In the vault

The Film Year Book 1983 by Al Clark

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A year’s worth of short film reviews from films released in Great Britain between July 1 1981 and June 30 1982. If one is expecting films from 1983, the 1983 in the book’s title is misleading, but convenient for publishing purposes as the 1983 coincides more or less with its publishing date.
The first of a series of books critiquing films during the 1980’s, there are a number of contributors who offer in the way of cutting-edge criticism which can be helpful in assessing the film’s worth. Entertaining bites of criticism that do well in summoning the film to accountability and should provide guidance for the reader. Not so much on the informative side although in each review there are the usual credits and technical details.
Now that the book is forty years old, it is more useful for film buffs interested in that time or want to discover what films were made then. I discovered that the films then were pretty much a Hollywood Babylon with sex, violence, and unsavory subjects, but with the more interesting ones among the mix such as Mephisto, the generally more palatable ones such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and the suitable ones (The Mouse and his Child).
Comes with extended and very well-written reviews of the best films of the year as well as the turkeys and articles about film industry issues then, including pirating of films, the making of the doomed Heaven’s Gate, and a trivia-style article on what the credits in a film mean, among others.
A worthy book of distinguished critical voice that plies out a film’s undercurrents in the longer articles making for a more than interesting read while the shorter reviews are gems. Plentiful mainly black and white photos, some color, and articles of interest to film buffs, which include “faces of the year” and obituaries in warm tributes.




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