With so many films out there to experience, many cinephiles defer to “experts” as an aid to better navigate and avoid the less than entertaining. One such expert is Leonard Maltin, critic, friend of TCM, and Disney aficionado. He’s put out several volumes of his classic movie guide in the past, but this marks the first time TCM has “presented” it. Sadly, it also marks the end of an era, as this is touted as the final Classic Movie Guide. Thankfully Maltin saved the best for last, giving us over 10,000 titles to sate readers for a long time coming.
Maltin’s guide is just that; something you’d pick up as a means of checking which titles are worth watching. For me, I’m using the guide as a means of charting my film progress. I doubt I’ll ever watch all the movies listed, but it gives me a nice goal and directs me towards movies I might not ordinarily watch.
The guide starts with some of Maltin’s own personal “favorite” performances from several A-list leading men and women, discusses updates made to the guide, and lists several places you can watch or rent classic films. I was very happy seeing ClassicFlix – the site I work for – listed as a resource for where to get movies. Apparently we were listed in the previous edition, too. Since the guide hasn’t been updated in nearly five years Maltin mentions that several titles were excised in order to make way for others, but it’s doubtful you’ll notice any significant changes.
With over 10,000 titles you might want to invest in some glasses since the print is incredibly small. Each entry comes with production crew listed, a brief synopsis/review by Maltin, and whether it’s available for rent or purchase; it’s surprising to me how many still don’t have a DVD release at all. If you’re a fan of particular film series – like The Thin Man, Torchy Blane, or Tarzan – Maltin includes an overview of the section, along with a list of all the films in their respective series. If you’ve read any of the brief reviews accompanying titles on the TCM schedule, you’ll get the gist of Maltin’s work.
The sheer abundance of titles astounds. Leonard Maltin’s Classic Film Guide is a must for true movie hounds and many who have bought previous volumes will want to update their collection. It’s disheartening hearing we won’t get anymore of these, but maybe by the time you watch every film listed a new guide will hit shelves! We can dream, right?
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A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.