Published in 2019, I Saw Three Ships is a hilarious collection of Christmas tales, set in or otherwise revolving around Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood. Author Bill Richardson includes a six-page foreword, as well as extensive endnotes detailing the pedigree of each of the volume’s eight stories. In the latter, he lets the reader know he’s aware of how fatuous all of this bonus content is. Endnotes, he writes, “are even more needless and dubious than forewords,” since they are “symptomatic of a writer who doesn’t know when to shut up”; a writer who is fretful the reader will overlook the most gilded of his subtleties, or not fully appreciate the best jokes. Perhaps the author is trying to plump up the word count, possibly for kabbalistic reasons. ‘Just a few more adverbs and we’ll get to 77,777 and all my dreams will come true!’ (‘Still Goodbying’ 239)
I confess having much the same sentiment for any free-floating text calling itself an appendix, event thought it doesn't follow a substantial work. But here we are. 
i. Raising dust at bookshops and libraries 
You’re reading a lost appendix, or deleted scene, from Hollywood Babel: Why the Cinema Still Matters in the Digital Age, my non-fiction book about movies and how, and why, we watch them. 
The plan is to put the book out under our own imprint, Orange Lamphouse Publishing, in mid-to-late 2024. I had put out an early––or, rather, premature––electronic version of the book seven years ago. The e-book’s vague and boring title was Life with the Movies: Cinematic Change and Adaptation. We held a launch event in the backyard of our Vancouver home. I sold a few copies, which was nice. More than one guest mentioned that they had reservations about e-books, but would definitely buy a hard copy of Life with Movies, even at four or five times the price. I began to update the text for a self-published paper edition, which I planned to release at another backyard bash the following summer.
I made a strong start. First step: get a new title. Sort of. Life with the Movies: Cinematic Change and the Journey Home introduced an element of pretension into the mix. Next, I commissioned my wife Silmara to design the cover. I requested a visual nod to The Wizard of Oz. You can see her first draft above. I loved it. Does the illustration breathe life into the book’s original title? Does it encapsulate the journey home? Maybe. You could see it as Dorothy on her way to the cinema––the real Emerald City of our collective pop culture imagination. But, as Dorothy Gale of the original L Frank Baum novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz discovers, the city that rises from the place where the Yellow Brick Road ends is a façade. The city at the centre of Oz is an elaborate illusion, designed to keep folks in a pleasant stupor. Not only is it not really a city of emeralds, it’s not even green. Like moviegoers heading into a 3D film, all of the visitors to Baum’s city are given special artifice-maintaining spectacles to wear. Dorothy and her friends have the green-tinted glasses locked to their heads. Is this what movies have done to us? Kept us willing prisoners in an air-conditioned Platonic cave of flash and fun, while denying that there are any very real wolves scratching and pawing at the unlocked doors? 
Or perhaps Dorothy (the one seen in Silmara’s image) has already unmasked the Wizard––that “humbug,” as described by the Scarecrow in the 1939 MGM film. That movie concludes with Dorothy being taught how to use the power of the ruby slippers to send her back to Kansas. But in my account, the real magic of the ruby slippers is to grant Dorothy the realization that it’s time to leave the house of illusions. She must now begin to embrace adulthood, under her own power. While a life at the movies can be fun, as film critic David Thomson puts it, it is not life itself. At best, movies are signposts that can help guide us through. They can do this just as well as any form of storytelling. So instead of approaching the Emerald Cinema, Silmara’s Dorothy could be on her way out. She has gathered the courage needed to leave comforting illusions behind. But she pauses and turns. She allows herself one last, wistful look. It’s a time for sighs. 
When I saw the illustration, I was struck by a disheartening truth: my book was not finished. I had not uncovered its pulse. There were some good ideas, a few nice intersecting fields of discussion. It even had some sentences that I liked. But, despite the title, the journey home had not been honoured. It was time to head back to Oz, to Tatooine, and flesh it all out. 
The first thing to go was that awkward title. No more tweaking. It was time to chuck it out wholesale! The word ‘journey’ has become suspect; thoroughly drained of its adventurous scope through overuse. It took me a while to land on a replacement. The biblical story of the fearsome Tower of Babel seemed apt. Its towering height, which made even God nervous, could represent the over-saturation and chaos of the digital age. Compare the near-infinite number of digital video-viewing options to the manageable level of choice offered up by one’s local cinema or even a twelve-auditorium multiplex. I was aware of the Denise Levertov poem. But the path I took to the plains of Shinar, where ancients stood in the tower’s shadow, staring up at an impossible monument to human chutzpah, is mapped out below. 
The book is almost done. During this long (and entirely enjoyable) period of revisions, Silmara has taught me another lesson: aiming for perfection is an absurd goal. It might even be dangerous. Our son’s kindergarten teacher has a mantra I like, based on a modified cliché: practice makes progress. Since 2017, I have made progress on the book, upgrading the already-imperfect e-book version. It’s not perfect and never will be. And that’s okay. At this stage, spending another year or two to make it 3% better is not a fair time/energy/result trade-off. All remaining typos are welcome. 
In the meantime, I offer the present piece. You could call it a foreword, afterword, appendix, or bibliography. Essentially, it’s a thank you to the writers, librarians and booksellers who helped me along this long and winding yellow brick road. It’s also a last-chance pitstop for some wayward ideas, loose associations and final tangential speculations. It’s also an attempt to justify the extensive direct quotation used in the book.
My defence: I’d rather let readers encounter people’s original words and statements, even when they’re quoted at potentially ponderous length (that sentence lets me sneak in one or two more kabbalistic adverbs, although, as a general policy, I try to avoid them). In The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King quotes Ezra Pound to back up his belief that convenient chronologies with dates glued onto tables do not match up with our mental maps of the past. King adds that “[t]here’s nothing like a good quotation to help a body escape an onerous task” (xi). And, as British film critic Robert Manvell puts it, “[n]o excuse is made for the heavy quotation in this book: it is part of its purpose to let as large a number of film-makers and critics as possible raise their own dust” (11). 
ii. Dust-raising 
Nearly every time I visited one of Vancouver’s fantastic independent bookshops (including Kestrel Books on West 4th Avenue, between Dunbar and Alma; The Paper Hound on Pender, near the corner of Homer; the city’s two Book Warehouses, and Chinatown’s fabulous Massy Books), a title related to the chapter I was working on would fall into my hands. I also received plenty of assistance from the superb staff of the Vancouver Public Library. I am indebted to its bountiful collection. Every time I thought I had just about wrapped up my research, a title would beckon from the New Books section. 
