Lexikon des internationalen Films [International Film Lexicon] : das komplette Angebot in Kino, Fernsehen und auf Video / ed. by Horst Peter Koll ... Under the auspices of the Katholisches Institut für Medieninformation (KIM) and the Katholische Filmkommission für Deutschland. - Completely rev. and expanded ed. - Reinbek bei Hamburg : Rowohlt, 1995. - [ Vols. 1-10] ; 22 cm. - ISBN 3-499-16357-8 : DM 198.00

This is the most comprehensive source for reviews of German films, also including international (especially American) films found in other sources. The Lexikon provides information on 40,000 films originally discussed in German Catholic film publications (supplemented by other sources) and informs potential viewers of the suitability of each film in the context of Roman Catholic values. The short reviews are somewhat formulaic, but over half also refer to the longer treatments to be found in Film-Dienst. Each review gives a plot summary, a recommendation (or not), and lists actors and their roles. The index volume - for persons only - includes directors. A separate index of foreign original titles would have been better integrated into the main index. A CD-ROM version has been announced for Easter 1996. [wub/rp]


Metzler-Film-Lexikon / ed. by Michael Töteberg. - Stuttgart ; Weimar : Metzler, 1995. - 730 p. ; 23 cm. - ISBN 3-476-00946-7 : DM 58.00

In contrast to the Lexikon des internationalen Films (95-4-598, above), where the listings are brief but the coverage comprehensive, this work provides a nuanced analysis of 500 films, both key films as well as films especially characteristic of a given genre. Plot summaries are detailed; the entries are signed and include bibliographic references. The principle guiding this publication is that film is art and an essential component of today's media culture. Thus the book itself is well done, both as a physical object and in terms of the accompanying apparatus, which includes a short glossary, a bibliography of subjects and directors, and indexes of film titles, directors, actors, and finally of the authors of the articles. [wub/rp]


Filmklassiker [Film Classics] : Beschreibung und Kommentare / Ed. by Thomas Koebner with Kerstin-Luise Neumann. - Stuttgart : Reclam. - 15 cm. - (Universal-Bibliothek ; ...). - ISBN 3-15-030011-8 : DM 78.00

Vol. 1 1913-1946. - 1995. - 558 p. : ill. - ( ... ; 9416). - 3-15-009416-X

Vol. 2 1947-1964. - 1995. - 689 p. : ill. - ( ... ; 9417). - 3-15-009417-8

Vol. 3 1965-1981. - 1995. - 583 p. : ill. - ( ... ; 9418). - 3-15-009418-6

Vol. 4 1982-1994. - 1995. - 476 p. : ill. - (... ; 9419). - 3-15-009419-4

Like the Metzler lexicon (95-4-599, above), this work offers about 500 reviews, though they are more individual in style. The arrangement is chronological and the reviews are between two and five pages long. They generally give a brief plot summary, interpretation and evaluation, with bibliographic references. With a large number of critics contributing, the aims and quality of the reviews vary throughout, but they are always readable and informative. There are brief factual details of each film, and occasional photos. In addition to a general index, each volume has its own index, with some access points found in both the general and the volume indexes, some found in just the general index, others only in the volume indexes. Koebner writes in his preface that his selection is not intended to be canonical. Over half of them, he writes, are by general consensus "classics," while opinions vary on the others. This observation is confirmed by taking listings from the letter "A" in this volume and in Reclam: 33 films are reviewed in both, 19 only in Reclam, 21 only in the Metzler title. Koebner's selections are more oriented to popular taste, the Reclam films are more "arty." [wub/rp]


Fischer-Filmgeschichte [Fischer History of Film] / Werner Faulstich ; Helmut Korte (eds.) - Original ed. - Frankfurt am Main : Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag. - 19 cm. - ([Fischer- Taschenbücher] ; ... : Fischer-Cinema)

Vol. 1. 1895-1924. - 1994. - 446 p. - (... ; 4491). - ISBN 3-596- 24491-9 : DM 26.90

Vol. 2. 1925-1944. - 1994. - 360 p. - (... ; 4492). - ISBN 3-596- 24492-7 : DM 26.90

Vol. 3. 1945-1960. - 1990. - 415 p. - (... ; 4493). - ISBN 3-596- 24493-? : DM 26.90

Vol. 4. 1961-1976. - 1993. - 310 p. - (... ; 4494). - ISBN 3-596- 24494-3 : DM 24.80

