In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

HUMANITIES 493 size usually reserved for those with eye problems, and paper heavy enough to serve as roofing material. Moreover, the layout design produces , in this relatively slim volume, the equivalent of 33 blank pages! This tends to make us question the editorial statement that 'There was also a problem ofspace, since to publish everything would have required a large book indeed.' With a modicum of restraint twice as much book could have been produced at half the price. The unenviable task of organizing the International Dance Conference into book form has been generally well handled by the editor, Michael Crabb. In addition to presenting the text he has tried to give a sense of the flow of events, nudging us along with insertions, summations, and additions of various sorts. This praiseworthy attempt is, however, somewhat less than ideally realized. Each chapter, for example, is introduced by a rather unnecessary precis of the text to follow. Does one really need to read about what one is about to read? More seriously, a few of the editorial additions, presented for some unfathomable reason in two different type faces, are extremely unclear, as a result, I fear, of careless writing. (See p 54 for some of the worst examples.) While much of the content of the book is appealing and useful, there are a number of questionable assertions and judgments, such as Norman Campbell's totally uncritical evaluation of the effectiveness of dance on television, Brian Macdonald's fitful attempt to define the 'Canadian choreographer: and Dame Ninette de Valois's (and others') difficulties in establishing the distinction 'between the pure classical and the contemporary dancer.' Their position contrasts with what Arlene Croce says in a most interesting article on dance revivals in the New Yorker: 'different dance forms in the same era are more closely related than the same dance forms in different eras.' (DONALD HIMES) Peter Morris. Embattled Shadows. A History of Canadian Cinema 1895-1939 McGill-Queen's University Press. 350 Until now the student of Canadian film has had a difficult task if he wished to plunge back into the years preceding the Coming of Grierson and the establishment ofthe National Film Board (1938- 9). Such a plunge would require the sifting of periodical publications, Canadian Film Institute pamphlets, archival records, and unpublished doctoral theses. The less hardy would have to be content with summaries, prologues, or extracts in the various handbooks and anthologies which have appeared in recent years. There is no doubt, then, that Morris's work is a vitally important one. Given the essentially archival (almost archaeological) nature of the enterprise, it is difficult to imagine a writer better suited for the task than Morris, who was curator of the Canadian Film Archives 494 LETTERS IN CANADA 1979 from 1963 to "975. At the same time, it is a relief that Morris has been able to break clear from the obsessive tendency of Canadian film scholars to treat their material fragmentarily and encyclopedically - or at least almost to break clear (nearly one-third of the book consists of appendices, notes, and indices). The disparate and discontinuous nature of film production in Canada in its first four decades must have made this an extremely difficult book to write discursively. Unlike many other national film production histories, the Canadian experience did not see the emergence of a dominant indigenous form of production. Rather, there developed a mosaic of government-funded production, sponsored film-making for industries in the private sector, abortive locally financed feature-film production, gifted amateur film-making, and, eventually, the intermittent development of branch-plant production. Nor did the film industry ever develop a strong centralized focus in Canada as it did in many other countries. The eight chapters of Morris's book are not chronological nor do they correspond neatly to the various levels and forms of production. Rather the author has attempted to meld the two approaches. After an introductory chapter describing the arrival of the first entrepreneurs of the cinema in Canada and the development of early distribution and exhibition (to 1914 or so), Morris devotes chapter 1 to production in the same pre-war period. He describes the earliest 'interest...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 493-495
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.