I pulled many split shifts. After a full stint at my day job downtown, I’d head to the VLP’s Central Branch. There, I’d write until closing time (more than once, the loud announcement warning us that the library would be closing in forty minutes would snap me out of a doze). I was on my way out one evening when J Hoberman’s Make My Day: Movie Culture in the Age of Reagan caught my eyes. How could it not? Check out the awesome Art Spiegelman cover illustration of Reagan as the smoking-gun-toting spirit of the Ghostbusters logo (the ghosts themselves sit in a cinema below the Eastwoodian president, bathed in the silver-screen glow and grabbing popcorn out of stars-and-stripes festooned snack bags). Signing the book out would, I sensed, postpone the final turning over of the manuscript to Silmara for formatting. And so it did. But it was worth it. 
Make My Day is alarming. Hollywood output influenced Reagan’s worldview. Movies shaped his attitudes towards other countries. And he spent a lot of time watching movies during his two terms as president. Make My Day is funny, too, especially in the author’s gloss on the homoeroticism of Top Gun. There are those metallic phallic symbols of male virility that the characters zoom around in, for a start. And, at one point, a man screams, “I want some butts!” 
Hoberman’s penetrating look at Ghostbusters as the quintessential Reagan-era blockbuster was eye-opening. I’d enjoyed the film, superficially, when it first came out in 1984. As a pre-teen, I’d taken in the film as a light comedy mixed with some light horror, served up with tasty side dishes of male camaraderie, action, and special effects. It inspired more than one homemade Ghostbusting jumpsuit/proton-pack Hallowe’en costume in my neighbourhood that autumn (my best pal Jeff and I were not similarly inspired: we went trick-or-treating as Laurel and Hardy). Ghostbusters’ Reagan-ism can be detected in its anti-higher education, anti-regulation, pro-capitalism stance (in its own clunky way, the movie is almost as much a slab of paranoid Cold War propaganda as the Soviets-as-Martians sci-fi flicks of the fifties––at least as much a slab as Rocky IV, which came out about a year after Ghosbusters). The movie is overly-reliant on its visual effects, as Hoberman points out, even if some of them are flimsy (note those unconvincing hell-hounds). 
As much as I enjoyed Hoberman’s book, I noticed his repetition of certain words and phrases. He has a penchant for the structure ‘X is predicated on/upon ____,’ and favours the adjective ‘lumpen,’ often in conjunction with Sylvester Stallone. 
For her part, Pauline Kael uses a similar word to describe Stallone’s Rocky III physique: “lumpy.” This description can be contrasted with the terms she uses to capture the chiselled perfection of Carl Weathers’ Vitruvian Man-esque build (once again, Weathers plays Rocky’s opponent-turned-trainer-turned-best friend Apollo Creed). But I bring you this description from memory. 
A minor casualty of the first wave of COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 was my freedom to stroll into any given VPL branch and look up references and page numbers. I was unable to track down the article on Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ I recall reading in a 2004 issue of Time in which the writer described the film as having the potential to launch a new genre, which they termed ‘religious torture porn.’ I might be misremembering or misattributing the term, but it’s a good description of The Passion. I think it’s an awful film, and the bare fact of its violence and gore weren’t the problem. The problem, for me, was that the gore was smeared all over a character that the movie had not bothered to establish as someone the audience should care about. Gibson assumes the audience’s exophoric knowledge of Christ will carry viewers into and out of the story. For many, it did. The Passion was an enormous hit. But aside from what you bring to the cinema, the movie’s narrative needs to do its own work. A film, whether a sequel, prequel, or based-on-a-true-story epic, needs to stand on its own.  
When the library cautiously reopened, only the first floor of the central branch was open to a mask-wearing public. I couldn’t do much of a search for the source of that torture-porn quote. But in the ‘new’ section on the ground floor, another book caught my attention: Naomi McDougall Jones’ The Wrong Kind of Women: Inside Our Revolution to Dismantle the Gods of Hollywood. It’s galvanizing––the ideal book for these times, which have seen a projector beam aimed at the male condescension, harassment and abuse, on the set and in executive offices, previously kept in the shadows. We’re in a cinematic era that is witnessing a growing public awareness of how women’s voices have been sidelined or silenced in much of Hollywood’s output, from the early days of the industry till today. Maria Schrader’s brilliant She Said tells the true story of New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan breaking the code of silence that had protected Hollywood sexual predator Harvey Weinstein. She Said captures the zeitgeist in a way that another movie released the same year, the Top Gun sequel Maverick (while plastic surgery has sent its star into the uncanny valley, his butt is still craveable) could not. 
My family and I moved from Vancouver to Vernon at the end of that first pandemic summer. I was able to continue research at my local branch of the Okanagan Public Library. Once again, an excellent team of librarians never failed to help me out. Furthermore, my library card now gives me access to the Kanopy streaming service. I’m limited to five films or TV programs a month, but I have never maxed it out. That’s due to time constraints, not a lack of options. Kanopy has a wide range of content and adds great new films every week. With other free platforms available, including the NFB, CBC Gem and Knowledge Network sites, I struggle to understand why anyone would pay a monthly fee to access a streaming service. It would be like having to pay to borrow library books. 
Buying yourself a brand new book from a shop is the equivalent of going to the cinema to see a movie. I usually favour second hand bookshops, but it’s nice to head to Coles in the mall and splurge now and then. Thanks to Eleanor Wachtel’s interview with actor, writer and director Sarah Polley on the peerless CBC Radio 1 show ‘Writers and Company’ in the spring of 2022, I headed to the mall to pick up Polley’s collection, Run Towards the Danger. Sometimes our reading leads us to books that seem to comment on, or expand upon, the ideas found in the previous one (it might feel like serendipity, but we're often following a thread). Run Towards the Danger is the perfect follow-up to McDougall Jones’ The Wrong Kind of Women. Polley outlines how the persistence of the raging male genius filmmaker persona has overridden safety concerns on set, for child and adult actors alike. Her experiences co-starring in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, directed by Terry Gilliam, were harrowing. Years later, she’s gaslighted by Gilliam, but backed up by his fellow Monty Python alumni, Eric Idle. 
iii. Sprinkling stardust on the underworld 
More serendipity. 
A few years ago, Silmara and I conducted an on-camera interview with poet George Bowering and his childhood friend Will Trump for our documentary Out of the Interior: Survival of the Small-town Cinema in British Columbia. Jean Baird, Bowering’s wife, prompted the two old friends with questions far more informed than my own. They recalled attending (and being thrown out of) The Oliver Theatre as teenagers in the fifties. After some practice at home, they once walked slowly backwards through the lobby and into the auditorium. This was an attempt to avoid paying by blending into the crowd coming out of the early show. It didn’t work. But the interview led me to the best-selling collection of essays edited by Baird and Bowering called The Heart Does Break: Canadian Writers on Grief and Mourning. All of the entries are terrific. Brian Fawcett’s ‘My Father’s Blue Skies’ really stood out for me. While his dad was in hospital, Fawcett read from another collection of essays, this one by Bruce Serafin, published under the title Stardust.
