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D.W. Griffith
Book review: 'The New Biographical Dictionary of Film' by David Thomson
Book review: 'The New Biographical Dictionary of Film' by David Thomson

Film both mimics our dreams and provokes our fantasies. The idea that an individual's relationship with it might be a narcotic, a heady mood or attitude, an atmosphere that changes speed and temperature but can never be escaped is central to David Thomson's "The New Biographical Dictionary of Film," an ongoing work that first appeared in the mid-1970s. Now in its fifth edition, almost 1,100 pages and with 130 new entries, this mad and magnificent opus finds cinema's Dr. Johnson disenchanted, wondering if anybody cares about film history anymore and even if the medium will continue to command a backward survey. While the Web, as Thomson notes, supports almost...

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