For nearly half a century Philip French's writing on cinema has been essential reading for filmgoers, cinephiles and anyone who enjoys witty, intelligent engagement with the big screen. His vast knowledge of the medium is matched by his love for it. I Found It at the Movies collects some of the best of Philip French's film writing from 1964 to 2009. Its subjects are as various, entertaining and challenging as cinema itself: Kurosawa and the Addams family; Satyajit Ray and Doris Day; from Hollywood and the Holocaust to British cinema and postage stamps. I Found It at the Movies is an illuminating companion to the world of the cinema.
I Found It at the Movies is the first of three collections of Philip French's writings on film and culture.
Cover design: StephenRaw.com.
Philip French was born in Liverpool in 1933. He did his national service in the Parachute Regiment and was educated at Exeter College, Oxford and in the United States at Indiana University, Bloomington. He spent most of his career as a talks producer for BBC Radio.
He wrote movie essays and reviews from the early 1960s onwards for a variety of magazines and newspapers. Between 1973 and 2013 he was film critic for the Observer. In 1986 he was on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival, and in 1988 was a member of the Booker Prize jury. He was the Critics Circle Critic of the Year in 2003 and the British Press Awards Critic of the Year in 2009. He became an Honorary Member of BAFTA in 2008 and a Fellow of the British Film Institute in 2013. In 2013 he was awarded an OBE.
He wrote or edited numerous books including The Movie Moguls (1969), Westerns: Aspects of a Movie Genre (1974) and The Faber Book of Movie Verse (co-edited with Ken Wlaschin, 1993). A husband and father of three sons, French died in 2015. In 2016 the Critics Circle established the Philip French Award for outstanding breakthrough filmmaker of the year. In 2016 the Watershed arts venue in Bristol established the annual Philip French Lecture.
Philip French's I Found It at the Movies is an apparently random but charming collection from the Observer critic's nearly 50 years of writing on film. These pieces are elegant and learned, and they hark back to the era when French's predecessor CA Lejeune could usefully dismiss the mawkish home-front drama Millions Like Us with three words: 'And millions don't.'
Nick Curtis, Evening Standard, Film Books of the Year 2011