Fawcett is particularly intrigued by Serafin’s musings on Underworld by Don DeLillo. DeLillo’s novel suggests that linear history and a sense of progress has been replaced, in part, by the lurid loop of mechanical reproduction. Full-colour “great and terrible” events of the past have all gone to monochrome “in the film fade of memory” (Underworld 134). Fawcett develops Serafin’s ideas, arriving at the image of the contemporary media world as a second Tower of Babel. The foundation of this new tower was built by TV, with video sharing sites adding floor after floor to create a vertiginous cacophony of sound and image. Content is drained of all original (or intended) meaning. It is then often given new, unexpected meanings by being truncated, interrupted, skipped, returned to, and/or juxtaposed with advertising. Story gets sandwiched between celebrity gossip and home movies (our own, or those of friends, family members, total strangers). Moving pictures are now mostly viewed outside the cinema, and, increasingly, outside the home. They are seen less as full-length, linear narratives and more as disconnected fragments. We watch them in short bursts, often without sound; often out of the corner of our eyes as we scroll through our feeds. Like our great-grandparents, we watch a lot of silent shorts. 
I first read Underworld twenty years ago. It has been a revelation revisiting it. For a start, reading is re-reading. Moreover, the world the book presents eerily prefigures the suffocating omni-presence of GAFA (Google-Apple-Facebook-Amazon). This contemporary mediascape is an endless, shouty loop of commerce, pornography, anti-truth, and pop culture nostalgia. And not just nostalgia for older movies and ‘classic’ TV series. 
Forty years ago, a bouncy seasonal jingle from a pharmacy chain blared out from TV sets in December: ‘Merry Christmas from Payless!’ Once, this cheerful encouragement for you to shop was merely part of the regular, irritating interruption of narrative. Now, it’s been warmed up in the Memory Microwave and served back to its original target audience. Many of these consumers are unaccountably pleased to accept the well-wish this time round. The effect might be even more pronounced on the local level. The endearingly cheesy, low-budget commercials Russell Oliver made for his Toronto jewellery business (cash for gold? "Oh yeah!") have re-warmed the hearts of thousands of YouTube users who grew up in Ontario. 
Further pop nostalgia revolves around mass-market children’s toys. Now, we can re-glom the original commercials for all that molded plastic. They show kids in front of orderly displays of the latest line of GI Joe figures and playsets, or surrounded by dioramas of the entire Master of the Universe collection of characters (most of whom are freakishly muscled men––lumpen and/or lumpy, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Skeletor et al resemble more the baked goods of Corrina Chong’s excellent story ‘Butter Buns’, found in her 2023 collection The Whole Animal, than any character played by Sylvester Stallone, even in his gym-crafted prime). In these sleek re-enactments of playtime, nothing is busted. No sword or laser blaster accessory has been lost yet. 
Plastic action figures were shrewdly marketed to kids by appearing in commercial breaks on Saturday mornings, which used to be given over to cartoons (‘shrewdly’ would be too light a term for children’s troubadour and climate activist Raffi, who believes targeting children with hyperbolic advertising is unethical). But a child could still get up and turn off the TV (on her own accord or as the result of parental encouragement). The child could then head outside. The commercial would not follow. That has changed. 
Fawcett paints a portrait of the modern electronic media as a de-centralized zone of bottomless content and online tracking. The privacy-crushing internet “relentlessly colonizes the planet and our brains,” as Douglas Coupland puts it (Kitty Clone 9). Coupland wonders how far the process will go before we step back (if we can) and say, without irony but with genuine confusion and alarm, “[y]ou know, I really don’t remember my pre-Internet brain at all” (ibid). 
It is a Fawcettian Tower of Babel, with The Patricia Theatre, Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz, Psycho and The Rocket Richard as the cornerstones, that rises from the centre of the rickety five-sided edifice that is my book Hollywood Babel. I picture the whole shebang hovering over the Baum’s Great Shifting Sands (huge deserts separate Oz from the human world). I thank Brian Fawcett for providing me with the map to this unlikely (and slightly sandy) neverland; and I also thank Jean and George for the path to Fawcett they cleared with The Heart Does Break.
I’d constructed my Fawcettian Tower before I came across Eric Rhode’s Tower of Babel: Speculations on the Cinema. I’d initially thought this 1966 book might be a sort of Marshall McLuhan-influenced look at the cinema of its time. Instead, Rhode uses the Tower as a starting point for his look at how films are informed by the twin pillars of modern life: the city and the prison, since “both of them stir in us a fatiguing awareness of our loneliness and isolation, of life as a series of cells from which death is the only escape”:
         Adrian Stokes, the writer on aesthetics, has argued that the psychopath is the natural inhabitant of the city                 since his schizoid tendencies are confirmed by its brutal architecture; and certainly, it appears appropriate                   from more than a historical viewpoint that gangster films should usually be played out in the gloom of the                 asphalt jungle. (14)
Film noir is urban, and so is the Tower of Babel (the Tower took its name from the city it was built in, not the other way around). Rhode argues that film is an art form. He cites Sergei Eisenstein, Fritz Lang, Federico Fellini, and Andrzej Wajda as the medium’s finest artists. All of them wrestle with the brutal intersecting fields of urban jungle and jail cell (Rhode does not anticipate the spate of films, including the Friday the 13th series and its clones, that focus on rural or suburban psychopaths. Norman Bates himself does not become a city-dweller until he’s institutionalized). 
Rhode also tackles the issue of authorship. How can we claim a single person has ‘made’ a film when the medium requires so much cooperation among so many people? Picture the little town of workers that is the on-set or on-location film crew. It would be like crediting the Tower of Babel itself to the foreman while ignoring, or (at best) downplaying, his construction army. Not to mention the architect. Or the business people who bribed the politicians to circumvent zoning rules to get the project rolling. 
iv. David Thomson: befuddlement vs wisdom
Eli Glasner, the CBC’s national film critic, has provided plenty of entertaining and useful film commentary in his TV appearances (his podcast, Glasner on Film, seems to be on extended hiatus, which is too bad; but he makes welcome appearances on Stephen Quinn’s Vancouver program, 'The Early Edition'). He’s not alone. Tuning into CBC Radio One at home and leaving it on all day allows me to catch snatches of relevant Hollywood data from a number of programs, including 'Under the Influence', the ebullient marketing and advertising show hosted by Terry O’Reilly. He talks about movies, and the Beatles, a lot. And both of those are good things. When I emailed the show with a source-checking request for information, I received a gracious and helpful reply from O’Reilly himself. 
