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Paperback 848 pp.
numerous halftones (some colour), 189 mm x 246 mm



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Imprint: OUP UK

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The Oxford History of World Cinema

Edited by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith

The Oxford History of World Cinema is the most authoritative, up-to-date history of the Cinema ever undertaken. It traces the history of the twentieth-century's most enduringly popular entertainment form, covering all aspects of its development, stars, studios, and cultural impact. The book celebrates and chronicles over one hundred years of diverse achievement from westerns to the New Wave, from animation to the Avant-Garde, and from Hollywood to Hong Kong, with an international team of distinguished film historians telling the story of the major inventions and developments in the cinema business, its institutions, genres, and personnel. Other chapters outline the evolution of national cinemas round the world - the varied and distinctive filmic traditions that have developed alongside Hollywood. Also included are over 140 special inset features on the film-makers and personalities - Garbo and Godard, Keaton and Kurosawa, Bugs Bunny and Bergman - who have had an enduring impact in popular memory and cinematic lore.

With over 300 illustrations, a full bibliography, and an extensive index, The Oxford History of World Cinema is an invaluable and entertaining guide and resource for the student and general reader.

Readership : Undergraduates studying survey courses: History of Film; Introduction to Cinema; World/International Cinema. Also for modules on particular topics such as Silent Cinema, Hollywood, Post-Classical Cinema.


  • Nowell-Smith has assembled an impressive array of around eighty film historians contributing detailed articles based on their specialist expertise of this or that film movement, film genre, or national cinema...the Oxford History is destined to join the other global histories on the college library shelves and to play a significant role in film history courses...It is a scholarly work in the sense that the individual contributions have a depth deriving from the special expertise of the various contributors...students need to consult the kind of in-depth material available on specific areas of cinema impressively presented by the Oxford History in order to deepen and extend their knowledge and perception of the complexities of film form and cinema history./Tom Ryall/Screen 38:3 Autumn 1997.
  • `the most concerted effort to date by cinematic academia to re-establish links with a larger public by dispensing with the usual rebarbative jargon ... The ground covered is immense.'
    Philip French, The Observer
  • `The 1996 book destined for the longest life on my shelf is Geoffrey Nowell-Smith's Oxford History of World Cinema, which has been many years in gestation ... and turns out to have been worth the long wait. This finely produced doorstopper deals with stars, studios and the cultural and industrial dimensions of cinema over the last hundred years.'
    The Observer
  • `an essential guide for all serious cinema enthusiasts'
  • `Geoffrey Nowell-Smith's encyclopedic book is a model of clear editorial organisation in which the essays of more than 80 contributors are marshalled into an illuminating mosaic. Sharp economic analysis and informed political discussion are interspersed with elegant scholarly commentary on, for instance, the rise of the cinematic avant-garde. There are also crisp, informative essays on animation and on the technical innovations which have played such a part in the growth of cinema.'
    The Economist
  • `edited by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith has no equal in size or substance ... Lucidly and interestingly written, detailed and authoritative, it is a weighty reference book that is indispensable to all serious cinemagoers and those who watch films on television, and will give much pleasure to readers ... invaluable compilation.'
    Ronald Malone, Day by Day, October, 196
  • `Here for the first time is a genuine history of world cinema, with world cinema underlined several times ... this is a magnificient book, an encyclopaedia unparalleled in its level of scholarship and erudition. Essays written by some 80-odd contributors have been organised and presented by editor Nowell-Smith in such a way that they tell the fascinating story of the origin and development of cinema in most parts of the world. Nowell-Smith offers a microcosm of the world's greatest movie talent ... invaluable book.'
    India Mail
  • `The sight of a slab-like reference book, the title of which begins The Oxford ..., still inspires confidence. The Oxford History of World Cinema is a worthy addition to the stable.'
    Tom Aitken, The Tablet, 4/97
  • `It takes expert account of social, political and economic forces and constraints, technical developments, the pressures and internal logic of studio systems and production units, conditions of distribution, exhibition and projection while doing justice to the individual talents of studio moguls, directors, producers, set and costume designers, composers, cameramen and - of course - performers before the cameras.'
    Siegbert Prawer, Oxford Magazine, Noughth Week, Trinity Term, 1997
  • `The sight of a slab-like reference book, the title of which begins The Oxford ..., still inspires confidence. The Oxford History of World Cinema is a worthy addition to the stable. The writing is informative and clear ... I dislike the word "definitive", but the publishers are not making too large a claim when they splash it across the cover.'
    Tom Aitken, The Tablet
  • `this appears to be the most exciting book you are likely to find if you are looking for a comprehensive publication which spans the past 100 years of cinema'
    Lella Richards, The Oxford Times
  • `The Oxford History of World Cinema, truly international in its scope, is a most authoritative, up-to-date and wide-ranging history of world cinema.'
    Plays & Players, 1 August 1997
  • `Geoffrey Nowell-Smith's encyclopedic book is a model of clear editorial organisation in which the essays of more than 80 contributors are marshalled into an illuminating mosaic.'
    The Economist
  • `Amazingly good value from an enormously ambitious book.'
    The Guardian
  • `Truely an exhaustive study and Nowell-Smith's keen editorial eye misses nothing. A stupendous achievement-with an oversized index and bibliography-that will appeal to film-goer or scholar. Enormous in scope and detailed to a fault, this research study reflects years of preperation. Look no further than Geoffrey Nowell-Smith's new book.'
    Rbert Fyne, Book Reviews, Keen College/Historical Journal of film, Radio and Television, Vol.18, No. 1, 1998.
  • `this is a volume to delight cineastes'
    Books Magazine

There is no Table of Contents available at this time.
There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Geoffrey Nowell-Smith is Project Director of the Joint European Filmography, and Fellow of the European Humanities Research Centre at Oxford University.

Making Sense - Margot Northey and Joan McKibbin

Special Features

  • Covers 100 years of cinema history, from animation to the avant garde, Hollywood to Hong Kong
  • 300 illustrations, full bibliography, and extensive index
  • 140 special inset features on film personalities from Bugs Bunny to Bertolucci