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Book Review: The Times On Cinema

The Times on Cinema is a fascinting film book that covers a wide range of films and genres. It goes through the huge back catalogue of reviews, interviews, features and the like that have featured in The Times and Sunday Times over the years.

‘It is up to the Great Film Critic in the Sky to deal with Life of Brian.’ Penelope Mortimer LETTERS TO THE EDITOR In 1958, The Times referred to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo as ‘not an important film or even major Hitchcock’. In 2012, they reported that it had been declared the best film of all time. Cinematic history is filled with hindsight; filled with tales of the ‘underdog’ being talked down only to rise triumphantly – nobody thought The Wizard of Oz or Titanic would be remotely successful. But they were. In The Times on Cinema, celebrated film author and journalist Brian Pendreigh throws open the archives on one of Britain’s favourite pastimes. From the Fatty Arbuckle scandal in the 1920s to the infamous Oscars mix up of 2017, from Harry Potter to James Bond, cinema’s most revered and sharp-tongued critics line up to review and retell some of the world’s most famous films and infamous events.

It is a supremely interesting book and perfect for dipping into. Whether it is a review for one of your favourite films or something you have never heard of, you will probably learn something new. From Hollywood scandals (old and new), details on how some film legends started their career, to in-depth looks at various film genres and interviews with various people in the business, you will end up being constantly surprised.

I found it amazing how many classic movies were classed as flops when they were first released.

It also features various lists, such as Top 20 actors, classic actors and more. Running through the book is the Top 100 Films. Also included are various filmmakers, writers and actors- Simon Pegg, John Lasseter, Rob Marshall, Mark Kermode and Simon Callow to name but a few – talking about some of their favourite movies.

Packed full of so many different things to read there are also various photos (mainly black and white, but a few in colour) to round things out.

With Christmas heading our way, this is definitely a book worth getting for any cinephile. Even if you only have a passing interest in film you will still find something fascinating within.

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