2008. 171. “Have You Seen..?”


“I wanted a “bumper” book for your laps, a volume where you could keep turning the pages and coming upon juxtapositions of the fanciful and fabulous (Abbott and Costello go to Zabriskie Point) or some chance alphabetical postry that might make your scalp tingle - like Bad Day at Black Rock leading into Badlands.”

“Have You Seen...?”, David Thomson

This is a collection of 1000 essays on 1ooo films, by film critic Thomson, author of The Biographical Dictionary of Film and The Whole Equation  (and a former Dartmouth professor!).  In his own words, the book includes “masterpieces, oddities, guilty pleasures and classics - with just a few disasters).  Thomson is a great film critic, with an idiosyncratic point of view.  He knows what he likes - the bulk of the book seemed to be new wave French films and 1930’s drama and he has a mad pash for Nicole Kidman (as was evidenced in the grim The Whole Equation a book I disliked as much as I adored the Biographical Dictionary).  I wish there has been more modern film, but mostly I wish there had just been more - I could have gone on forever reading his essays - how often do you read a 1000 page book in a week? (and man, was this the perfect breastfeeding book or what - so easy to pick up and put down!).  It made me want to go out and watch as many of the films as possible - which is really the point of a book like this, to make you want see the movies the author loves - and so even if I don’t always agree with Thomson, I am super glad that I read the book.  I may even go buy myself a copy (this was from the library), and try to work my way through the list (you know me and lists!).  A must for any film lover - and consider the Biographical Dictionary as well - you wouldn’t think that you’d want to read a dictionary of films stars from cover to cover, but Thomson is so entertainingly opinionated, that it’s a delight.  


Date/Place Completed: 11/30/08; D.C.

Categories: Non-Fiction; Library Book

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017