)

Published by the Library of America.

David Thomson | The New Biographical Dictionary of Film (2014)

The provocative without-which-not for movie lovers. 

Two on Film Noir: 

Film Noir Reader (Alain Silver and James Ursini, eds., 1996)

Foster Hirsch | The Dark Side of the Screen (2001)

Three on Screwball Comedy: 

Ed Sikov | Screwball: Hollywood’s Madcap Romantic Comedies (1989) 

James Harvey | Romantic Comedy in Hollywood from Lubitsch to Sturges (1987)

Stanley Cavell |  Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage (1981)

Roger Ebert | The Great Movies (2002) and/or The Great Movies II (2005) 

An always reliable viewer and reviewer.

Francois Truffaut | Hitchcock (1967)

A brilliant nuts-and-bolts conversation between the two directors. 

David Bordwell | On the History of Film Style (1997) 

An academic who often writes with wife Kristin Thompson, for the knowledgeable reader.

Jeanine Basinger | The Star Machine (2007) 

A passionate writer and teacher.

Michael Wood | America in the Movies: or, "Santa Maria, it had slipped my mind" (1975)

By the perceptive English scholar and critic.

Geoff Dyer | Zona: A Book about a Film about a Journey to a Room (2012)

A wonderfully idiosyncratic, digression-filled take on Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker.