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The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume
Preface to the First Edition
This work is a one-man project. It has taken many years to compile, and its scope has gradually expanded far beyond the original plan, because of my desire to include in it much information that can be found elsewhere only in a wide variety of sources or that is treated sketchily in other works -- to make it, in fact, the most comprehensive one-volume encyclopedia of world cinema ever published in the English language.
Every consideration has been given to the range and depth of material, even when this has meant to sacrifice of features that would make the book superficially attractive. Although the publishers and I would have liked to use photographs to enliven the text on one of the most visual of arts, we hope the reader will agree that their omission is preferable to the skimping on entries and information that use of photographs would have necessitated. At my suggestion, the publishers have agreed to drop an entire category of subjects -- the factual and critical survey of specific motion pictures. Even a modest sampling of the thousands of notable films would have added hundreds of pages to this already hefty volume and the selection would have been severely limited in both number of titles and information about them. We have, then, elected to disappoint the natural expectations of our audience rather than risk its protest with half-measures.
In the present volume I have concentrated on a broad range of entries about filmmakers and filmmaking with, I trust, a good balance of America, United Kingdom, and international subjects. Country by country, the history of major film industries is covered from its inception to the present day. Important film-related organizations and events are discussed; inventions, techniques, processes, equipment, and technical terms are explained in language that is at once precise and easy to follow. The numerous biographies of directors, producers, screenwriters, cinematographers, art directors, composers, film editors, stars, and featured players are sufficiently rich in personal and professional details (including, in most cases, day of birth and education) to please both the film scholar and the movie fan. Complete filmographies accompany the entries of most directors and of all major stars. The film credits of other personalities are extensive and carefully selected to represent their most important work.
Looking back on the years I have invested in this volume, perhaps my most sobering discovery was that an open-ended ratio exists between one unit of fact and multiple units of time. For every hour of actual writing time that went into the preparation of the encyclopedia, I must have spent ten hours of research -- checking, cross-checking, and rechecking every fact in a great variety of sources in my own vast library and in outside facilities with film collections. I have tried, to the best of my abilities, to resolve conflicts between sources of information and to correct factual distortions that have been perpetuated in film literature over the years. But in a work of this size, a degree of oversight is inevitable, and I beg the indulgence of the reader if, after all, some errors have crept in.
As with any work of magnitude, this encyclopedia was seen into print with the aid of many people, and I am indebted to all of them. My grateful thanks to members of the combined Crowell and Harper & Row editorial staffs -- particularly Nicholas Ellison, Bernard Skydell, Leland Lowther, and Patrick Barrett -- who were always at hand with practical help, good advice, and gentle spurs. I owe a very special acknowledgment to James Daly, who, over several years of devoted, meticulous care to the manuscript as editor/copyeditor, gained an invaluable overview of the work and saved me from many slips and inconsistencies. For help in confirming a prodigious array of facts, I am indebted to Naomi Ben-Gur, Julie Guibord, and Louise Spence. Finally, an appreciation of my wife, Helen, for loving encouragement, intelligent help in research, and, above all, forbearance during the long years the work played hob with our lives.
We are proud to have the continuing opportunity to update and enlarge The Film Encyclopedia. The book remains the invaluable basic resource, featuring many new faces and facts as well as the latest news about the creative forces that make up the rapidly changing world of cinema as it is poised to enter the digital age.
We continue to keep our word and do not eliminate any of the more than 8,000 entries. From time to time we have to tighten some existing entries in order to adhere to the proper paging. For once, for this edition, both editors have been found on the same coast. However our writing habits have been the opposite. Mr. Nolen is a late nighter, working into the wee hours, while Mr. Klein is an early riser in working with Mr. Nolen's electronic material. Both editors have continued to haunt libraries and the outer reaches of the internet in search of the most up-to-date information.
Our thanks to all the various people and institutions who continue to be so helpful, with a special nod to the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. We hope the end result lives up to the esteemed tradition of excellence inspired by the late Ephraim Katz.The Film Encyclopedia 5e
The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume. Copyright © by Ephraim Katz. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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