Vol. 5. 1977-1995. - 1995. - 345 p. - (... ; 4495). - ISBN 3-596- 24495-1 : DM 29.90

This is not really a comprehensive history of film as such, but instead a collection of in-depth studies, in which for each year from 1903 to the present - some early years are skipped - a single film is selected and subjected to a close analysis. Each article also provides a selected bibliography, a list of related films, and a detailed transcript of sequences. Curiously, there are no summaries of filmographic details. Essays at the beginning or conclusion of each volume provide an overview and justify the selection of films. Though the criteria for selection are specified (success, influence, representativeness), the choice seems, inevitably, arbitrary. Nonetheless, the overall impression is that great expertise (of the academic variety) has gone into the creation of this work. [wub/sl]


Mein Kino [My Cinema] : die 100 schönsten Filme / Hellmuth Karasek. - Rev. ed. - München : Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, 1995. - 479 p. : ill. ; 19 cm. - (dtv ; 30507). - ISBN 3-423-30507-X : DM 19.90

Both selection and reviews of these "one-hundred most beautiful movies" are very subjective. One cannot help but notice that the author, mostly known as a literary critic, places the Golden Age of German film in the Third Reich. [wub/hsb]


Die Chronik des Films [Chronology of the Cinema] / [Authors: Brigitte Beier...]. In collaboration with the Deutsches Institut für Filmkunde, Frankfurt/M. - Gütersloh ; München : Chronik-Verlag im Bertelsmann-Lexikon Verlag, 1994. - 640 p. ; 30 cm. - ISBN 3-570-14337-6 : DM 98.00

Organized by year (before 1919 in groups of years), this encyclopedic work covers some 2,500 movies in illustrated articles or listings. Boxed texts devoted to individuals, events, and themes, cross referenced to the articles and illustrated with photographs, create a strongly journalistic impression. Technical details such as running times and production companies are excluded, there are no evaluations, but the plot summaries are informative. Indexes are provided for a variety of access points. This book is very much dominated by its emphasis on visual presentation, so that though dubbed a "chronology," it is in the final analysis rather ahistorical. [wub/hsb]


Chronik des deutschen Films [Chronology of German Cinema] : 1895-1994 / Hans Helmut Prinzler. - Stuttgart ; Weimar : Metzler, 1995. - 464 p. ; 23 cm. - ISBN 3-476-01290-5 : DM 58.00

Covers German films exclusively. Starting in 1895, each annual entry starts with a half-page black and white illustration, followed by statistics (e.g., of movie theaters, spectators, films), as well as important events, major movies of the year (with brief summary information), further films (with even briefer information), and - one of this work's strengths - bibliographic citations of film books published that year. Notable is a section on films produced in exile from 1933-1945 (of course, there have been films made outside Germany with German participation before and since then). Inclusion of more Swiss and Austrian films would have been desirable. This work is mostly facts and figures, with little analysis or evaluation. [wub/hsb]


Reclams Lexikon des deutschen Films [Reclam's Encyclopedia of German Cinema] / ed. by Thomas Kramer. - Stuttgart : Reclam, 1995. - 476 p. : ill. ; 22 cm. - ISBN 3-15-010410-6 : DM 49.80

This is a collection of over 600 movie reviews and 74 biographical essays of film directors. The selection is broad-based, including international productions with German participation and many films that are not necessarily widely known. Each review includes a fairly detailed contents summary and a few sentences of evaluation, as well as black-and-white illustrations. Documentaries and television films are excluded. Also missing are filmographic details such as production companies and running times. The section on film directors is incomplete, with many important names missing. [wub/hsb]


Lexikon Filmschauspieler international [International Encyclopedia of Movie Actors] / ed. by Hans-Michael Bock. [In collaboration with CineGraph, Hamburgisches Centrum für Filmforschung e.V.]. - 1st ed. - Berlin : Henschel-Verlag, 1995. - 924 p. ; 25 cm. - ISBN 3-89487-199-7 : DM 98.00

This biographical encyclopedia is meant to update Filmschauspieler A-Z [Actors A-Z] by Joachim Reichow and Michael Hanisch (7th ed., 1989), published in the German Democratic Republic. The older editions were unique in their coverage of actors from Eastern Europe and the GDR. It is therefore important that libraries keep them. The new work contains 1016 entries: more Western actors& - and fewer "Eastern" ones. As one might expect, the work is especially strong in its coverage of German actors. The lack of illustrations is striking (older editions had small portraits for most entries). Many entries have been only superficially updated. Various key indexes, announced back in 1994, unfortunately did not materialize. This work gets a mixed review: one is glad to have such an encyclopedia at all, while it is regrettable that the level of care reflected in earlier editions has not been maintained. [wub/hsb]


