Nature of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality - Siegfried KracauerLondon: Dennis Dobson, 1961, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper which is a little age-toned. Price clipped. Edges of the textblock heavily spotted. Previous owners' name to the first blank. Text complete, clean and tight but a little age-tanned at the blanks.
Contains: Black & white photographs;
From the cover: “This significant study is certain to be the standard work on the subject for many years to come. It demonstrates once and for all that motion pictures differ radically from the traditional arts, and that good plays or novels rarely make good films. Dr. Kracauer is concerned with film as a photographic medium uniquely equipped to capture and reveal the everyday world as it exists before our eyes. If film is an art, he writes, it is an art with a difference. It fulfils itself in rendering ‘the ripple of leaves’, . . . street crowds, involuntary gestures, and other fleeting impressions.
The theory developed here is certain to be controversial. The author has little patience with the theatrical story form as adapted to the screen and rejects the film versions of Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and other Shakespearean plays because they have their standards imposed upon them by another medium — the theatre. He goes on to prove that an Alfred Hitchcock thriller has more validity than Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet, that a film like De Sica’s Umberto D is a masterpiece because it makes use of the unique properties of film in capturing the real world of postwar Italy. Throughout the book, major cinematic achievements, from Potemkin to La Strade, from Birth of a Nation to Wild Strawberries, are analysed with a view toward exploring various points of his theory.
Dr. Kracauer covers every aspect of black-and-white film. He discusses its background in still photography, the problems inherent in historical and fantasy films, the novel as a cinematic form, experimental films, documentaries, the role of the actor, the uses of dialogue and sound, the contribution of music, and the part played by the spectator.
The final chapter focuses on the wider implications of the medium. There Dr. Kracauer sets the cinema in the perspective of something more general — an approach to the world, a mode of human existence, and thus shows how it reflects the condition of modern man, the moral temper of our society. Nature of Film is an intellectual experience which reaches far beyond film into the realm of general aesthetics and philosophy.”