Roger Ebert has been writing film reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times for nearly forty years. And during those four decades, his wide knowledge, keen judgment, prodigious energy, and sharp sense of humor have made him America’s most celebrated film critic. He was the first such critic to win a Pulitzer Prize—one of just three film critics ever to receive that honor—and the only one to have a star dedicated to him on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His groundbreaking hit TV show, At the Movies, meanwhile, has made “two thumbs up” one of the most coveted hallmarks in the entire industry.
No critic alive has reviewed more movies than Roger Ebert, and yet his essential writings have never been collected in a single volume—until now. With Awake in the Dark, both fans and film buffs can finally bask in the best of Ebert’s work. The reviews, interviews, and essays collected here present a picture of this indispensable critic’s numerous contributions to the cinema and cinephilia. From The Godfather to GoodFellas, from Cries and Whispers to Crash, the reviews in Awake in the Dark span some of the most exceptional periods in film history, from the dramatic rise of rebel Hollywood and the heyday of the auteur, to the triumph of blockbuster films such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, to the indie revolution that is still with us today.
The extraordinary interviews gathered in Awake in the Dark capture Ebert engaging not only some of the most influential directors of our time—Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Werner Herzog, and Ingmar Bergman—but also some of the silver screen’s most respected and dynamic personalities, including actors as diverse as Robert Mitchum, James Stewart, Warren Beatty, and Meryl Streep. Ebert’s remarkable essays play a significant part in Awake in the Dark as well. The book contains some of Ebert’s most admired pieces, among them a moving appreciation of John Cassavetes and a loving tribute to the virtues of black-and-white films.
If Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris were godmother and godfather to the movie generation, then Ebert is its voice from within—a writer whose exceptional intelligence and daily bursts of insight and enthusiasm have shaped the way we think about the movies. Awake in the Dark, therefore, will be a treasure trove not just for fans of this seminal critic, but for anyone desiring a fascinating and compulsively readable chronicle of film since the late 1960s.
For nearly half a century, Roger Ebert’s wide knowledge, keen judgment, prodigious energy, and sharp sense of humor made him America’s most renowned and beloved film critic. From Ebert’s Pulitzer Prize to his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, from his astonishing output of daily reviews to his pioneering work on television with Gene Siskel, his was a career in cinema criticism without peer.
Arriving fifty years after Ebert published his first film review in 1967, this second edition of Awake in the Dark collects Ebert’s essential writings into a single, irresistible volume. Featuring new Top Ten Lists and reviews of the years’ finest films through 2012, this edition allows both fans and film buffs to bask in the best of an extraordinary lifetime’s work. Including reviews from The Godfather to GoodFellas and interviews with everyone from Martin Scorsese to Meryl Streep, as well as showcasing some of Ebert’s most admired essays—among them a moving appreciation of John Cassavetes and a loving tribute to the virtues of black-and-white films—Ebert’s Awake in the Dark is a treasure trove not just for fans of this era-defining critic, but for anyone desiring a compulsively readable chronicle of the silver screen.
Stretching from the dramatic rise of rebel Hollywood and the heyday of the auteur to the triumph of blockbuster films such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, to the indie revolution that is still with us today, Awake in the Dark reveals a writer whose exceptional intelligence and daily bursts of insight and enthusiasm helped shape the way we think about the movies. But more than this, Awake in the Dark is a celebration of Ebert’s inimitable voice—a voice still cherished and missed.
Roger Ebert is a name synonymous with the movies. In Ebert’s Bests, he takes readers through the journey of how he became a film critic, from his days at a student-run cinema club to his rise as a television commentator in At the Movies and Siskel & Ebert. Recounting the influence of the French New Wave, his friendships with Werner Herzog and Martin Scorsese, as well as travels to Sweden and Rome to visit Ingrid Bergman and Federico Fellini, Ebert never loses sight of film as a key component of our cultural identity. In considering the ethics of film criticism—why we should take all film seriously, without prejudgment or condescension—he argues that film critics ought always to engage in open-minded dialogue with a movie. Extending this to his accompanying selection of “10 Bests,” he reminds us that hearts and minds—and even rankings—are bound to change.
In 1999, the University of Chicago Press published a collection of Mike Royko's columns, entitled One More Time: The Best of Mike Royko. The response was immediate and overwhelming—readers almost instantly began asking when the second volume of Royko columns would appear. With more than a hundred vintage Royko columns and a foreword by Roger Ebert, For the Love of Mike was the answer.
