Understanding Movies

Understanding Movies

3.81 (584 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

List price: US$67.98

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


For undergraduate courses in Introduction to Film, Introduction to Cinema, and Film and Drama.

Designed to help students analyze movies with precision and technical sophistication, this book focuses on formalism-how the forms of the film (e.g., camera work, editing, photography, etc.) create meaning. It retains the same principle of organization as its predecessors-structuring chapters around the realism-formalism dichotomy-while it updates each chapter to integrate more recent developments, contemporary films, and personalities in the field.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 556 pages
  • 187.5 x 231.1 x 21.3mm | 875.45g
  • Pearson
  • United States
  • English
  • 9th edition
  • glossary, index
  • 0130408131
  • 9780130408136

Table of contents

(NOTE: Each chapter begins with an Overview and concludes with a Further Reading section.)

1. Photography.

Realism and Formalism. The Shots. The Angles. Light and Dark. Color. Lenses, Filters, Stocks, Opticals, and Gauges. The Cinematographer.

2. Mise en Scene.

The Frame. Composition and Design. Territorial Space. Proxemic Patterns. Open and Closed Forms.

3. Movement.

Kinetics. The Moving Camera. Mechanical Distortions of Movement.

4. Editing.

Continuity. D.W. Griffith and Classical Cutting. Soviet Montage and the Formalist Tradition. Andre Bazin and the Tradition of Realism. Hitchcock's North by Northwest: Storyboard Version.

5. Sound.

Historical Background. Sound Effects. Music. Musicals and Opera. Spoken Language.

6. Acting.

Stage and Screen Acting. The American Star System. Styles of Acting. Casting.

7. Drama.

Time, Space, and Language. The Director. Settings and Decor. Costumes and Makeup.

8. Story.

Narratology. The Spectator. The Classical Paradigm. Realistic Narratives. Formalistic Narratives. Nonfictional Narratives. Genre and Myth.

9. Writing.

The Screenwriter. The Screenplay. North by Northwest: Reading Version. Figurative Comparisons. Point of View. Literary Adaptations.

10. Ideology.

The Left-Center-Right Model. Culture, Religion, and Ethnicity. Feminism. Gay Liberation. Tone.

11. Theory.

Theories of Realism. Formalist Film Theories. The Auteur Theory. Eclectic and Synthetic Theories. Structuralism and Semiology. Historiography.

12. Synthesis: Citizen Kane .

Photography. Mise en Scene. Movement. Editing. Sound. Acting. Drama. Story. Writing. Ideology. Theory.


show more

About Louis D. Giannetti

Louis Giannetti is a Professor of English and Film at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Educated at Boston University and the University of Iowa. He has published many articles, both popular and scholarly, on political subjects, literature, and drama. In addition to being a professional film critic for several years, he has written about movies for such scholarly journals as Literature/Film Quarterly, The Western Humanities Review, and Film Criticism. Dr. Giannetti is also the author of a book on cinema theory, GODARD AND OTHERS: ESSAYS ON FILM FORM, published in both Great Britain and the United States. Dr. Giannetti's other books include MASTERS OF THE AMERICAN CINEMA (Prentice Hall ,1981), a survey of American fiction films from the perspective of eighteen key figures. FLASHBACK: A BRIEF HISTORY OF FILM, FOURTH EDITION, written with Scott Eyman, is a history organized by decade, outlining the major events, trends, and important filmmakers and their work, with emphasis on the American cinema. Both books are copiously illustrated. UNDERSTANDING MOVIES has been a best-selling text in all its previous editions, widely used in the United States and in such countries as Australia, Great Britain, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and Japan. It has been translated into Chinese, Korean ,and Hebrew. Dr. Giannetti is the father of two daughters, Christina and Francesca.
show more

Rating details

584 ratings
3.81 out of 5 stars
5 26% (151)
4 39% (227)
3 28% (165)
2 5% (29)
1 2% (12)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X