Meanwhile, Eleanor Wachtel, the inimitable host of  'Writers and Company', introduced me to the work of English-born, San Francisco-based film critic David Thomson. Wachtel, as ever, had done extensive preparation for the insightful, wide-ranging interview that I didn’t want to end (I was sad to learn, in the spring of 2023, that Wachtel was retiring from her show––but after more than thirty years on the job, she has more than earned more time to devote to reading). Several of Thomson’s books provided the names and dates behind a ragtag collection of Hollywood gossip and stories I’d had floating around my noggin for years. 
For example, I’d always known, somehow, that Alfred Hitchcock had to personally convince the censors (whoever they were) not to cut out all of the naughty bits in Psycho. I’ve always pictured Hitch at his charming best at some swanky, yet discreet, Hollywood eatery––probably Chasen’s, Hitch’s fave (Walt Disney liked this place, too). No doubt Hitch served up some dry humour with the dry wine, adding the occasional dollop of sarcasm, I bet, to bolster the argument that artists like himself must be allowed free expression. Whatever his approach at the actual meeting, Hitchcock was successful. Thanks to Thomson, I was at last able to confirm that Geoffrey Shurlock, chief censor and head of the Production Code at the time, had indeed been wined, dined and charmed by the master of suspense. 
Thomson’s The Big Screen is not journalistic. It is not a chronological account of the history of cinema, either. It’s personal and philosophical to the point where the author himself suggests it might be better to think of the book as a novel entitled The Moviegoer (519). This would also would have made a fitting title for long-time Entertainment Weekly film critic Owen Gleiberman’s lively 2016 memoir Movie Freak: My Life Watching Movies (in which, Gleiberman misidentifies Trainspotting as a Welsh film––his editor owes him at least two Brandy Alexanders for not catching that one). And The Moviegoer would have also made a pretty good title for Hollywood Babel (see note 1), in which some of my life with movies cannot help but spill into the mix. I found it impossible to separate my experiences as a child watching Star Wars films in crowded cinemas from the films as narratives. Thomson writes that the “compartmentalization of criticism and memoir is an error that allows us to dwell on technique or style while overlooking the meaning of films” (Sleeping With Strangers 321). 
What do films mean? 
Many of us are impressed by stars and filmmakers. Some of us analyse camera movement in The Godfather and rhapsodize about its dark, rich ‘palette’. Others mention once again how Marlon Brando stuffed cotton in his cheeks to achieve the look of the character. We think of aesthetics (that buttery lighting) and the practical techniques behind the nuances of the acting. Perhaps a bit of lip service is paid to the apparent ‘message’ or conclusion of those first two parts of The Godfather series––something about power corrupting decent people and scumbags alike. But consider, for a moment, what The Godfather series might mean to certain male viewers who want to enter the world depicted in the films. What can be said about anyone who wants to be part of this exclusive, ultra-cool men’s club; a place where women, as Thomson puts it, are “subordinate figures who accept their role as weary, hushed trophies set to be betrayed, exploited, and shut out of the room”? (ibid 309). 
The placement of women in in the background of gangster films made by male auteurs is widely consistent, as Dorothy Woodend, culture editor for The Tyee, notes in her review of The Irishman. In this 2019 Jimmy Hoffa biopic, directed by Martin Scorsese for Netflix, “women in the film are largely irrelevant,” she writes: 
        The only significant female character is Sheeran’s [Robert DeNiro] daughter Peggy, played by Lucy Gallina as a          girl and Anna Paquin as an adult. As the supposed moral core of the film, Peggy is given about six lines of                  dialogue...The rest of the women in the story––wives, mothers and girlfriends––are barely indistinguishable….          [the female characters are] lacquered and ornamental as mannequins. (web)
To state the obvious (and to paraphrase a common defence of male-centric filmmaking), the depiction of violence or sexism is not necessarily endorsement. Mistaking inventory for analysis is a common error of the novice (or not-great veteran) journalist. A writer and/or director sometimes presents violence and misogyny to critique them (note how depressing the violence is in the films of David Cronenberg). But it’s hard to find the critique lurking in the crisp visuals, beautifully tailored suits, blinding star power, and rarified cool of the music (lots of Doors, Rolling Stones, Harry Nilsson) licensed for Coppola’s and Scorese’s oeuvres. 
 In much of his work, Thomson muses on the dread and desire of the screen and what the movies have done to those who have watched so many of them over so many years. He allows Facebook, video games, and porn to inform his grand theory of screens. He is always slick with a sentence and a pleasure to read. On occasion, however, he does seem to be “at sea in the now, stuffing his bottle with a love letter to a lost love” according to Louis Bayard, who goes on to dismiss Thomson as “a befuddled elder” (35). This age-based criticism comes from a contemporary review of The Big Screen, in which the reviewer finds the author “engaging in the kind of mushy mythography that a tough-minded critic should be immune to” (ibid)
I came across this particular review by chance. The thoughtful previous owner of the copy of The Big Screen I picked up at Vancouver’s legendary MacLeod’s bookshop had cut it out of Book Forum and left it between the pages. I like this kind of chance discovery. It reminds me of the time I pulled out my father’s copy of Bob Dylan’s Desire LP and out fell a crumpled contemporaneous review from either The Times Colonist, Victoria’s daily, or The Martlet, the student paper of the University of Victoria. Either way, the headline is ‘Dylan does it again', which doesn't indicate, necessarily, that what follows is a positive review, but, in this case, 'it' means 'something cool'). Bayard’s found-review prompted a couple of questions: does a critic need to be “tough-minded”? Why? Does it mean thick-skinned? Relentlessly critical? Borderline hostile? It’s a slippery slope from toughness to cynicism; from run-of-the-mill condemnation to all-too-predictable user-comment-style attack. Is there not room for a touch of sensitivity in the night? Or is that just so much snowflake-ism in this era when something called cancel culture has superseded political correctness in its relentless mission to drive out energy and colour from everything?