Royko, a nationally syndicated Pulitzer Prize winner, wrote for three major Chicago newspapers in the course of his 34 years as a daily columnist. Chosen from more than 7,000 columns, For the Love of Mike brings back more than a hundred vintage Royko pieces-most of which have not appeared since their initial publication-for readers across the country to enjoy. This second collection includes Royko's riffs on the consequences of accepting a White House dinner invitation (not surprisingly, he turned it down); his explanation of the notorious Ex-Cub Factor in World Series play; and his befuddlement at a private screening of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, to which he was invited by his pal Ebert, the screenplay's author. The new collection also illuminates Royko's favorite themes, topics he returned to again and again: his skewering of cultural trends, his love of Chicago, and his rage against injustice. By turns acerbic, hilarious, and deeply moving, Royko remains a writer of wit and passion who represents the best of urban journalism.
"To read these columns again is to have Mike back again, nudging, chuckling, wincing, deflating pomposity, sticking up for the little guy, defending good ideas against small-minded people," writes Roger Ebert in his foreword to the book. For the Love of Mike does indeed bring Mike back again, and until a Chicago newspaper takes up Ebert's suggestion that it begin reprinting each of Royko's columns, one a day, this collection will more than satisfy Royko's loyal readers.
The Great Movies III
Roger Ebert University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress PN1994.E2323 2010 | Dewey Decimal 791.4375
Roger Ebert has been writing film reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times for over four decades now and his biweekly essays on great movies have been appearing there since 1996. As Ebert noted in the introduction to the first collection of those pieces, “They are not the greatest films of all time, because all lists of great movies are a foolish attempt to codify works which must stand alone. But it’s fair to say: If you want to take a tour of the landmarks of the first century of cinema, start here.
Enter The Great Movies III, Ebert’s third collection of essays on the crème de la crème of the silver screen, each one a model of critical appreciation and a blend of love and analysis that will send readers back to the films with a fresh set of eyes and renewed enthusiasm—or maybe even lead to a first-time viewing. From The Godfather: Part II to Groundhog Day, from The Last Picture Show to Last Tango in Paris, the hundred pieces gathered here display a welcome balance between the familiar and the esoteric, spanning Hollywood blockbusters and hidden gems, independent works and foreign language films alike. Each essay draws on Ebert’s vast knowledge of the cinema, its fascinating history, and its breadth of techniques, introducing newcomers to some of the most exceptional movies ever made, while revealing new insights to connoisseurs as well.
Named the most powerful pundit in America by Forbes magazine, and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Roger Ebert is inarguably the most prominent and influential authority on the cinema today. The Great Movies III is sure to please his many fans and further enhance his reputation as America’s most respected—and trusted—film critic.
The Great Movies IV
Roger Ebert University of Chicago Press, 2016 Library of Congress PN1994.E2324 2016 | Dewey Decimal 791.4375
No film critic has ever been as influential—or as beloved— as Roger Ebert. Over more than four decades, he built a reputation writing reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times and, later, arguing onscreen with rival Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel and later Richard Roeper about the movies they loved and loathed. But Ebert went well beyond a mere “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” Readers could always sense the man behind the words, a man with interests beyond film and a lifetime’s distilled wisdom about the larger world. Although the world lost one of its most important critics far too early, Ebert lives on in the minds of moviegoers today, who continually find themselves debating what he might have thought about a current movie.
The Great Movies IV is the fourth—and final—collection of Roger Ebert’s essays, comprising sixty-two reviews of films ranging from the silent era to the recent past. From films like The Cabinet of Caligari and Viridiana that have been considered canonical for decades to movies only recently recognized as masterpieces to Superman, The Big Lebowski, and Pink Floyd: The Wall, the pieces gathered here demonstrate the critical acumen seen in Ebert’s daily reviews and the more reflective and wide-ranging considerations that the longer format allowed him to offer. Ebert’s essays are joined here by an insightful foreword by film critic Matt Zoller Seitz, the current editor-in-chief of the official Roger Ebert website, and a touching introduction by Chaz Ebert.
A fitting capstone to a truly remarkable career, The Great Movies IV will introduce newcomers to some of the most exceptional movies ever made, while revealing new insights to connoisseurs as well.
Herzog by Ebert
Roger Ebert University of Chicago Press, 2017 Library of Congress PN1998.3.H477E24 2017 | Dewey Decimal 791.430233092
Roger Ebert was the most influential film critic in the United States, the first to win a Pulitzer Prize. For almost fifty years, he wrote with plainspoken eloquence about the films he loved for the Chicago Sun-Times, his vast cinematic knowledge matched by a sheer love of life that bolstered his appreciation of films. Ebert had particular admiration for the work of director Werner Herzog, whom he first encountered at the New York Film Festival in 1968, the start of a long and productive relationship between the filmmaker and the film critic.
