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Cary Grant
David Thomson takes a wide view of movies in 'The Big Screen'
David Thomson takes a wide view of movies in 'The Big Screen'

Even the most ardent traditionalists have to acknowledge that vast, sweeping changes are at work within the realm of film culture. The very practice of shooting on actual physical film, not to mention running that film through a projector for viewing, has become in a way a purposeful act of rebellion. And if motion pictures are no longer shot on film, do we still call them films? Is the very name, let alone nature, of the movies now in doubt? In his latest book, "The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux: 608 pp., $35), author David Thomson presents an ambitiously sprawling overview of the history of motion pictures, told through a perspective at once...

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