From Wide Angle, vol. 8, no. 3-4, 1986. –- J.R.
FILM STYLE AND TECHNOLOGY: HISTORY AND ANALYSIS by Barry Salt, Starword, 3 Minford Gardens, London W14 0AN, England, 1983: paper, $ 15.00, 408 pages, lllustrations
Review by Jonathan Rosenbaum
It is a sad commentary on the narrowness and inflexibility of current academic publishing
in film studies that this major work had to be brought out at the author’s own expense.
Handsomely produced and generously priced, Film Style and Technology: History and
Analysis offers what is conceivably the most detailed account of film technology that we
have had to date, stretching from 1885 through the Seventies, with roughly one chapter
per decade, and for this aspect of the book alone, no comprehensive library devoted to
film history can afford to be without it. In addition, the book’s innovative use of statistical
style analysis, while problematical in relation to certain stylistic issues, nevertheless
introduces a new form of rigor to film analysis that deserves to be considered in detail.
If, as a “total” view of cinema, Salt’s approach often seems constricted, it nonetheless
yields a wealth of potentially useful material to many different kinds of film scholars.
As Salt’s title makes clear, a technological history of film represents only one part
of his enterprise.… Read more »