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Here's a selected list of film and video books that would be strong additions to any film- and video-lover's home library. Each of these books can be ordered from this page through OnVideo's association with Amazon.com -- the Web's largest purveyor of books for sale.

Buying these books in this way will help support the not-for-profit OnVideo Web site. Just click on any of the titles listed below and order them through Amazon -- OnVideo will get a percentage of the sale.

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VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever 2014
Paperback, 2014 pages, Detroit: Gale, 2013

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If you're serious about video, then this is the book for you. For the last several years, this has been our first choice when we grab a book to look up a video. In addition to comprehensive listings and reviews of videos (with ratings based on a scale of "Woof!" to "Four Bones," alternate titles, year released and MPAA rating, length, format, country of origin, cast, director, writer(s), cinematographer(s), composer(s), and made-for-TV, cable, direct-to-video identification), the book has incredible cross-indexes: by alternate titles, category, cast, director, writer, cinematographer, composer, song titles and more.

The Category Index, which indexes films by such categories as Alien Babes, Bad Bosses, Cold Spots, Desserts, Eyeballs, Folklore & Legends, Golf, Hell High School, Killer Rodents, Lovers on the Lam, Nuns & Priests, Revealing Swimwear, Shrinks, Trees and Forests, Women in War -- there's close to 800 category headings -- extends over 150 plus pages. Some listings in the Category Index, such as Comedy and Romance, Cops, and Crime and Criminals, being broken down into subcategories, such as Sci-Fi Comedy and Romantic Thrillers, Killer Spouses, Killer Appliances, and Heist Casino. There's also categories such as Bachelor Party, Brothers & Sisters, Hong Kong, I'm Not Dead, Yet!, Killer Reptiles, Period Places (costume dramas by century), Second Chance, Cloning Around, and Cockroaches. Here's where you can find the title of virtually any film made about virtually any topic.

There's also a "Kibbles and Series" index which categorizes titles by such concepts as adaptations, beach party, director/star teams (Ford & Wayne, Spielberg & Dreyfuss, Raimi & 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88), books to film, Disney animated movies, Elvisfilm, MGM musicals, screen teams, and on and on. And there's an Awards index that lists nominees with winners for every category and every year for 21 national and international award bodies.

This VideoHound is a veritable cornucopia that's indispensable. If you can only have one book on video, this is it.

Order VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever from Amazon.

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
By Steven Jay Schneider. Hardcover, 960 pages, New York: Barron's Educational Series, 2011

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This is the ultimate browsing guide to the greatest films ever made. Its title says it all -- here's 1001 of the best films from around the world. Listing titles chronologically -- what an idea! -- instead of alphabetically, the guide begins with "The Great Train Robbery" in 1902 and progresses through 100 years of blockbusters, indie outings and cult classics to last year's "Million Dollar Baby." Each entry includes a full list of cast and credits, awards won by the film, an essay summarizing the story line and screen history, and still shots of the film's memorable scenes. General editor Steven Jay Schneider and his gigantic, crack team of experts (more than 50 contributors are listed) also briefly explain why each film is a must see. At the back of the book an alphabetical index and a genre index help readers find any film they're looking for. For students of cinema, for discerning film buffs, for general moviegoers, and for readers who enjoy reminiscing over unforgettable lines of dialogue, here's the best place to start. This has been one of our favorite gifts for our film friends for some time now. A must for every library -- and indispensable for figuring out which DVDs to buy or rent.

Order 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die from Amazon.

