Here’s a great one for all you movie lovers out there. I have a ton of books about movies and the companies and people who make them. Any glance at the film department of your friendly local bookstore will tell you there are oodles of guides to help you pick the best movies, from Leonard Maltin’s bestselling tomes and those of the American Film Institute to Videohound’s “golden movie retriever” and even an excellent guide from restaurant review publisher Zagat.  But no matter what guides you use to pick movies to rent or own, you need to have The Film Encyclopedia by Ephraim Katz (Collins, 2008) near to hand. Mr. Katz is no longer with us, but editor Ronald Dean Nolen has maintained his high standards in the 6th edition, continuing to deserve the description, “The most comprehensive encyclopedia of world cinema in a single volume.”
 
In its 1500+ pages, this well-written book contains over 7,500 A to Z entries covering just about everything you would want to know: directors, producers, actors, screenwriters, cinematographers, styles, genres, schools of filmmaking, studios, events, industry jargon and technical terms, inventions, inventors, and equipment. The one thing you cannot look up in the book is a movie – thousands are referenced, but only within the context of the people and ideas listed in the last sentence. So having one of the better movie guides handy makes for a perfect pair of references. 
 
Now you can answer all your questions. How old is Dustin Hoffman, where was he born, how did he get into the movies, and what movies did he act in? Who the heck was Howard Hawks? Who is Salma Hayek? What was it that made Alfred Hitchcock such a great? What are a key light, a key grip, and a keystone? Do you know the fascinating story of the founding of United Artists – or the story of filmmaking in India? Why should anyone who wants to set up a photograph study the work of Freddie Young, a man who made his directorial debut at the age of 82? 
 
I can’t add much more to that, except to quote Kate Hepburn when she said, “Wow! What a book!” If you love movies, how could you not have this book?
   

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