Cover image for Not to be missed : fifty-four favorites from a lifetime of film
Not to be missed : fifty-four favorites from a lifetime of film
Turan, Kenneth.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Physical Description:
xix, 345 pages ; 25 cm
"Turan's sketches are a blend of cultural analysis, historical anecdote, and sordid Hollywood controversy--astute critical appraisals, all suffused with his abiding love for the silver screen. [His] favorite films range across all genres, low and high. From All about Eve to Seven samurai to Spirited away, these are now timeless films--classic and contemporary, familiar and obscure, with big budgets and small--each as interesting as the lives of the authors and actors that made the usually two-or-so-hour-long cinematic experience itself"-- Provided by publisher.


Call Number
Material Type
Elmira - Steele Memorial Library 1 791.4375 TUR Adult NonFiction Book
Wellsville - David A. Howe Public Library 1 791.4375 TUR Adult NonFiction Book

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The images and memories that matter most are those that are unshakeable, unforgettable. Kenneth Turan's fifty-four favorite films embrace a century of the world's most satisfying romances and funniest comedies, the most heart-stopping dramas and chilling thrillers.

Turan discovered film as a child left undisturbed to watch Million Dollar Movie on WOR-TV Channel 9 in New York, a daily showcase for older Hollywood features. It was then that he developed a love of cinema that never left him and honed his eye for the most acute details and the grandest of scenes.

Not to be Missed blends cultural criticism, historical anecdote, and inside-Hollywood controversy. Turan's selection of favorites ranges across all genres. From All About Eve to Seven Samurai to Sherlock Jr. , these are all timeless films--classic and contemporary, familiar and obscure, with big budgets and small--each underscoring the truth of director Ingmar Bergman's observation that "no form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul."

Author Notes

Kenneth Turan is the film critic for the Los Angeles Times and NPR's Morning Edition, as well as the director of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. He has been a staff writer for the Washington Post and TV Guide , and served as the Times' book review editor. A graduate of Swarthmore College and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, he is the co-author of Call Me Anna: The Autobiography of Patty Duke . Turan teaches film reviewing and non-fiction writing at USC and is on the board of directors of the National Yiddish Book Center. His most recent books include Free for All: Joe Papp, The Public, and the Greatest Theater Story Ever Told and Never Coming To A Theater Near You . Turan lives in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on Twitter @KennethTuran.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Turan, film critic for the Los Angeles Times since 1991 and a regular contributor of reviews to NPR, approaches movies, as did the late Roger Ebert, on their own terms, trying to understand what a filmmaker is trying to do and assessing a movie's success or failure in light of its maker's intent. This book isn't a collection of film reviews per se; it's a look at Turan's personal favorites, which range from the easily recognizable (The Godfather, All about Eve, Casablanca, Unforgiven, Vertigo) to the for-­devoted-film-fans-only (The Dybbuk, Seven Men from Now, The Best of Youth). His comments about the movies are always insightful: he calls The Godfather, for example, excessive but natural, larger than life yet always lifelike, which nicely encapsulates the film's dual nature, and his writing is fluid and accessible. Richly deserving of shelf space alongside Ebert's The Great Movies (2002), Pauline Kael's For Keeps (1994), and Turan's own Never Coming to a Theater Near You (2004).--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