I don’t know. Either way, Thomson sighs over what has become of the promise of the screen––how it seemed poised to disseminate visions of truth but ended up granting us permission to give up on reality––or at least to see reality transmuted into a toy or a dream by Hollywood alchemists. “[I]t has been fun at the movies,” he concludes in a book with a click-baity title, Sleeping With Strangers, “[a] life of fun. But what has the fun done to life?” (228). I find the sense of regret that this question hints at is clothed in a wistfulness that doesn’t necessarily indicate any weak-mindedness on Thomson’s part, or represent his failure to achieve a certain toughness of stance. The Big Screen and Sleeping With Strangers point toward the rueful acceptance of change that comes with age and experience––the wisdom that can result from a long life of so much watching (and trying to see), rather than simply being tripped up in what book reviewer Bayard waves away as befuddlement.
How to Watch a Movie, Thomson’s more concise but equally thoughtful follow-up to The Big Screen, could be his response to Bayard. Here, he offers cutting but insightful commentary on films, and what they’ve done to the way we see and/or interpret real life. He downplays Chaplin, to my mild chagrin, up-plays Hitchcock and sees Ingmar Bergman’s Persona (1966) as one of the best examples of that strange double-bind that is the simultaneous willing suspension of disbelief, and the unrelinquished spatial/temporal awareness of the movie viewer. Movies can transport us, but we are only transported as ourselves. 
I was pleased to read Thomson’s praise of one of my favourite films, Sarah Polley’s 2012 quasi-documentary Stories We Tell (I’m susceptible to the flash of validation I get when I find my opinion echoed by so-called professionals). A minor misstep comes towards the end of How to Watch a Movie, however, and one that has nothing to do with his opinion on any given film or filmmaker. When discussing Super 8mm as a format as “film you can neither buy nor process now, brittle celluloid...which contains a few moments from so many young lives” (224), he’s jumping the gun. Silmara and I got into shooting Super 8 in 2015 and we know we are not alone: at least two labs in the greater Toronto area, Niagara Custom Lab and Frame Discreet, still sell, process and print this charming format. 
Stories We Tell, incidentally, features plenty of Super 8 footage––vintage home movies, archival footage and new sequences filmed by Polley (which is why I’m happy to describe Stories We Tell as a ‘film’ rather than a ‘movie’––this distinction matters for people who recognize the photo-chemical craftsmanship required for filmmaking, as opposed to the video-tech skills needed for today’s non-film, CGI-augmented moviemaking). In 2019, Once Were Brothers, an open-hearted look at the careers of Robbie Robertson and The Band, became the first documentary to open the Toronto International Film Festival. In the end credits, I noticed that Niagara Custom Lab had handled much of the film processing for the project. 
I suffered another piece of mild chagrin when reading How to Watch a Movie. I thought I had made an original, or at least semi-original, link when I compared the single-viewing experience of Edison’s Kinetoscope machines over a century ago with the relatively recent habit of watching movies alone on one’s phone. They seem to be parallel experiences. The size of the image, for a start, must be roughly the same. Then I found the same comparison in Thomson’s work. I left the idea in Hollywood Babel, even though I’ll never be able to prove I came up with it independently. And I’m sure more than one person made the link, and wrote about it, before Thomson did. 
The same goes for seeing the iPhone-earbud set-up as a digital drip-feed (we scroll through what we’ve chosen to call ‘feeds,’ after all). Thomson beat me to it in his 2016 book Television: a Biography. It’s already a dated comparison: most people now use wireless Apple EarPods (or some knock-off). Many of the international students I taught in Vancouver, most of them in their mid-twenties, would leave these devices in their ears all day. They could turn on a song or podcast the second the opportunity arises. Convenient. Or maybe they were hinting at an unarticulated wish to become  cyborgs. 
Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and several other books set in that magical fairy land, created a character named Nick Chopper. Nick was a lumberjack who had his human parts replaced, one by one, by tin versions of flesh-and-blood appendages, every time his cursed axe turned on him and sliced off a limb (the spell on the axe had been cast by the Wicked Witch of the East––not long before Dorothy’s farmhouse fell out of the sky and crushed her to death). Like the Tin Woodman, we are, step by step, robotisizing ourselves. 
Some Thomson-esque leaning-toward-speculation has certainly leaked into my book, for better and for worse. A friend of mine, Vancouver-based animation history professor and movie critic Michael van den Bos, sniffed out a whiff of the latter when he read an early draft. He noticed what he considers to be “dubious claims” I’d made about the production of Psycho. Michael sent me some additional, balancing information from Stephen Rebello’s Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, a book Michael deems essential (it was one of the sources for the 2019 biopic Hitchcock, starring Anthony Hopkins in the title role). Rebello was also one of the most articulate and least fan-boy-esque of the talking heads seen in the Psycho shower scene documentary 78/52 (David Thomson offers some pithy comments of his own, but his appearance in the doc is far too brief). 
Michael went further and got in touch with Rebello himself. He sent the author a few pertinent questions on my behalf. Rebello replied with pertinent answers, and was polite and encouraging––although I can’t totally buy his argument that eye-witnesses are the best guides to what happened. They so often bring a mountain of bias, retroactive blame, self-defence, and self-aggrandizement to later recollections; they can be tempted into what podcaster and author Rob Harvilla describes as “weaponizing [one’s] own hindsight” (an example: how Bernard Herrmann, the composer of the excellent Psycho score, would go on to claim that he basically directed the shower sequence). Even so, I’m grateful to Michael for this virtual encounter and, as always, impressed with his dedication to accuracy when it comes to cinematic history.
v. Ron Base and David Haslam on celebrity lounging 
The neither good nor bad, great nor petty. He is the human pseudo-event. He has been fabricated on purpose to satisfy our exaggerated expectations of human greatness.
-Daniel J Boorstin (from The Image, page 57-58)
For Christmas 1990, my parents gave me a colourful, splendidly illustrated book called The Movies of the Eighties
I spent a lot of time flipping through its pages and looking at the pictures, pretty much reading only the photo captions. It was good, therefore, to pull it off the shelf all these decades later and actually read the text proper. I had expected some Entertainment Tonight-style puff-job, some coffee-table-friendly ‘buzz.’ I was pleasantly surprised, then, by the edgier tone the book takes. I was impressed with its unsentimental look at the delirious money, insatiable greed, inflated ego and near-hysterical hype that powers the industry. It was also nice to discover that the authors, Ron Base and David Haslam, are Canadian, and, therefore, have just the right amount of cultural and geographical distance to approach their (mostly) Hollywood subjects with a refreshing absence of star-struckedness. They also went out of their way to survey non-American movies, citing David Cronenberg and Denis Arcand as two of the top screenwriters and directors working in Canada during the decade (the latter’s Jesus of Montréal from 1989 easily makes any otherwise ever-shifting top ten or even top five list of my personal favourite movies)(see note 2). 