Italian Film : a Who's Who / by John Stewart. - Jefferson, NC ; London : McFarland, 1994. - xvi, 812 p. ; 24 cm. - ISBN 0-89950-761-1 : $95.00

A characteristic of Who's who-type reference tools is their lack of commentary and analysis, and John Stewart offers a first-rate example of this genre: 4,991 biographical entries are arranged in alphabetical order, with a short designation of profession, birth date and place, death date and place if applicable, followed by a chronological arrangement of titles of films and the individual's function in them. A bibliography with approximately 180 entries precedes an index of films with the numbers of the biographical entries indicated. By diligent consultation and repeated page-flipping, it is indeed possible to assemble a list of the important individuals associated with a given film, but in many cases only a few entries are available, or even only one. The index directs the user to the original title from title variants or the English title. The perhaps unavoidable international character of a work which purports to be a national biography is remarkable. Entries are provided for numerous non-Italian individuals who have participated in Italian productions, and the index provides entries for non-Italian films in which Italians have worked. Three Italian-language titles which provide more comprehensive information of this nature are the Filmlexicon degli autori e delle opere. Autori (1958-1994), the Dizionario del cinema italiano (1981- ), and for silent films, Il cinema muto italiano (1991- ). [wub/sbd]


Geschichte des Films [The History of Film] / Jerzy Toeplitz. [Trans. from the Polish and ed. by Lilli Kaufmann]. - Reprint ed. - Berlin : Henschel-Verlag, 1992. - 5 v. : ill. - 23 cm. - Original Polish title : Historia sztuki filmowej - ISBN 3-362-00616-7 : DM 198.00

This classic international history of film by Jerzy Toeplitz is mentioned here as a reminder of how important thematic depictions can be in supplementing reference works. Available in Polish since 1955, in German since 1972, but never translated into English, the work was made available in 1992 in five paperbound volumes at a reasonable price (since reduced by half). Toeplitz's work contributed significantly to the process of canonization in international film history, especially for the interwar period, and his approach to the history of film has influenced our perceptions down to the present day. Coverage leaves off at the year 1953, due not only to the advanced age of the author, but also to the complex branching out of international film production in the 1950s. Each volume contains a detailed index and bibliography. The problems caused by the lack of a comprehensive index are mitigated somewhat by the chronological grouping and regional subgrouping in each volume. Toeplitz is essential for every library. [wub/sbd]


Das Western-Lexikon [The Encyclopedia of Westerns] : 1567 Filme von 1894 bis heute / [Joe Hembus]. - New and exp. ed. / by Benjamin Hembus. - München : Heyne, 1995. - 832 p. ; 21 cm. - ([Heyne-Bücher] : 32, Heyne-Filmbibliothek ; 207). - ISBN 3-453-08121-8 : DM 24.90

The anniversary year of cinema also appears to be the year in which monuments to historical film genres are erected, or dedicated anew. Joe Hembus published the only German-language encyclopedia of Westerns in 1976, a monument in its own time. An expanded paperback version appeared in 1978. Upon the author's death in 1985, it seemed that no newer edition would be possible. As we now see, this pessimism was premature.

A concern for accuracy and a breezy, readable style were characteristics of the original editions, but now also of the newest compilation completed by Joe's son, Benjamin. Included are 1567 films that have been shown in Germany since 1946 - 240 more than in the 1978 edition of his father. Films are rated with zero through four stars, applied with varying consistency. The filmographic information also varies in its depth. Films are listed under their German titles - often just a literal translation of the original, and the index of original titles helps not only with the problematic arrangement by definite/indefinite article, but also because the descriptive texts contain references to films in their original titles. References to historical figures, events, and subgenres have been left out of this newest edition, but Joe Hembus' essay on the genre "Western" has been retained, expanded by Benjamin Hembus to discuss the apparent "decline" of the genre since 1980. Sergio Leone's foreword is also retained in the newest edition. [wub/sbd]


Enzyklopädie des Kriminalfilms [Encyclopedia of Mystery Films] / ed. by Holger Wacker. - Meitingen : Corian-Verlag Wimmer. - Looseleaf ed. - 23 cm.

