BG — Theater and Performing Arts

Deutsches Theater-Lexikon: biographisches und bibliographisches Handbuch [Lexicon of German Theater: A Biographical and Bibliographical Handbook]. Wilhelm Kosch, founding editor. Ed. Ingrid Bigler-Marschall. Bern; München: Saur. 25 cm. [05-1-146]

Vol. 5. Uber-Weisbach. 2004. p. 2,685-3,132. ISBN 3-907820-40-1: EUR 248

This is volume five of the Deutsche Theater-Lexikon, which has been appearing gradually in fascicle form since 1953; this volume encompasses fascicles 28-31/32 published from 2000 to 2004. The volumes have been appearing at shorter intervals since Ingrid Bigler-Marschall’s editorship began in 1988 (vol. 1, 1953; vol. 2, 1960; vol. 3, 1992; vol. 4, 1998). Although subtitled as a bio-bibliographical reference work, the work also contains a small number of topical articles; these, however, tend to be drowned out among the mass of biographical entries, and they often duplicate material available in other encyclopedias.

The names of persons selected for inclusion in this volume have been taken from Paul S. Ulrich’s Biographisches Verzeichnis für Theater, Tanz und Musik [Biographical Index for Theatre, Dance and Music] (Berlin, 1997—see IFB 99-B09-382). All persons appearing in Ulrich’s work have been included except those for whom no additional information could be found. Composers and writers have been included only if their primary contributions have been to the stage or their work is of special significance for the history of the theater. Supposedly, articles for major figures easily found in other works of reference have not been included; nevertheless, a significant amount of space is given to figures such as Richard Wagner, Karl Maria von Weber, and Kurt Weill. The majority of the space in these articles is taken up by lists of “Works” and “Literature,” organized by subject, which serve as an overview of each article’s content. A more selective bibliography would have been sufficient.

In view of the long period of time over which the volumes have appeared, it is inevitable that these volumes contain much out-of-date information. Prominent figures have been overlooked and biographies of persons who have since died have not been brought up to date. The work is nevertheless a treasure trove for the second (and lower) tier of figures related to the theater. [sh/rc]

Filmklassiker: Beschreibungen und Kommentare [Film Classics: Descriptions and Commentaries]. Ed. Thomas Koebner, Julia Gerdes, and Kerstin-Luise Neumann. 5th rev. ed. Stuttgart: Reclam, 2006. 15 cm. ISBN 978-3-15-030033-6: EUR 48 [06-1-069]

Vol. 1. 1913-1945. 570 p. ill.

Vol. 2. 1946-1962. 581 p. ill.

Vol. 3. 1963-1977. 577 p. ill.

Vol. 4. 1978-1992. 577 p. ill.

Vol. 5. Ab 1993 [Since 1993]. 411 p. ill.

Expanded to five volumes and with a new back cover picture (from John Ford’s 1956 The Searchers, instead of from Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 Modern Times), this 5th edition contains 583 films in 2,716 pages. The 2002 4th edition (see IFB 04-1-213) covers 533 films in 4 volumes; the 1995 1st edition (see RREO 95-4-600) covers 500 films. Over time some film listings have been deleted and others added: 73 films have been added (9 since the 4th edition)and 25 have been deleted. The dropped titles are primarily those movies that have had great public success, dropped in favor of more artistic films. The selections in this arrangement reflect the fact that many young film specialists were asked to provide their contributions. Still one regrets that films have been deleted and wishes for broader coverage, beyond the U.S.-and Eurocentric bias in cinema and television. Overall this arrangement contains good summaries of the films, with extensive interpretations and information on various reviews of the films. When evaluating this resource, one should compare it to the Metzler-Film-Lexikon (see RREA 12:138). [wub/sas]

Metzler-Film-Lexikon [Metzler Film Encyclopedia]. Ed. Michael Töteberg. 2d rev. and updated ed. Stuttgart; Weimar: Metzler, 2005. vi, 776 p. ill. 23 cm. ISBN 978-3-476-02068-0; ISBN 3-476-02068-1: EUR 29.95 [06-1-070]

The contents and arrangement of this edition are nearly identical to its precursor (Stuttgart; Weimar, 1995—see RREO 95-4-599). One hundred and twenty-two contributors review approximately 520 key cinematic films, with emphasis on the films’ artistic and cinematic significance rather than their entertainment value. This edition has 44 new reviews, mostly of films released since the mid 1990s, while 19 films have been eliminated. The indexes are not as extensive as those of the earlier edition: the director index is now limited to those whose films are reviewed, and the title index of over 1,550 artistically important films has been cut completely. The actor index, bibliography, and glossary remain much the same. It is unfortunate that the coverage was not expanded to include reviews of the many important films indexed in the first edition, as that would seem more in keeping with the stated purpose of this publication. [wub/rg]

Das neue Film-Lexikon: die ganze Welt des Films; Trailer, Kritiken, Bilder; die ultimative Filmdatenbank mit über 75.000 Filmen [The New Film Encyclopedia. The Complete World of Film: Trailers, Criticism, Pictures; the Ultimate Film Database of over 75,000 Films]. Ed. Leonhard H. Gmür in cooperation with Cinema: Europas größte Filmzeitschrift. 1 DVD in case. München: Systhema in the United-Soft-Media-Verlag-GmbH, 2005. 28 cm. ISBN 978-3-8032-2076-9; ISBN 3-8032-2076-9: EUR 49.90 [06-1-071]

The Katholische Filmkommission für Deutschland [Catholic Film Commission for Germany] has published reviews and ratings in its periodical Film-Dienst for every film shown in German cinemas since 1949. These reviews were combined with numerous reference works to form the Lexikon des internationalen Films [International Film Encyclopedia], which was initially released in print (Reinbek bei Hamburg, 1995—see RREO 95-4-598) and then CD-ROM format (München, 1997). This publication has now been joined by Die ganze Welt des Films [The Complete World of Film] to form Das neue Film-Lexikon, available in DVD format. The participation of the periodical Cinema, Europas größte Filmzeitschrift [Cinema, Europe’s Largest Film Periodical] is also new. One wonders whether there is a market for a relatively expensive subscriptionbased DVD resource when the International Movie Database or IMDb is freely available online. The IMDb is more useful for up to the minute information than the DVD, which is updated on an annual basis. The DVD includes a depth of film-related material, including posters, trailers, etc., and allows for sophisticated searching and sorting of results. It comes with detailed instructions and functions with a reasonable reaction time, but it is organized in a visually uninteresting and inconvenient way. It cannot stand up to the English-language IMDb database, but Das neue Film-Lexikon is the only choice for libraries in terms of a German-language database on film. [wub/rg]

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Last update: October 2010 [LC]
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