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That Book Is Back

A book? In the Internet age? Yes, the 2012 edition of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide is now available, in two formats: a mass-market paperback (which still retails for $9.99) and a trade paperback edition. Apparently there are plenty of people who still use books—and enjoy consulting this particular one—thank goodness.

And in spite of all the hard work—which never gets easier, believe it or not—I’m not sure what I’d do without this book, which has been part of my life for more than forty years!

As always, we’ve added more than 300 new reviews, and made hundreds of changes and—

—corrections to last year’s volume. We’ve also had to prune a number of older titles, which now exist only in our companion volume, Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide. It’s painful to drop anything, but at 1,643 pages we’ve reached our limit and something has to go. (The director’s index is another casualty this year; it was that or cut 150 more movies.)

This is where the Internet has an advantage over the print medium—and just one reason the iPhone app version of the Movie Guide is so useful (the new 2012 edition is now available HERE.

But as someone who researches movies every day, I know how difficult it is to get accurate information on the ‘net. For instance, if you go online to find out who costars with Matt Damon in The Adjustment Bureau, you’ll be confronted with an avalanche of names like Lisa Thoreson and Florence Kastriner. No offense to those performers, but they probably aren’t the ones you’re looking for: they appear at the top of many cast lists because they’re cited in order of appearance onscreen. You have to scroll way down to find Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, or Terence Stamp. Having seen these movies, we try to compile the most useful cast list possible, and we usually stick with “billing order.”

One of the first lessons I learned when I first worked on this book, so many years ago, was the need for checks and balances. That’s why several of my colleagues inspect each review to look for errors and make suggestions. Mistakes still occur now and then, but thankfully we can rectify them in the following year’s edition.

A project like this can’t be accomplished by computers alone: it takes people, and the right kind of people, who not only know and love movies but care about the details. That’s why I’m grateful to all of my colleagues: Darwyn Carson, Luke Sader, Mike Clark, Rob Edelman, Spencer Green, Pete Hammond, Joe Leydon, Michael Scheinfeld, Bill Warren, Casey St. Charnez, Jerry Beck, and my daughter Jessie Maltin. Many of them have been working with me for decades, and without them there would be no book—in print or on your iPhone.

8 comments

  1. Mark D. says:

    “The director’s index is another casualty this year; it was that or cut 150 more movies.”
    ——————————————————————————————————-

    What’s next, dropping the actor’s index ???

    Obviously, the reviews are the most important part of a book like this, but any ‘respectable’ guide book has those two (crucial) indexes so someone looking for a particular actor and/or director is quickly able to find their films.

    Maybe it’s time to up the price a dollar or two, so the things that help make a reference like this useful don’t continue being cut from the book.

  2. rafael castro says:

    since i bought the 1978 edtion, your book has been a constant in my library. one thing i take from your guides is your meticulous details for the exact running times, expecially in the many european movies that your guides throught the years. i managed to acumulated a long list of about 2600 titles with his original names and original running times and that has been a very entertaining task.

  3. Carson Lorey says:

    I picked this up and was pleased to see a selection that I recommended to be included, Louis Malle’s Black Moon, was there. Still conspicuously missing is Bronson, starring rising star Tom Hardy. Also not included is Bela Tarr’s Werckmeister Harmonies, which is simply a beautifully made film. I think the most glaring omission is Kieslowski’s masterwork, The Decalogue. No film guide should be without that film.

  4. Rick Greene says:

    I bought the very first edition of TV Movies 40 years ago, at the height of the then Nostalgia Boom. That first edition had an insert of photos from classic movies in the middle, at that time a real treat because there weren’t many books about movies, period.

  5. Mark Smith says:

    It would be fantastic to be able to get this in ebook form. It’s getting big enough—and I’m getting old enough—that the sheer quantity of information and tiny type size is becoming, well, a challenge to deal with.

  6. Carlos Sandoval says:

    It´s a great refence book! I always learn from this one. Keep it coming!

  7. Love this guide too, but... says:

    There are several glaring omissions:

    1.) Mads Mikkelsen’s viking film Valhalla Rising

    2.) Neil Marshall’s brutal Roman epic Centurion.

    Where are these two awesome films?

    And what about Michael Bassett’s Solomon Kane. Sure it isn’t out on DVD in the US, but it is readily available from most other countries.

  8. Jim Reinecke says:

    You say “I’m not sure what I’d do without this book”. . .well, Leonard, as a long-time reader (bought the first edition back in the Fall of ’69 when I was 12) I don’t know what I’d do without it (or the companion Classic Guide). But, as I stated in an earlier post, I still have some title corrections for you and your staff. I see that you’ve added the article “The” to Werner Herzog’s THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL; NEW ORLEANS, appended the period to the Coen Brothers’ BLOOD SIMPLE., and dropped the comma from John Schlesinger’s SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY. But. . .there are a few more that need tweaking, so, without further ado, here are three: The 1974 caper comedy with George C. Scott, despite the exclusion of the article “The” on all advertising and the DVD package, is actually THE BANK SHOT; the 1988 Molly Ringwald career-killer (yeah, I know, Molly had more than one) has a question mark on the end of the title and should correctly be listed as FOR KEEPS? And, get this: the classic ’55 tear-jerker with William Holden and Jennifer Jones actually has a hyphen in the title so, in the interests of accuracy, should appear as LOVE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING. More to come (for both the annual and classic guides) in future posts, but, as always, a salute to you and your colleagues for yet another job well done! And I hope that the eye is responding to treatment!

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