Cut! Hollywood Murders, Accidents, and Other Tragedies
By Denise Imwold, Andrew Brettell, Heather von Rohr, Warren Hsu Leonard, Bruce Elder and Dr. Noel King. Hardcover, 368 pages, New York: Barron's Educational Series, 2005

"Rebel Without a Cause" was one of the most talked-about movies of the 1950s. It might also have been the most jinxed. Among its stars, James Dean was soon killed in a car crash, Sal Mineo died several years later, murdered by an unknown assailant, and the beautiful Natalie Wood died mysteriously when she fell from a docked pleasure boat and drowned. This heavily illustrated book recounts these and many other tragic events that have haunted the Hollywood movie community from its early-20th century beginnings to the present day. Here are accounts of the sudden, premature deaths of stars like Rudolph Valentino, Montgomery Clift and Peter Sellers. Here too are stories about celebrities who died young because of alcohol or drug-related problems -- John Belushi and Elvis Presley among many others -- and of the tragic 1998 murder of comedian Phil Hartman. Car wrecks, plane crashes and other deadly accidents sent Jayne Mansfield, Grace Kelly and Carole Lombard, to untimely deaths, and accidents occurring during film production have taken several lives, perhaps the most dramatic being the helicopter crash that killed Vic Morrow in 1983. A team of eight writers (mostly Australian, all film historians of various sorts) compiled this addictively readable anthology of more than 250 Hollywood obituaries. Most entries are a single page; all include photos of the artist in iconic roles or poses. The accounts are arranged alphabetically in separate sections for different causes of death (medical problems, suspected foul play, actual murder, alcohol or other drugs, suicide after broken heart, bizarre accidents).

coverThe perfect companion to the greatest tattle-tale Hollywood horror and gore expose, the legendary classic of tinseltown's darkest and best kept secrets and scandals, Kenneth Anger's "Hollywood Babylon."

Order Cut! Hollywood Murders, Accidents, and Other Tragedies and Hollywood Babylon from Amazon.

The Film Encyclopedia
Ephraim Katz, Fred Klein, Ronald Dean Nolen; paperback, 1,616 pages, NY: Collins, 2012

The New Biographical Dictionary of Film
David Thomson, hardcover, 1088 pages, NY: Knopf, 2010

Halliwell's Who's Who in the Movies
Leslie Halliwell, John Walker; paperback, 640 pages, NY: Collins, 2003

Over the years, we've come to rely on three biographical dictionaries when researching actors, actresses and filmmakers. And all three recently have been updated with new and enlarged editions.
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The granddaddy of biographical dictionaries is still The Film Encyclopedia. Originally written by film historian Ephraim Katz, the book has been updated by new editors since Katz's death in 1992. As its title suggests, it is an encyclopedic compendium of information about actors, directors, producers, cinematographers, screenwriters, editors, musical directors and more. In addition, a host of technical terms are indexed and described. This edition is still the most important single-volume encyclopedia of film.

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First published in 1975, Thomson's The New Biographical Dictionary of Film has been a reliable source of knowledgeable, witty and in-depth information on filmmakers and filmmaking. This new edition adds several hundred new entries and is an important addition to any film lover's book shelf, particularly for its coverage of foreign films and filmmakers.

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Various versions of Leslie Halliwell's The Filmgoer's Companion have been in print for some 30 years. This edition (edited by John Walker) has been retitled Halliwell's Who's Who in the Movies to reflect its emphasis on personalities and pay homage to the deceased Halliwell. It's not as authoritative as the Katz or Thomson volumes, but, with its 11,000 plus entries, is certainly comprehensive. In addition to its entries on filmmakers, this volume includes information on studios, genres, movie terms, Oscar winners, sequels, series and remakes.

Order The Film Encyclopedia from Amazon.
Order The New Biographical Dictionary of Film from Amazon.
Order Halliwell's Who's Who in the Movies from Amazon.

Have You Seen ... ?": A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films
David Thomson Hardcover, 1024 pages, New York: Knopf, 2008

The prolific David Thomson here supplements his classic "The New Biographical Dictionary of Film" with this comprehensive yet personal list of 1,000 must-see films. Arranged alphabetically, with one page devoted to each film. Thomson is idiosyncratic in his choices and observations, and even if you don't always agree with him, he always provides insightful, interesting reading.

Order Have You Seen ... ?": A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films from Amazon.

