The Schoolmen ride again

Richard Mayne

  • Cinema: A Critical Dictionary: The Major Film-Makers edited by Richard Roud
    Secker, 1120 pp, £25.00, February 1980, ISBN 0 436 42830 X
  • The Dream that Kicks: The Prehistory and Early Years of Cinema in Britain by Michael Chanan
    Routledge, 356 pp, £12.50, January 1980, ISBN 0 7100 0319 6

As good new films grow fewer, books on the cinema multiply. Is critical attention the sign of a dying art? Or is it that more films now merit scrutiny? It’s tempting to think that they do – until we remember how many critics anatomise trivia, how much trash still accumulates, and how often this month’s masterpieces turn into the schlock of yesteryear. No: the fact is that movie critics have changed.

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