The Encyclopedia of British Film has just been published. And we fans of British Cinema finally have the reference book we deserve.
With over 700 pages and almost 6000 entries it gives potted histories of just about everyone and everything ever involved in the industry. I've spent a happy week flicking through it and looking for holes to pick. There are very few.
Of course, even in a work this size there are omissions: Norman McKinnel, Pat Phoenix, Judy Gunn, Man Mountain Dean, Davina Craig, Gina Bellman. None of them major figures, but as valid as some of those who got in. Some figures get less coverage than others and even I think Norman Wisdom deserves more than a third of a column (about half the space Cliff Richard gets).
There are few actual errors in the Encyclopedia. The only biggie I can find is its claim that Rosamund John's film debut in the Secret of the Loch was in 1943 rather than 1934, and that's probably just a typo. If anyone can find others then let me know and we'll list them here.
All in all, The Encyclopedia of British Film is a major achievement.
You may like to know that many of the articles in the encyclopedia have been licensed for inclusion on the BFI's new site Screenonline.
Note: Now available in a third edition with corrections and more entries.
ISBN: 0 413 77301 9
Price: £24.95 (UK) $35 (US)