501 Movie Directors
A Comprehensive Guide to the Greatest Filmmakers
Steven Jay Schneider, General Editor. Hardcover, 640 pages, New York: Barron's Educational Series, 2008

A copy of this valuable book is destined to find its way into the home of every true movie fan, cinema scholar, and film critic. It's an A-to-Z compendium that profiles the 501 most important film directors of all time. Entries -- augmented with a photo of each director plus movie stills from his or her films -- describe such major figures as Sergei Eisenstein, Martin Scorsese, Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, Leni Riefenstahl, Orson Welles, Federico Fellini, Steven Spielberg, Robert Altman, and many, many others. Readers will learn: Why D. W. Griffith is called the father of filmmaking; the details surrounding Martin Scorsese's fascination with New York; the truth about Alfred Hitchcock's stunning blondes ... and much more. Each filmmaker receives at least a one-page entry, which includes discussion of their work and influences, their complete filmography, and listing of awards they have received. Seventy-five directors of special importance are profiled in larger entries -- two-page spreads -- while 15 internationally acknowledged master directors are discussed and examined in two double-page spreads. It's a wonderful book for browsing, for reference, and for gaining insights into the personalities who directed the most memorable movies ever made. From the team behind the best-selling "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die."

Order 501 Movie Directors from Amazon.

501 Movie Stars
A Comprehensive Guide to the Greatest Screen Actors
Steven Jay Schneider, General Editor. Hardcover, 640 pages, New York: Barron's Educational Series, 2008

Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, Meryl Streep, James Dean, Anna Magnani, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Cary Grant, Marcello Mastroianni, Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Angelina Jolie, and hundreds more larger-than-life film stars have captured the collective imagination of millions of movie fans around the world. Now, 501 Movie Stars pays homage to these pop culture idols with absorbing essays that describe each star's work, influences, and legacy. Each entry also includes the actor's filmography to date, descriptions of productive alliances with directors and other actors, famous cameos, stylistic innovations, and the many other details that contributed to making these actors unforgettable stars. Entries are listed chronologically by birth date, with movie stills and portrait photos accompanying each star's entry. The entries vary in length, with the most influential stars receiving up to six pages. Collected here in succinct, information-packed biographical sketches are the lives and careers behind the most widely recognized faces of the past hundred years. Another book from the team behind the best-selling "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die."

Order 501 Movie Stars from Amazon.

Frankly, My Dear: Quips and Quotes from Hollywood
By Shelley Klein. Hardcover, 160 pages, New York: Barron's Educational Series, 2006

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I'm a nut for quotes from films - and quotes about films and filmmaking - so I was pleased to get a copy of "Frankly, My Dear: Quips and Quotes from Hollywood" by Shelley Klein. It's a collection of the funniest, most acerbic, most insulting lines ever uttered by the wits of the film industry -- as well as by equally witty outsiders whose opinions of Hollywood are usually less than flattering. Clint Eastwood once described the movie capital succinctly: "If I lived there, I'd move." But many quotations say less about Hollywood than about the people who happened to be passing through. For instance, a brief conversation between Clark Gable and Nobel-prize-winning novelist William Faulkner went as follows: "Do you write, Mr. Faulkner?" "Yes, Mr. Gable. What do you do?" And Bette Davis, in one of her bitchier moments is known to have said: "I always admire Katharine Hepburn's cheekbones. More than her films." With sound bites overheard from the earliest Hollywood celebrities, and extending to Woody Allen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and many others on today's scene, "Frankly, My Dear" documents filmdom's declarations of envy, greed, talent, pomposity -- and most of all, humor. Or as George Burns once said, "The most important thing in acting is sincerity. If you can fake that, you've got it made."

Order Frankly, My Dear: Quips and Quotes from Hollywood from Amazon.

Cassell's Movie Quotations
By Nigel Rees. Hardcover, 416 pages, Cassell, 2000

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Another of my "quote" favorites is "Cassell's Movie Quotations" by Nigel Rees. This is a very thick compendium of more than 4,000 quotations about all aspects of the movie industry -- from film lines, to quotes by and about actors, producers and directors. Includes 50 full-page movie stills.