Both men receive equal billing on the book’s cover. The back flap outlines the division of duties. Ron Base, novelist and former movie critic for the Toronto Star, is credited as author, while David Haslam, editor and publisher of Marquee magazine, handled the photo editing. I remember leafing through my free copy of Marquee as a kid, waiting for the movie to start at our local Famous Players twoplex. A few years ago I enjoyed a pleasant wave of nostomania at a Vancouver thrift store on West Broadway. I had stumbled upon a stack of back issues, selling for about fifty cents each. For some reason I didn’t buy the whole stack right then and there, but I did buy the vintage sewing machine in the window that had drawn me into the shop in the first place. I returned several weeks later to grab the Marquee mags only to discover the thrift store had been cleaned out and closed up for good. This kind of thing happens all the time in Vancouver. The sewing machine didn’t last much longer. One day, Silmara had it revved to the max while stitching up a stack of fabric. A small but vital component flew off. It was dented upon impact and resisted all attempts at re-attachment. 
In the early nineties, around the time Garth Drabinsky was ousted as CEO from Cineplex Odeon, the chain phased out Marquee. Moviegoers began receiving complimentary copies of something called Tribute instead. Eventually, the self-branded Cineplex magazine became available for free to all ticket-holders, but the format and style stuck fairly close to Haslam’s template. When Cineplex reopened its theatres after the second major COVID-caused closure, the company made its mag digital-only. And even then, the downloadable version only seems to have lasted till December 2020. I was, and still am, disappointed and annoyed. Pre-pandemic, I had appreciated the chance to flip through some actual paper and look at something other than the excruciating ‘pre-show’––a euphemism for the relentless bubbly-ness of the FM-radio-style hoopla that plays before the parade of car and bank ads (which, in turn, play before the trailers). 
The demise of Marquee, which stuck around as late as 2004, seems to have been hard on Haslam. He had devoted much of his professional life to it. He died in 2011 at the age of sixty-seven (Base, web). 
The Movies of the Eighties has a curious (and enjoyable: this is not a criticism) tendency to not just avoid star-buffeting positivity, but to describe the appearance and mannerisms of their interview subjects, even when not being entirely complimentary. Base has a habit of noting how celebs always seem to “lounge” or “slump” around the hotel suites they’re holed up in for a day’s round of press. He sometimes focuses on the hotel rooms themselves with startling precision. And since Hollywood Babel doesn’t look at the Hollywood star system in detail, I thought a couple of their examples would help fill the gap. Here’s a gleamingly creamy one, about action star Sylvester Stallone:
      In July of 1981, he gleamed in a creamy suit expensively draped over a body which he worked on four hours              each day, and lately slimmed down so that the lines were clean, without the bulky, unappealing look of the                body-builder. His hair was black and thick and not a strand of it was out of place. (43) 
Stallone had slimmed down for Rocky III ("he looks like a middle-weight!" yelps a ringside commentator right before the the climatic bout), and the leanness contributes to the Rambo's feral look in First Blood (shot not long after the third Rocky film had wrapped). That might explain why, according to Base, the star was no longer so unappealingly lumpen/lumpy/bulky by the summer of '81. But later, in an elevator, despite the clean lines of that gym-refined body, that creamy suit, perfect hair, “[h]is face went slack and his eyes went dead, and in that cramped elevator Sly Stallone seemed very much alone” (ibid). 
Don't worry. A few years later, he’d be cheerful again when discussing the success of Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985):
      ‘Oh boy, that was unbelievable,’ he said one day lounging around the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. ‘I didn’t think the        movie was going to be popular at all. I thought that character was just too dark for audiences to respond to. But        it did sometimes ten times the business in certain countries that Rocky III did. In Europe, it murdered Rocky.’         (18)
Stallone is enthusiastic about his work (“oh boy”!) and happy to pit his two hit franchises against each other in lethal battles for ticket-selling supremacy. However, “[f]rom a dramatic point of view,” John Ralston Saul writes, “there is no difference” between the characters of Rocky and Rambo; no baseline distinction to make between Stallone’s “underdog sports figure” and his “underdog military figure” (Voltaire’s Bastards 511). They were underdogs chasing each other’s tails. In 1985, Rambo II hit the big screen in the summer, and Rocky IV was out just in time for Christmas. Sly was losing the lean look and bulking back up. In an interview I read around that time (possibly in Marquee), the star said there were days when he wasn't sure if he was meant to pull on a pair of boxing gloves or pick up a machine gun. “By alternating between Rocky and Rambo,” Roger Ebert points out in his 1988 interview with Stallone, “he can be back on a regular basis with a five-letter R-hero without seeming to repeat himself” (web).  
While Stallone may have been bragging about Rambo murdering Rocky after looking at some short-term overseas box office figures, the public’s affection would eventually settle on the oiled shoulders of the latter. The image of Rocky raising his arms in victory would prove irresistible to an American moviegoing culture obsessed with competition and winning. The pose was cast in bronze for a larger-than-life statue created for a scene in Rocky III. When filming was completed, Stallone donated the statue to the Philadelphia Art Museum. The gift-giving, allegedly, ignited a debate on whether or not a movie prop could be considered art. 
The roots of the arms-raised-in-victory image are older than the United States itself: “Rocky’s movements are those of a High Renaissance figure,” Saul continues, “God as portrayed by Michelangelo”:
     Stallone has explained that he studies the paintings of the Renaissance in order to capture those movements. In         other words, what began as the raised arm of God, then of kings, only to be stolen by the citizenry as a symbol         of its freedom and individualism, from whom it was snatched by the usurping Heroes, has been stolen again,             this time by the stars, who use it as a symbol of their Godlike role. (ibid)
Whether or not conscious of his snatching of the victorious gestures from We the People to symbolise his own outsized fame, the Sylvester Stallone of the mid-eighties––at least in Base’s account––comes across as a relaxed celebrity enjoying his wealth and fame. He was always game to discuss his most popular characters. This was in marked contrast with another major male star of the period, another actor famous for two heroic, blockbuster roles in the eighties:
     Harrison Ford sat slumped into a corner of a sofa in a Los Angeles hotel suite, unable to keep the look of                   irritation off his face. He was a remote, taciturn man, notorious among the journalists who interviewed him for         monosyllabic answers. He wasn’t doing much better today. Ford was in the process of promoting a new movie, a       detective thriller entitled Witness, but reporters kept asking him about Han Solo and about Indiana Jones.                 (Movies of the Eighties 49)
In his memoir Movie Freak, Owen Gleiberman observes Ford in a similar state. The actor was on a press junket for his 1986 film The Mosquito Coast: “I got to watch a visibly surly Harrison Ford get more and more apoplectic with each question he was asked,” Gleiberman writes (117). By the time Stallone and Ford worked together (Ford appears in The Expendables 3, a 2014 Stallone action vehicle), the former had a couple more Rocky films in the bag, while the latter had added a fourth Indiana Jones adventure to his curriculum vitae. “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull [2008] takes Harrison Ford’s archaeologist-adventurer into senior citizenry,” Spielberg biographer Molly Haskell writes, “his prowess barely diminished”:
     Ford does most of his own stunts––Indy can still kick butt and rescue endangered women––but far from                   evading the age issue, the movie makes a point of it. With his wizened sex appeal, Indy is a surrogate for aging           adolescents of Hollywood, those onetime rebels against the studio fossils, now senior citizens themselves. As the         ranks, and the hair, of Hollywood’s A-list action stars thin out, a lifeline appears: the geezer superhero movie,             with the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis still routing bad guys. (194)
There were limits, however, to the stamina of even the mightiest of these geezer superheroes. 
