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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor comes an indispensable analysis of our most celebrated medium: film.
No art form is as instantly and continuously gratifying as film. When the houselights go down and the lion roars, we settle in to be shocked, frightened, elated, moved, and thrilled. We expect magic. While we're being exhilarated and terrified, our minds are also processing data of all sorts - visual, linguistic, auditory, spatial - to collaborate in the construction of meaning.
Thomas C. Foster's Reading the Silver Screen will show movie buffs, students of film, and even aspiring screenwriters and directors how to transition from merely being viewers to becoming accomplished readers of this great medium. Beginning with the grammar of film, Foster demonstrates how every art form has a grammar, a set of practices and if-then propositions that amount to rules. He goes on to explain how the language of film enables movies to communicate the purpose behind their stories and the messages they are striving to convey to audiences by following and occasionally breaking these rules.
Using the investigative approach listeners loved in How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Foster examines this grammar of film through various classic and current movies both foreign and domestic, with special recourse to the "AFI 100 Years...100 Movies" lists. The categories are idiosyncratic yet revealing.
In Reading the Silver Screen, listeners will gain the expertise and confidence to glean all they can from the movies they love.
©2016 Thomas C. Foster (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Jay Quintana on 10-20-17

Movies 101

If it were titled as such, I would give this 5 stars across the board. Alas, it's subtitled as a book for film lovers. It's not. Almost everything that is in it, I already knew. This is a book for beginners. In that regard, it's an excellent introduction to the subject.

A little OT, but I highly recommend the author's books on literature. They did provide me with a new way of looking at the classics.

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2 out of 5 stars
By Bayman on 02-26-18

Written by a dinosaur--in 2016

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Foster's overriding message made me sad: only movies made by white men will be given serious consideration in his book.

What could Thomas C. Foster have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Foster, while very knowledgeable in certain areas, has a myopic view of cinema. His lengthy discussions focus almost exclusively on movies made by white men (there is a brief mention of Nora Ephron and her RomComs) While there is no doubt that the films that he repeatedly celebrates are wonderful, the shockingly narrow focus of the collection compromises his credibility--as well as that of his editor. I would have loved to see Foster discuss films made by a richer mix of directors--men, women, people of color, etc -and demonstrate that great art is made by all kinds of people. Instead, he chose irresponsibly to perpetuate the white male myth...and that is not good for anyone.

What about Sean Pratt’s performance did you like?

Great voice, good pacing and pleasant to listen to.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Reading the Silver Screen?

The parts where he tries to demonstrate how many shots it takes to create a scene did not work. I think the first time he does this is with Bourne Identity. He counts out something like 50+ shots. This might work in a printed book but in an Audible it got tedious.

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