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Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013, and was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize. His television program, Ebert and Roeper, was syndicated in more than two hundred markets. His books include Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook, Roger Ebert's Book of Film, I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie, and The Perfect London Walk. He lived in Chicago.
These two volumes by Ebert, possibly America's most famous film critic, and by the American Association of Film Critics, a group that includes Ebert essentially define the canon of American film studies. Both volumes provide short essays on 100 different films. Although one list has been chosen by a group of film writers and critics after much discussion and dissent and the other is a highly personal compendium of "landmarks of the first century of cinema," the lists are stunningly similar. Together, they provide a survey of the American and foreign films that have provoked the most interest in American film critics. It would be fair to note that American films dominate, with American productions accounting for 50-60 percent of the titles in both volumes and the rest of the world being represented by an assortment of European works and a handful of Asian films. Ebert's essays are culled from his weekly feature in the Chicago Sun Times (check out the paper's web site to read the essays); The A List entries are written by a number of well-known film writers, including Carr, Andrew Sarris, Robert Sklar, and Armond White. The essays in both books are well written, accessible, and, in many cases, thought-provoking. Whether both books are necessary purchases is another matter. It is unlikely that any moderately comprehensive collection will need another couple of essays about Citizen Kane; 2001, A Space Odyssey; or Battleship Potemkin. However, the collections do discuss many lesser-known films, such as Dance, Girl Dance; Happy Together; and the British "Up" documentaries, and so could be a wonderful introduction to 20th-century cinema for the general reader. Both books are recommended for academic and public libraries, though the fact that Ebert's essays have already been published and in circulation for some years recommends The A List over The Great Movies if a choice has to be made. Andrea Slonosky, Long Island Univ., Brooklyn, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"This is a wonderful book, an appreciation of the greatest movies by the greatest movie enthusiast--and also the shrewdest, the most humane and clear-sighted. I read this book with pleasure, enlightenment, and a desire to see many of the movies again, because I had missed what Roger saw." -- Paul Theroux From the Hardcover edition.