In 2015’s spin-off Creed, Rocky, retired at last, is old and sick. A year or so prior to the release of Creed, Stallone officially declared the fifth Rambo film a non-starter (apparently, he’d been working on the screenplay with David Morrell, the character’s creator and author of First Blood, the novel that the first Rambo film was based on). Stallone cited aging and the lingering effects of the broken back he’d suffered after performing a stunt for the original Expendables outing. Only time, as Rocky explains to Donny, the son of his best friend (and former opponent) Apollo, is undefeated. As Indiana Jones once said, “it’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”
Indy’s real-life avatar, Harrison Ford may have been making a point with his rising grumpiness. “It was hard not to notice that the junkets were becoming insufferable infotainment love-ins,” Gleiberman continues, “in which the ‘interviews’ consisted of newspaper and TV reporters trying to look in the know by pelting movie stars with questions like, ‘So, how’s the new baby?’” (117). The hotel-suite movie-promo racket exhausted Ford, even in his Star Wars prime. Some members of the press were sympathetic. Brian Linehan, the preternaturally measured host of the long-running Toronto-based TV show City Lights, recognised the strain (3).
Seated next to his Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill, Ford seems to appreciate Linahen’s sensitivity. “Harrison, when you tour the way you do,” Linehan asks, “and you wake up in yet another hotel room in another city, preparing to discuss the inner meaning of Han Solo, what has it given a man, and an artist?” Ford laughs, and says, “a bad night’s sleep!” He reflects for a moment. “What has it given me to do these interviews? It’s like...that film is like a baby for you, and you don’t want to set it out in the world unless you know that you’ve prepared…” He trails off, and then admits, not very convincingly, that he “probably” has learnt something about himself during the endless rounds of press.
vi. John Berger: no glamour in this hammer 
There's no glamour in the Hammer 
but they sell it at the Big & Tall
They'll fit a king like a prince 
in a joker's pair of coveralls.

-from ‘No Glamour in the Hammer’ by Whitehorse,
(music and lyrics by Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland) 
Many movie stars persist in pretending they are just like us. 
They act as if they are unaffected by their fame and riches. Celebrity media likes to ‘expose’ the hypocrisy of slumming Hollywood (or business, or royal) elite, partly because, I think, the consumers of such information, whether deliberately or inadvertently, so often find the taunts and ridicule bolstering in the face of our own failures and obscurity. The same media culture luxuriates, paradoxically, in the unshakable glamour of the same elite. This luxuriating can produce envy. 
“When everybody’s place in society is more or less determined by birth,” says the late John Berger in the last episode his four-part BBC series Ways of Seeing, “personal envy is a less familiar emotion” (Ways of Seeing was as fresh and relevant in 2017, the year of Berger’s death, as it had been upon its original broadcast in 1972). But now, as he continues in the book based on the series, we find ourselves in a society which “has moved towards democracy and then stopped half way”; a society where the development of widespread envy is inevitable (148).
We’re pulled in two ways. We envy the stardom of stars. But fame has to be rare. We still covet it, though, just as we envy both what the star already has and their wanton freedom to buy anything they don’t have yet. These acquisitions, and the ability to acquire still more, help the star radiate the glamour that contributed to our envy in the first place. 
No matter how casually dressed she might be on a given day, Jennifer Aniston seems to exude more glamour carrying out a mundane task like strolling out for a pumpkin spice latte than you or I could ever muster. How? Is it because we know she doesn’t have to be so lackadaisical? Can observers tell that her ‘casual’ look might have been carefully put together by a personal assistant or a whole SWAT team of savvy publicists? Does my envy spring from knowing she doesn’t need to check her bank balance first to see if she can afford today’s latte treat ahead of, say, the day the mortgage payment is automatically withdrawn? Her fame has given her some wealth. It has also given her a full-time cloak of glamour to wrap herself in, no matter what she actually wears. 
Maybe this “cloak” helps explain why movie stars are sometimes less than convincing when playing poor characters––either those born poor, or those who lose all their money (see Cameron Diaz in Gangs of New York and Tom Cruise in Far and Away). Despite its unattainability, glamour is nevertheless ubiquitous in what Walter Benjamin calls age of mechanical reproduction (Ways of Seeing, as John Berger admits, is a visual restatement of Benjamin’s essay). Is this what makes me distrust glamour while still craving it? 
“What we call ‘glamour’ usually lies elsewhere,” John Armstrong and Alain de Botton write in their book Art as Therapy, “in the homes of people we don’t know, at parties we read about, in the lives of people who have been adept at turning their talents into money and fame” (56). They continue: 
      We are left peering, painfully, through the window at enticements beyond. Commercial images help generate a          longing for the higher realms promised by contemporary capitalism, they give us a ringside seat at the holidays,        professional triumphs, love affairs, evenings out and birthdays of an elite we are condemned to know far better          than they know us. (ibid)
Behind-the-scenes looks at the stars and their lives can be fun or alarming. Their scandals might be morbidly fascinating. But my aim with Hollywood Babel is to shift the discussion away from the stars. I want to look past the product––movies themselves––to the theatres, indoor and out, that have traditionally provided venues for this pre-recorded filmed entertainment. I go into the story mechanics and some production details, primarily with Psycho, The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars. But all the while I’ve tried to keep one eye on the dynamics of moviegoing as an activity. A social event. A participation. 

-Curtis Emde (January 2024)

End notes
1. The Moviegoer, as a title, has, at last, found the perfect project to attach itself to––not a book, but for the latest short by Vancouver filmmakers and partners in life Ross Munro and Maria Carlota Vivas Munro. The Moviegoer is a seventies-period piece about the pleasures of “spending untold hours in the dark together watching dreams flicker on screen at twenty-four frames per second,” as Ross puts it. 
