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Black and White Cinema: A Short History

Wheeler Winston Dixon



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Rutgers University Press
15 September 2015
Film, TV & Radio; Films, movies & cinema; Film movie guides & reviews; Media studies
From the glossy monochrome of the classic Hollywood romance, to the gritty greyscale of the gangster picture, to film noir's moody interplay of light and shadow, black-and-white cinematography has been used to create a remarkably wide array of tones. Yet today, with black-and-white film stock nearly impossible to find, these cinematographic techniques are virtually extinct, and filmgoers' appreciation of them is similarly waning.

Black and White Cinema is the first study to consider the use of black-and-white as an art form in its own right, providing a comprehensive and global overview of the era when it flourished, from the 1900s to the 1960s. Acclaimed film scholar Wheeler Winston Dixon introduces us to the masters of this art, discussing the signature styles and technical innovations of award-winning cinematographers like James Wong Howe, Gregg Toland, Freddie Francis, and Sven Nykvist. Giving us a unique glimpse behind the scenes, Dixon also reveals the creative teams--from lighting technicians to matte painters--whose work profoundly shaped the look of black-and-white cinema.

More than just a study of film history, this book is a rallying cry, meant to inspire a love for the artistry of black-and-white film, so that we might work to preserve this important part of our cinematic heritage. Lavishly illustrated with more than forty on-the-set stills, Black and White Cinema provides a vivid and illuminating look at a creatively vital era.
By:   Wheeler Winston Dixon
Imprint:   Rutgers University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 17mm
Weight:   431g
ISBN:   9780813572413
ISBN 10:   081357241X
Pages:   256
Publication Date:   15 September 2015
Recommended Age:   From 15 years
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

WHEELER WINSTON DIXON is the James Ryan Professor of Film Studies, the coordinator of the film studies program, and a professor of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He is a filmmaker and the author or editor of numerous works, including Death of the Moguls: The End of Classical Hollywood ; the best-selling A Short History of Film now in its second edition, coauthored with Gwendolyn Audrey Foster (both by Rutgers University Press); and Cinema at the Margins ; Streaming: Movies, Media, and Instant Access.

Reviews for Black and White Cinema: A Short History

Dixon assumes a splendidly against-the-grain posture in his history of black-and-white cinematography, illuminating a long list of shining moments - and spotlighting a fair share of dull ones - that threaten to fade from view as color becomes ubiquitous and mimetic innovations like IMAX, motion capture, and augmented reality gather ever more momentum in theaters and homes around the world. - Quarterly Review of Film and Radio [Dixon's] short - but packed to bursting - history expertly details notable films and those who created them. -Times Literary Supplement

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