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The Man in Lincoln's Nose: Funny, Profound and Quotable Quotes of Screenwriters, Movie Stars, and Moguls
By Melinda Corey, George Ochoa. Paperback, 239 pages, Fireside, 1990

"The Man in Lincoln's Nose: Funny, Profound and Quotable Quotes of Screenwriters, Movie Stars, and Moguls" by Melinda Corey and George Ochoa is also in my collection. It was the first compendium of movie quotes -- by actors, directors, writers, cinematographers and producers -- that I came across. It's long out of print, but used copies can still be bought at the Amazon Marketplace. "The Man in Lincoln's Nose," by the way, was Hitchcock's original title for "North by Northwest."

Order Cassell's Movie Quotations from Amazon.

Facets Movie Lovers Video Guide
Paperback, 1998

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A shorter version of their massive video catalog, this guide homes in on "the most dazzling, most challenging, most romantic films on video." The catalog is divided into "lists": Cannes Film Festival Winners, Foreign Films, Top Independent Films, 100 Best Love Stories, Writers' Lives, 100 Super Kids Films, 100 Cult Classics and more.

Order Facets Movie Lovers Video Guide from Amazon.

Seen That, Now What? The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Video You Really Want to Watch
Andrea Shaw, paperback, NY: Simon & Schuster Fireside Book, 1996

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Helps you locate videos by concept, director, actors, genre, etc., rather than by alphabetical listings, with such categories as buddy capers, road films, costume dramas, horror films, etc. Kind of the "synonym-finder" of video reference books.

Order Seen That, Now What? The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Video You Really Want to Watch from Amazon.

Leonard Maltin's 2014 Movie Guide: The Modern Era
Leonard Maltin, editor, mass market paperback, 1664 pages, 2013

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In its fifth decade, this is the best source for reviews of movies that make it to TV or cable. Its pluses: comprehensive and compact, and fun to read; Maltin gives ratings and indicates when a movie has been released to video. There's more than 16,000 capsule movie reviews, with more than More than 13,000 DVD listings. Shortcomings: cross-references by cast and director are meager compared to the competition. There's also an up-to-date list of mail-order and online sources for buying and renting DVDs and videos. There are now two Maltin editions: one for modern movies, one for the classics (Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie: From the Silent Era Through 1965.)

Order Leonard Maltin's 2014 Movie Guide or Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie: From the Silent Era Through 1965. from Amazon.

Videohound's Independent Film Guide, Second Edition
Monica Sullivan, paperback, 1,000 pages, Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1999

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The movie-oriented folks at VideoHound deserve more feathers in their caps for this impressive guidebook to the best of independent film, now in its second edition and much expanded. Written by Monica Sullivan, host and producer of the nationally syndicated radio show "Movie Magazine International," the book runs the gamut from low-budget trash productions such as Larry ("It's Alive") Cohen's "The Ambulance" to more mainstream works such as "To Die For" and "The English Patient." There's some 1,000 movies made outside (or adjacent to) the Hollywood system reviewed here, each with annotations (cast and crew, awards); there's also three indexes (cast, director, category), a list of alternate titles, a bibliography of "indie connections" (Web sites, books, periodicals) and a host of sidebars on boundary-breaking directors, actors and producers. There are plenty of photographs and lively quotations from the films ("Is this your wife? What a lovely throat." from "Nosferatu"). As with the major VideoHound directory (see above), however, the list of video distributors from the previous edition has been eliminated.

Order Videohound's Independent Film Guide, Second Edition from Amazon.

Videohound's World Cinema: The Adventurer's Guide to Movie Viewing
Elliot Wilhelm, paperback, 551 pages, photos, Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1999

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This book has already found a valued space on our cluttered movie reference book shelf. It's a fairly detailed guide to the world of world cinema, covering some 800 foreign films, from the well-known to the rare unsung gem. The meat of the book is, of course, the reviews, which place each film in a director's oeuvre as well as in a social context. The reviews are brisk but enlightening, and offer connections to other films and filmmakers. One of the features I appreciated was the sidebars on directors (from Mifune, Goddard and Antonioni to Rohmer, Bunuel, Almodovar and Truffaut), making this a useful guide if you're interested in exploring the work of one particular director. There are also sidebars on actors and actresses (Deneuve, Moreau, Mastroianni, Depardieu to name a few).

