The Executioner: By the Neck By David Cairns
Designing for del Toro By Eric Skillman
For its June issue, Sight & Sound has conducted a poll of fifty-one leading critics and writers, asking them to select the best, “most inspirational” books about film ever written. The resulting top five, which the magazine has posted on its website, cast a wide net, varying from criticism to theory to interviews to personal filmmaking philosophy. Congratulations to our friend David Thomson, whose seminal Biographical Dictionary of Film placed first in the poll (check out Thomson’s most recent essay for Criterion, on Sidney Lumet’s The Fugitive Kind). The remaining titles in the top five are, in order: Notes on the Cinematographer, by Robert Bresson; The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929–1968, by Andrew Sarris; Hitchcock, by François Truffaut; and What Is Cinema?, by André Bazin. The full results will be featured in the print issue. For now, you can read Nick James's introductory essay, “Print the Legend,” and read notes by famous critics and authors on the top five, plus selected passages from the books themselves.