Herzog by Ebert is a comprehensive collection of Ebert’s writings about the legendary director, featuring all of his reviews of individual films, as well as longer essays he wrote for his Great Movies series. The book also brings together other essays, letters, and interviews, including a letter Ebert wrote Herzog upon learning of the dedication to him of “Encounters at the End of the World;” a multifaceted profile written at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival; and an interview with Herzog at Facet’s Multimedia in 1979 that has previously been available only in a difficult-to-obtain pamphlet. Herzog himself contributes a foreword in which he discusses his relationship with Ebert.
Brimming with insights from both filmmaker and film critic, Herzog by Ebert will be essential for fans of either of their prolific bodies of work.
An institution at the Chicago Sun-Times, his home paper for more than twenty–five years, Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Jack Higgins gathers for the first time in My Kind of ’Toon (Chicago Is) approximately 250 editorial and political cartoons. Over the years, he has filed syndicated cartoons from the Soviet Union, Hungary, Ireland, and Cuba. From his front-row seat he has lately focused on the highs and lows of the Chicago and Illinois politics that produced both the first African American president and a string of corrupt gubernatorial administrations.
Scorsese by Ebert
Roger Ebert University of Chicago Press, 2008 Library of Congress PN1998.3.S39E33 2008 | Dewey Decimal 791.430233092
Roger Ebert wrote the first film review that director Martin Scorsese ever received—for 1967’s I Call First, later renamed Who’s That Knocking at My Door—creating a lasting bond that made him one of Scorsese’s most appreciative and perceptive commentators. Scorsese by Ebert offers the first record of America’s most respected film critic’s engagement with the works of America’s greatest living director, chronicling every single feature film in Scorsese’s considerable oeuvre, from his aforementioned debut to his 2008 release, the Rolling Stones documentary Shine a Light.
In the course of eleven interviews done over almost forty years, the book also includes Scorsese’s own insights on both his accomplishments and disappointments. Ebert has also written and included six new reconsiderations of the director’s less commented upon films, as well as a substantial introduction that provides a framework for understanding both Scorsese and his profound impact on American cinema.
"Given their career-long back-and-forth, this collection makes perfect sense. . . . In these reconsiderations, Ebert invites us into his thought processes, letting us see not just what he thinks, but how he forms his opinions. Ebert’s insights into Scorsese are terrific, but this book offers the bonus of further insights into Ebert himself."—Time Out Chicago
"Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, is an unabashed fan of Scorsese, whom he considers ‘the most gifted director of his generation.’ . . . Of special note are interviews with Scorsese over a 25-year period, in which the director candidly discusses his body of work."—Publishers Weekly
A paragon of cinema criticism for decades, Roger Ebert—with his humor, sagacity, and no-nonsense thumb—achieved a renown unlikely ever to be equaled. His tireless commentary has been greatly missed since his death, but, thankfully, in addition to his mountains of daily reviews, Ebert also left behind a legacy of lyrical long-form writing. And with Two Weeks in the Midday Sun, we get a glimpse not only into Ebert the man, but also behind the scenes of one of the most glamorous and peculiar of cinematic rituals: the Cannes Film Festival.
More about people than movies, this book is an intimate, quirky, and witty account of the parade of personalities attending the 1987 festival—Ebert’s twelfth, and the fortieth anniversary of the event. A wonderful raconteur with an excellent sense of pacing, Ebert presents lighthearted ruminations on his daily routine and computer troubles alongside more serious reflection on directors such as Fellini and Coppola, screenwriters like Charles Bukowski, actors such as Isabella Rossellini and John Malkovich, the very American press agent and social maverick Billy “Silver Dollar” Baxter, and the stylishly plunging necklines of yore. He also comments on the trajectory of the festival itself and the “enormous happiness” of sitting, anonymous and quiet, in an ordinary French café. And, of course, he talks movies.
Illustrated with Ebert’s charming sketches of the festival and featuring both a new foreword by Martin Scorsese and a new postscript by Ebert about an eventful 1997 dinner with Scorsese at Cannes, Two Weeks in the Midday Sun is a small treasure, a window onto the mind of this connoisseur of criticism and satire, a man always so funny, so un-phony, so completely, unabashedly himself.