As we closed out 2021 on another COVID-19 wave that saw cinema capacity in British Columbia halved while theatres in Ontario and Quebec shut down altogether, Ross hopes The Moviegover will conjure up viewers’ warm memories of “join[ing] together as a community” once we retake our “rightful and righteous places back in cinemas again.”
2.  From the Almost Full Disclosure Department: just before Christmas 2023, I offer the following list of my five favourite films of all time (in no particular order): 
-Jesus of Montréal (1989, directed by Denys Arcand) 
-Monsieur Lazhar (2011, directed by Phillipe Falardeau) 
-The Wizard of Oz (1939, mostly directed by Victor Fleming)
-Tokyo Story (1953, directed by Ozu Yasujiro) 
-In the Labyrinth (1967, directed by Roman Kroitor, Colin Low and Hugh O' Connor) 
-Stories We Tell (2012, directed by Sarah Polley) 
I am aware there are six titles there. Such is the impossible nature of the exercise. It’s like asking me for my top five favourite songs by the Beatles. 
I’ll swap out a few of those titles for others by next week, which is only right. But why wait? With the slightest nudge, I could bump Oz (its impact––like that of Star Wars’––has been dulled, I admit, through too many viewings) for 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould and/or Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance this minute; and maybe replace Tokyo Story with Roma. These two latter films I’ve only seen once each, in the cinema. but that’s all you need sometimes. They’d make a fantastic double feature. 
I could always simply extend the list to ten. In that case, I’d add Paddington, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Kanal and A Hard Day’s Night to the list. Can shorts count as bonuses? If so, Julia Iriarte’s 2019 doc Sadika’s Garden and Richard Williams’ animated version of A Christmas Carol from 1971 make the bonus list (while we’re at it, in an arbitrary rule-breaking gambit, I’ve decided that the non-animated Alastair Sims version deserves a spot on the list, too, since Sims is the voice of Scrooge in William’s version). 
While I’m making nepotism-esque exceptions for Yuletide motion pictures (‘tis the season as I write this), I’ll place The Man Who Invented Christmas on the list too, as an essential background and extension of film versions of Dickens’ tale. But it represents another risk of any top-whatever lists: I’ve just seen it. Its charms are fresh. Will they last till next Christmas? I could say the same thing of several other excellent, recent movies I’ve seen: Sarah Polley’s Oscar-winning Women Talking, and Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret––the superb 2023 adaptation of Judy Blume’s novel, directed by Kelly Fremon Craig.  
Meanwhile, I will pull the ultimate fence-sitting move of creating a runners’ up list. Thus, I can round things out with Mike Leigh’s Happy Go Lucky…and, just for good measure, the 2021 Iranian film Hit the Road, written and directed by Panah Panahi (This is Spinal Tap and Disney’s Never Cry Wolf are thus resigned to runners-up to the runners’ up list, but so it goes). In six months, the list will have evolved. I’ll bump something off to make room for Chandler Levack’s I Like Movies. And that’s as it should be. I am suspicious of anyone who does not revise their top lists of anything once in a while. 
3. Brian Linehan, well-known for his conscientious preparation and soothing interview style, was frequently lampooned, in an memorable and affectionate way, by Martin Short as ‘Brock Linahan’ on SCTV. 
It was one of my favourite segments, Stars in One: Brock Linahan Goes Home, that introduced me to Robert Anderson’s 1953 play Tea and Sympathy and its famous closing line: “Years from now, when you speak of this––and you will––be kind.” Brock quotes these words to Andrea Martin as the café waitress who had made a ‘man’ out of young Brock. To his utter chagrin, she doesn’t remember: “ many guys back then, you know?” 

Works cited 
Armstrong, John & Alain de Botton. Art as Therapy. London: Phaidon Press Limited, 2016. Print. 
Base, Ron & David Haslam. The Movies of the Eighties. New York: Portland House, 1990. Print.
Base, Ron. ‘David Haslam.’ Ron Base Writes blog post 10 October 2011. Web.        Accessed on 13 February 2017.

Bayard, Louis. ‘The Last Picture Show: David Thomson seeks to sum up a lifelong obsession.’ Book Forum 
December/January issue, 2013. Print. 
Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. BBC TV Series, Episode Four. 1972. Web.    Accessed on 23 May 2017.
---. Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin, 1972. Print. 
Coupland, Douglas. Kitten Clone: Inside Alcatel-Lucent. Toronto: Random House Canada, 2014. Print. 
DeLillo, Don. Underworld. New York: Scribner, 1997. Print.
Ebert, Roger. ‘Rambo lets his guns do the talking in sequel.’ Interview with Sylvester Stallone, 15 May 1988. Web.  Accessed on 3 January 2022.
Fawcett, Brian. ‘My Father’s Blue Skies.’ The Heart Does Break. Eds. Jean Baird & George Bowering. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2009. Print. 
Gleiberman, Owen. Movie Freak: My life watching movies. New York: Hachette Books, 2016. Print.
Haskell, Molly. Steven Spielberg: A life in films. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017. Print. 
Hoberman, J. Make My Day: Movie culture in the age of Reagan. New York: The New Press, 2019. Print. 
King, Thomas. The Inconvenient Indian: A curious account of Native People in North America. Toronto: Anchor
Canada, 2013. Print. 
MacDougall Jones, Naomi. The Wrong Kind of Women: Inside our revolution to dismantle the gods of Hollywood.
Boston: Beacon Press, 2020. Print. 
Manvell, Roger. Film. London: Pelican, 1950. Print. 
Polley, Sarah. Run Towards the Danger: Confrontations with a body of memory. Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2022.
Rebello, Stephen. Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. New York: Dembner Books, 1990. Print. 
Richardson, Bill. I Saw Three Ships: West End stories. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2019. Print. 
Rhode, Eric. Tower of Babel: Speculations on cinema. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1966.
Saul, John Ralston. Voltaire’s Bastards. New York: Vintage Books, 1993. Print. 
Serafin, Bruce. ‘Long Tall Sally.’ Stardust. Vancouver: New Star, 2007. Print. 
Thomson, David. Sleeping with Strangers: How the movies shaped desire. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2019. Print. 
---. Television: a biography. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2016. Print. 
---. How to Watch a Movie. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015. Print.
---. The Big Screen: the story of the movies. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2012, Print.
Woodend, Dorothy. ‘The Irishman: Old, waxen-looking boys will be boys.’ Tyee 6 December 2019. Web.     Accessed on 8 December 2019. 

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