Basic text. - Current as of January 1995. - 1995. - ISBN 3-89048-250-3 : DM 98.00 (includes binder)

The looseleaf edition of the Enzyklopädie des Kriminalfilms is designed to be a comprehensive reference, but it is only in its beginning stages. The work is divided into four parts: Film, Television, Individuals, and Themes/Aspects. Of these, the section on television appears to be a recent afterthought. Films are described in widely different degrees of detail. The introductory filmographic information is followed by a plot synopsis, followed by discussion and references to secondary literature. To pass judgment on the basic text (153 films) with its first supplement (22 films) may be premature, but the work as it stands now is of equivocal quality, at times comprehensive but then arbitrary in its selection of films, wavering between obsessive detail and superficiality in the descriptive passages. It would be desirable if the publisher and editor would make the effort now to turn this work into a truly encyclopedic resource. [wub/sbd]


Das Heyne-Lexikon des erotischen Films [The Heyne Encyclopedia of Erotic Films] : über 1600 Filme von 1933 bis heute / Ronald M. Hahn. - München : Heyne, 1995. - 624 p. ; 21 cm. - ([Heyne-Bücher] ; 32, Heyne-Filmbibliothek ; 224). - ISBN 3-453-09010-1 : DM 19.90

The film encyclopedist Hahn describes 1600 pornographic and soft-core films aimed at a heterosexual audience. Cinematographic information of varying completeness is followed by a short description of content, and an even shorter critique. The black-and-white pictures illustrating the distinguishing features of these films are of poor quality. A directors index lists their films, and an index of original titles refers to the German titles, under which the entries are found. The bibliography is not worth mentioning. Only the author knows what films like Die barfüßige Gräfin, Blow up and Die Sünderin (and certainly there are others) are doing in such a work. [wub/sbd]


Spuren des Religiösen im Film [Traces of the Religious in Film] : Meilensteine aus 100 Jahren Kinogeschichte / ed. by Peter Hasenberg ... For the "Zentralstelle Medien" of the German Conference of Bishops, Bonn, and the "Katholischer Mediendienst," Zürich. - Mainz : Matthias-Grünewald-Verlag ; Köln : Katholisches Institut für Medieninformation (KIM), 1995. - 260 p. ; 23 cm. - ISBN 3-7867-1827-X : DM 36.00

This work is not an encyclopedia of religious films, but a listing of 88 "milestones from 100 years of film history." The work lists not only prominent masterpieces, but also important popular films with religious themes which examine some aspect of Christian faith, with the Catholic perspective predominating. Inclusion was determined by a poll of the members of the Catholic film commissions in Germany and Switzerland. The book's purpose is not clear, and may indeed serve only to legitimize the work of the commissions, or to emphasize the importance of religious themes as a motif. Films of the last four decades make up the largest part of the book, while historical films are only sparsely represented. Arranged alphabetically by German title, the entries include cinematographic information and bibliographical references. Indexes of original and German titles and directors, an additional list of references and contact addresses complete the book, which, due to the brevity of its entries, makes it more of a guide than an in-depth study. [wub/sbd]


Religion im Film [Religion in Film] : Lexikon mit Kurzkritiken und Stichworten zu 1200 Kinofilmen / Katholisches Institut für Medieninformation (KIM). Comp. by Peter Hasenberg ... - 2nd, rev. ed. - Köln, 1993. - 353 p. - ISBN 3-925161-05-8 : DM 69.80 (Book and diskette). - (KIM, Am Hof 28, D-50667 Köln)

This work describes 1200 films shown in German theaters or on German television since 1945, based on the short descriptions in Film-Dienst, the Lexikon des internationalen Films (1987 ed., 95-4-598, above), and in Filme in der DDR. The entries are arranged according to the films' German titles. The short critiques are followed by cinematographic information and a reference to longer reviews, if published, in Film-Dienst, as well as key words and genre descriptions. Indexes of content and genre categories, an index of characters, and an index of original titles complete the volume. The 1994 edition on diskette describes an additional 100 films, and is searchable by keyword and full text. The intensive concern with access to film content makes this encyclopedia unusually practical, despite the fact that the key words are sometimes more artificial than artful. As a result of the large number of films included, the work is not limited only to "Catholic-friendly," "Bible," or "church films." Hardware requirements: IBM-compatible PC (386 or higher with 4 MB RAM) with 5" or 3 1/2" disk drive, Windows 3.1 or higher, hard drive with 5 MB free capacity, VGA monitor. [wub/sbd]

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