There is lots of information on film and movies out there;
also about film societies. Some is on the web; some, in books. Here is
a brief selection.
Helpful Web Sites generally
The Wells Film Centre at www.wellsfilmcentre.co.uk.
(Without the cinema’s huge support TWFS would not exist.)
The Internet Movie Data Base, www.imdb.com,
a British (in early versions of this web site
it was listed as USA but I am delighted to say that I was wrong)
database and immense listing of films, with descriptions, details
of year, director, producer, scriptwriter, cast, gaffer, stable boy,
third extra from the left, etc. It also has reviews of films by those
who choose to pay and contribute; needless to say, these vary both
in opinion and quality.
the free on-line encyclopedia, which relies on voluntary contributions
and constantly improves. The content is very
The British Film Institute, www.bfi.org.uk.
The British Board of Film Classification, www.bbfc.co.uk,
which tells you of film release dates, their media and UK classification.
To understand the meaning of the various classifications (U, Uc,
12, 15, etc.) visit this web site, which is, one assumes, authoritative.
The on-line Guardian’s 1,000
films to see before you die. And we've already made a
start for you!
- Powell and Pressburger. Here is an unusual
web site, run by Steve Crook, a devotee of the films made by
the quite extraordinary pair, Powell & Pressburger,
who influenced British and worldwide cinema so much. We strongly
recommend it to you, with the caveat that you may become addicted,
which is not our responsibility. If you are into P 'n' P you
must see it. www.powell-pressburger.org
Books on Film
The following this scribbler has found useful in varying degrees, but
you will find fact interlaced with his personal opinion. The editions
quoted are almost certainly not the latest — but they are all that
he has and appear quite sufficient bearing in mind the purposes of the
society (excellent films of all ages). Many can be found through the
umpteen secondhand bookshops and portals on the web. Or even by walking
into a real book shop. Now there's a thought!
100 Best Films of the Century, by Barry Norman
1992, 276 pages, published by Chapman Publishers Ltd.
In the first few chapters offers his own summary of the development
of cinema since 1900. Then chooses 100 films, 2 pages per film, always
with one or more stills. As he unnecessarily says at the beginning,
you will not agree with all his selections, but you will with some.
From a charity shop, in my case, and a useful addition.
The Golden Screen: 50 Years of Films, by Dilys Powell
1989, 302 pages, published by Pavilion Books Limited.
Many, many film reviews from the mid to late 19C doyenne of film critics,
all in one volume. In his introduction Dirk Bogarde says "She
is unfaultable in her clear, often crisp, but never cruel, summing
up of a film."
Because of the style, immensely readable, but Dirk Bogarde is sometimes
incorrect in his summary, viewed from the distance of 25 years.
Time Out Film Guide
14th edition, 2006, 1766 pages, published by Time Out Film Guides
Provides short, opinionated reviews of more than 16,000 films. Occasional
picture. This TWFS committee member at least thinks it excellent. Usefully
indexed by Director and by Actor; also by Genre and Subject; also listing
major awards. Seldom have I failed to find a film that I am looking
for, with its incisive opinion, which will not always match your view.
Empire Film Guide
2006, 1128 pages, published by Virgin Books Ltd.
While not matching the coverage of the Time Out Film Guide in terms
of numbers of films, it offers thoughtful and lengthier reviews. 5*
1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
960 pages, published by Cassell Illustrated (Octopus).
Offers considerably more detail on fewer films - usually a page, sometimes
2, per film. Physical quality is high: glossy, good paper, with lots
of super stills and thoughtful descriptions! By its title you must
expect lots of omissions; on the other hand, many included films we
shall ignore. Interestingly and despite quality, it’s very similar
in price to the film guides. Could this be because it’s printed
Halliwell’s Top 1000
572 pages, 2005, published by Harper/Collins.
Though the cover also says "The Essential Guide for DVD Collectors",
it rates many of the films that we would wish to watch and some that
we certainly shan’t. He dares to rank them, the best being at
the end of the book: one can only agree and disagree. A decent paragraph
on every film listed, with contemporary review quotes. So two films
per page, usually, with details of director, etc. Few pics.
The Virgin Film Guide
858 pages, the seventh edition, from 1998, so way out-of-date. Picked
up at Wookey Fête 2005. According to Amazon a thirteenth edition
comes out in September 2005.
Articles are longer than the Time Out Film Guide’s. As the volume
has fewer pages and a similar font size, it obviously covers fewer
films. The preface, however, says ‘Other guides may cover more
movies, but the VFG gives you more information
on the films that matter’. Comment
is unrestrained. No pics. Rather good, but limited: some films that
we are interested in simply do not appear. I emphasize, however, that
my edition is 7 years old (which ought to be no problem for this society).
5* rating system.
Radio Times Guide to Films
1934 pages, 2003, published by BBC Worldwide Ltd.
Format very similar to Time Out Film Guide, offering an A-Z of films,
a Directors' Index, Actors' index, list of awards, etc. No pics at
all, though this is, of course, an old edition, and the latest may
be different. 5* rating system.
Have You Seen ...?
1007 pages, 2008, David Thomson, published by Penguin
David Thomson's eloquent and idiosyncratic views on 1000 films,
whether good, better - or, perhaps, awful. I keep it by my right
The Big Screen
595 pages, 2012, David Thomson, published by Alan Lane
David Thomson's wonderful paean for movies and the big screen.
The New Biographical Dictionary of Film
4th edition, 963 pages, David Thomson, published by Little, Brown
An A-Z of movie people - directors, producers, actors. Sharp and
clearly expressed personal opinion from a devotee. Quite indispensable
for addicts, though everyone will disagree with some of his views
Great Movie Moments
208 pages, John Russell Taylor, published by Conran Octopus 1987
185 absolutely stunning stills from the Kobal Collection. Large format
(page about 12.5 x 9.25 inches), with some photos taking two full
There is, of course, a host of older books, found
only in second-hand bookshops, if at all.