Viewing classic films from a very different perspective…

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This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the BFI Film Classics series. For those not too familiar with the study of film, over the past two decades the series has been taking great movies and asking reputable writers and critics to lend their unique perspectives on them.

Take, for example, The Wizard Of Oz, which through the eyes of notorious author Salman Rushdie, is a story less about a fantasy of escape and ultimate resolution of returning ‘home, sweet home’ and more a film that “speaks to the exile”. Rushdie takes Dorothy’s famed Ruby Slippers and imagines them being hocked at a sale of MGM props.

In other unconventional takes on classic flicks, Charles Barr looks at why Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo continues to inspire great fascination (even its soundtrack has been said to be a major influence on that of recent Oscar hit The Artist); while Peter Wollen celebrates how Singin’ In The Rain is “a movie about the movies”, reminding readers that its clever tactic of introspection-as-entertainment came way before terms like ‘intertextuality’ or ‘cinema verité’ were even uttered. And obviously way before our fascination with reality TV.

The books in the BFI Film Classic series are succinct, economically priced, and beautifully illustrated, often including original poster art of the films, behind-the-scenes photography and out-take stills. As good as any director’s cut, really.


The BFI Film Classics series are published through Palgrave Macmillan and available from quality book stores and online.