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The Best Film You've Never Seen: 35 Directors Champion the Forgotten or Critically Savaged Movies They Love [Paperback]

Robert K. Elder

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Book Description

June 1 2013

In this book, 35 directors champion their favorite overlooked or critically savaged gems. Among these guilty pleasures, almost-masterpieces, and undeniable classics in need of revival are unsung noirs (Murder by Contract), famous flops (Can’t Stop the Music, Joe Versus the Volcano), art films (L’ange), theatrical adaptations (The Iceman Cometh), B-movies (Killer Klowns from Outer Space), and even a few Oscar-winners (Some Came Running).


In these conversations, the filmmakers defend their choices. These films, they argue, deserve a larger audience and for their place in movie history to be reconsidered. But the conversations’ tangents, diversions, and side trips provide as much insight into the directors’ own approach to moviemaking as into the film they’re discussing. The filmmakers are the perfect hosts, often setting the tone, managing expectations, and giving advice about how you should watch each movie. They’re often brutally honest about a film’s shortcomings or the reasons why it was lost in the first place.


The Best Film You’ve Never Seen is not only a guide to some badly overlooked movies but a bold attempt to rewrite film history.

Frequently Bought Together

The Best Film You've Never Seen: 35 Directors Champion the Forgotten or Critically Savaged Movies They Love + The Film That Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (June 1 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569768382
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569768389
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.8 x 23 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #267,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“How necessary this book is! And how well judged and written! Some of the best films ever made, as Robert K. Elder proves, are lamentably all but unknown.”  —Roger Ebert, author and film critic

“I hate Robert Elder. While the rest of us struggle to come up with compelling content, he follows The Film That Changed My Life with another must-read for the novice and hard-core cinephile alike. Anyone who is passionate about art must be prepared to abandon the comfort of conventional wisdom to defend the denigrated and the dismissed; Elder and his impressive cast of commentators inspire us to continue battling for our beloved personal treasures.”  —Adam Kempenaar, critic/host, Filmspotting

“Sometimes it can be more of a pleasure to hear someone discuss a movie with love than it is to see the movie itself. The thoughts and enthusiasms of Richard Linklater, Guy Maddin, John Waters, and others are alone worth the price of admission—and Steve James describing a movie I already love is no less instructive.”  —Jonathan Rosenbaum, author and film critic

“It’s always fascinating to learn which films filmmakers themselves admire, and even more so to read about movies they regard as underrated or virtually lost. Robert K. Elder has managed to coax absorbing, candid comments from directors as elusive as John Dahl, Steve James, and Alex Proyas.”  —Peter Cowie, author and film historian

"Anyone who loves movies should find fascinating stuff here."  —Hollywood & Mine

"For a movie lover who enjoys discoveries and challenges, its 260-ish pages combine into something resembling sheer joy. Is it too early to ask for a sequel?"  —Oaklahoma Gazette

"Elder is successful in pulling thoughtful, stimulating commentary from an impressive group, which makes for an illuminating look at eight decades of cinema across a variety of genres including musicals, comedies, thrillers, and theatrical adaptations.Verdict: A well-written, lively read for pop culture fans and cinephiles alike. Film buffs especially will enjoy this foray into the fascinating world of cinematic shadows."  —Library Journal

"It's a fascinating read . . . You can read it in easy chunks, or, as I did, devour it because you can't stop checking out what one more director had to say."  —Omaha World Herald

About the Author

Robert K. Elder is the author of The Film That Changed My Life, It Was Love When . . ., It Was Over When . . ., and Last Words of the Executed and the editor of John Woo: Interviews. He is a journalist and teacher and has contributed articles to the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Onion AV Club, and many other publications.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5.0 out of 5 stars Opens Up the Door to Much More Oct. 30 2013
By Weezel - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After hearing an interview with the author on the podcast Filmspotting I had to order this book. Even though I have only read about half of the excerpts, it is a must read and I give it five stars. To start the filmmakers that the author interviews all have a unique voice unto themselves. The author picks their brain about films that the general public may have never seen, but that have had an influence on them. I particularly liked the Joe Swanberg excerpt in which he referenced the film "IvansXTC". I never once heard about that film, but his telling of it was very interesting.

With other directors such as Jay Duplass, Kevin Smith, Danny Boyle and Richard Linklater it is easy to find one who you might admire and get to take a trip inside their mind and how they think when analyzing films and in this case very obscure films and how they have manifested themselves into their own work. Totally worth the purchase and it is a very easy read.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie Book Aug. 26 2013
By Paul Teruel - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is an in depth look into great ( depending on your point of view ), but forgotten movies. 35 directors recommending 35 forgotten movies, brilliant concept. I was impressed with the Robert Elders insight and expertise into each movie. He did his homework. Some of the directors spend to much time on their own movies, but that's ok. This increased my queue list for many movies.
The author suggest to prevent from spoilers to watch the movies first. After reading the book, there are 5 or 6 movies I wished I watched before I read the book, if only to enhance my reading.

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