The title's a bit ambitious for what is largely a series of interviews with people who worked in the British film industry, but it's fascinating nevertheless. The basis of the book is the work the author did for his previous publication 60 Voices. These interviews have been expanded and many more added. There are now over 180 interviews and a further 50 career overviews of key figures who were not available for interview.
The subjects are well chosen though there is a bias towards films of the fifties. There's no coverage of silent films and little about the thirties, though this is obviously a matter of demographics. The subjects, as expected, are mainly actors and directors though they have chosen some cinematographers, production designers and even an agent. Only one writer is chosen (Diana Morgan) which seems a shame. You'd think T.E.B. Clarke at least would deserve a career overview.
Even though the book is a massive tome there is little attempt to get in-depth information out of the participants. The interviewees seem aware that this is an official version of events and are on their best behaviour. There's very little of the bitchiness that film people are so fond of in private. Shame, that would have been fun.
It's a great bog book: something you can dip into for five minutes and then put down when you've done what you have to do. Every page has some interesting fact or view and it's a bargain at £9.99.
Price: £9.99 (reduced from £16.99)An Autobiography of British Cinema: available at Amazon UK