Cinema Of The Fantastic by Chris Steinbrunner and Burt Goldplatt (book review).

June 21, 2022 | By | Reply More

Looking at the cover of ‘Cinema Of The Fantastic by Chris Steinbrunner and Burt Goldplatt and it does give the impression of one of the cheap SF film books from the 1970s. However, the content shows otherwise with the quality of black and white photos getting better over the decades and many that I haven’t seen before.

Fifteen films are covered: ‘A Trip To The Moon’, ‘Metropolis’, ‘Freaks’, ‘King Kong’, ‘The Black Cat’, ‘The Bride Of Frankenstein’, ‘Mad Love’, ‘Flash Gordon’, ‘Things To Come’, ‘The Thief Of Bagdad’, ‘Beauty And The Beast’, ‘The Thing (From Another World)’, ‘Twenty Thousands Leagues Under The Sea’, ‘Invasion Of The Body Snatchers’ and ‘Forbidden Planet’. A mixture of SF, fantasy and horror films all up to the 1950s. What also makes it unique is the authors examines the directors and key actors work up to and after the film to see how it also effected their careers.

George Méliès ended up in poverty, thankfully helped out by others for the end of his life and I suspect that is what led the authors to look this was at other directors and members of the cast where appropriate. Oh, I should point out that ‘Mad Love’ is the first version of ‘The Hands Of Orlac’.

I’m not saying this book is perfect. The entry on ‘The Black Cat’ was confusing compared to the rest of the other films. I suppose its problematic with books of this nature in not knowing which chapters are done first and, as with two writers, who did what, when they worked together and when the deadline was looming. The sort of things the normal reader doesn’t really appreciate, only seeing the end product. I did wonder why ‘This Island Earth’ was omitted but you wouldn’t have a few surprise films included here otherwise.

Some photos are caught in the middle crease of the book which was also a common problem for landscape format photos but a lot of these are portrait format which is a shame as it is always a key selling point for a photo-heavy book.

For its time, the book does nicely as a filler and certainly shows elements of research although both authors don’t seem to have worked together since.

GF Willmetts

June 2022

(pub: Galahad Books, 1972. 282 page illustrated large hardback. Price; ISBN: 0-88365-26-0)

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Category: Movie books


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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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