As a child, Los Angeles Times film critic Turan lost himself in the movies. Later, as a student at the Columbia School of Journalism, he took a seminar from Judith Crist, who told him that he could be watch films and write about them professionally. In this affectionate look at the movies that have meant the most to him, he chooses several films, beginning in 1913 with Louis Feuillade's silent film Fantomas, and proceeds decade by decade up through Joseph Cedar's Footnote (2011). He offers a brief introduction to the films of each intervening decade and then provides short and critically admiring analyses of his chosen films. The 1930s, he writes, were a "decade, as even the titles of the films like Bombshell and I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang indicated, that started with a ferocious burst of uncensored energy; the ability to speak filled the movies with a kind of dynamism that never went away." Turan's crisp and deft analysis of individual films offers fresh insights into them; of the length of Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai (nearly three and a half hours), Turan observes: "the passage of time has one final advantage: it shows us the entirety of the agricultural year, from planting to. final harvesting; that's critical because the film's final message is to reinforce the endurance of that kind of life." Turan's illuminating reflections do what the best essays on film always do: send us to watch the movie, whether for the first time or the 20th. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Popular film critic Turan (Los Angeles Times; NPR; Free for All) lists here what he considers to be 54 of the world's most memorable films-an ambitious task. Each entry contains a short plot synopsis, a brief background on the filmmakers responsible for the end product, and even one or two recommended related movie titles for further viewing. All in all, this is a reliable representation of a wide range of cinematic masterpieces, and includes many well-known (Casablanca; The Godfather), as well as several less-familiar (Sherlock Jr.; The Dybbuk) titles. What makes this book stand out is how each film is put into context of the time period it was made and Turan's reasons why each one sticks out as memorable and deserving of watching more than once. VERDICT This collection is a worthwhile companion to similar books of "the best in film," e.g., Roger Ebert's The Great Movies and Gail Kinn and Jim Piazza's The Greatest Movies Ever. Recommended for the casual movie fan as well as the serious film student.-Richard Dickey, Washington DC (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xiii
In the Beginning
Introductionp. 3
Fantômas, 1913-1914p. 5
Silent Comedy Double Feature
Sherlock Jr., 1924 and Pass the Gravy, 1928p. 9
The Thirties
Introductionp. 21
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, 1932p. 23
Bombshell, 1933p. 28
The Dybbuk, 1937p. 33
Leo McCarey Double Feature
Make Way for Tomorrow, 1937 and Love Affair, 1939p. 39
The Forties
Introductionp. 51
Pride and Prejudice, 1940p. 53
Ernst Lubitsch Double Feature
The Shop Around the Corner, 1940 and To Be or Not to Be, 1942p. 59
The Lady Eve, 1941p. 69
Strawberry Blonde, 1941p. 75
Casablanca, 1942p. 79
Random Harvest, 1942p. 85
Children of Paradise, 1945p. 90
Great Expectations, 1946p. 95
Bicycle Thieves, 1948p. 100
The Third Man, 1949p. 105
The Fifties
Introductionp. 113
AU About Eve, 1950p. 115
The Asphalt Jungle, 1950p. 120
Sunset Boulevard, 1950p. 125
Casque d'Or, 1952p. 132
The Importance of Being Earnest, 1952p. 137
Singin' in the Rain, 1952p. 141
The Earrings of Madame De ..., 1953p. 147
Seven Samurai, 1954p. 151
Kiss Me Deadly, 1955p. 156
Seven Men from Now, 1956p. 160
Sweet Smell of Success, 1957p. 165
Vertigo, 1958p. 170
The Sixties
Introductionp. 181
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, 1962p. 183
The Gospel According to St. Matthew, 1964p. 188
Point Blank, 1967p. 192
Le Samouraï, 1967p. 198
Kes, 1969p. 202
The Seventies
Introductionp. 209
The Godfather, 1972p. 211
Chinatown, 1974p. 217
The Eighties
Introductionp. 225
The Day After Trinity, 1981p. 227
First Contact, 1983p. 232
Distant Voices, Still Lives, 1988p. 236
The Nineties
Introductionp. 243
Howards End, 1992p. 245
Leolo, 1992p. 250
Unforgiven, 1992p. 250
The New Century
Introductionp. 265
Spirited Away, 2001p. 267
The Best of Youth, 2003p. 272
The Five Obstructions, 2003p. 278
Documentary Double Feature
Stranded, 2007 and Senna, 2010p. 282
A Prophet, 2009p. 291
Of Gods and Men, 2010p. 296
Footnote, 2011p. 301
Orson Welles Double Feature
Introductionp. 309
Touch of Evil, 1958 and Chimes at Midnight, 1965p. 311
The Fifty-Fifth Filmp. 321
A Second Fifty-Fourp. 325
Acknowledgmentsp. 329
Indexp. 331

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