As with all the VideoHound books, this one has comprehensive indexes, including a master title index (with alternate and/or translated titles); country of origin index; cast, director, writer, cinematographer and composer indexes; a category index, with such topics as adapted from (... book, fairy tale, opera, etc.), doctors and nurses, great escapes, hospitals, kidnapped, on the rocks, pill poppin', scams, stings and cons, teen angst, wedding hell; and, thankfully, a distributor list and guide.

Order Videohound's World Cinema: The Adventurer's Guide to Movie Viewing from Amazon.

The Psychotronic Video Guide to Film
Michael J. Weldon, paperback, 1996

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This is the video sequel, so to speak, to the grand-daddy of guides to the weird and wonderful in film ("The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film"). This bible of B-movies -- horror flicks, spaghetti westerns, low-budget quickies, exploitation films -- covers several thousand amazing flicks, from the turn of the century up to today's Golden Age of Video. Includes some 450 rare and wonderful illustrations.

Order The Psychotronic Video Guide to Film from Amazon.

Videohound's Cult Flicks and Trash Pics
Carol Schwartz, paperback, 872 pages, photos, Detroit: Gale, 2001

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Another great guide to cult movies. The folks at VideoHound have put together their own directory of the most offbeat films in the history of cinema, with pithy mini-reviews of some 1,300 bizarre, horror, science fiction, trash, 3-D and midnight films. Sample entries in the wide ranging book: "Abbott and Costello Go to Mars," "Airplane!," "Back to the Beach," "Blast-Off Girls," "Desire and Hell at Sunset Motel," "Glen or Glenda?" "Invasion od the Space Preachers" "Mad Max," "Nekromantik," "Quackster Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx," "Shock Corridor," "The Violent Years" and "Where the Boys Are."

Illuminating the reviews are sidebars, salutes to or information about directors, genres and topics such as John Waters, schlock producer Charles Band, Tod Browning, William Castle, the Hammer Films, the Campus Connection, Stars Who Have Their Roots in Trash, and more. There's also the requisite VideoHound indexes of alternate titles, cast, directors, and categories, as well as a distributor guide.

It's camp all the way.

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Videohound's Epics: Giants of the Big Screen
Glenn Hopp, paperback, 570 pages, photos, Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1999

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This VideoHound directory takes a look at 200 of the biggest movies to hit the big screen, broken down by genre including adventure, biblical, comedy, crime, disaster, failed epics, family sagas, fantasy, adventures, horror, musical, romance, war and western. There's the regular cast of suspects here, from "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1939), through "The Bible," "Lawrence of Arabia," "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and "The Wizard of Oz" to "Gone With the Wind," with some surprising entries such as "A Guide to the Married Man" and "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" as well as some obvious omissions ("Barry Lyndon," "Some Like It Hot" and "Sunset Blvd."). There's cast, director, writer, cinematographer, composer and alternate title indexes. But the director index is seriously flawed, with many incorrect entries: Howard Hawks' "Red River" is attributed to John Ford, Cecil B. DeMille is credited with "Once Upon a Time in the West" and Fred Zinneman's "High Noon" is listed under Henry Hathaway's and Ford's headings (but Ford's "The Searchers," which is reviewed in the western section, is missing from Ford's index entry). There are other problems too. George Steven's "Giant" is listed as a western when it's much more of a family saga, while "Airplane!" is included as a comedy epic. And, as mentioned above, the sweeping tale of "Barry Lyndon" is a romantic epic conspicuous by its absence. Overall, though, for film fans looking for a concise package of larger than life films, this directory is a start in the right direction.

Order Videohound's Epics: Giants of the Big Screen from Amazon.

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