Boose, Lynda E. and Richard Burt, ed. Shakespeare: The Movie--Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, and Radio. London & New York: Routledge. 1997
A collection of of original articles by some of the top Shakespearean scholars of this generation, Shakespeare: The Movie addresses a wide variety of topics, ranging from the sudden proliferation of Shakespeare in the 90s, examinations of adaptations of several plays--Hamlet, Henry V, Othello, and King Lear, most prominently--and analyses of various trends in Shakespearean productions, such as the representation of homosexuality.
Branagh, Kenneth. Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. New York & London: W. W. Norton & Sons. 1996.
Many people scratched their heads at Branagh's Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay. A look at the screenplay itself offers a certain amount of justification for the nomination. Yes, Branagh did indeed film the play word for word, but in the screenplay we get to see a glimpse into Branagh's mind as he tries to make sense of Shakespeare's text--I'm still not entirely convinced an Oscar nod was in order, but I suspect that when it became apparent that the best film of the year was going to get shut out of the major categories, they threw this adapted screenplay nomination to Branagh as a bone of sorts.
Brode, Douglas. Shakespeare in the Movies. Oxford: Oxford UP. 2000.
Brode's book is substantially less theory-laden than the other film analysis books, so it's not surprising that this is the most accessible of the lot. The organization is intriguing--he places the plays in chronological order, and discusses the films in that order. The result offers a certain amount on insight not just into the movies, but into Shakespeare's development as a dramatist.
Bulman, J. C. and H. R. Coursen, eds. Shakespeare on Television: An Anthology of Essays and Reviews. Hanover and London: UP of New England. 1988.
The volume collects a number of essays spanning a thirty year period. Some of the essays are a bit dated--reading arguments as to whether or not Shakespeare can adequately be staged for television (Pre-Post-Modern criticism, if you know what I mean). As you might expect, most of the production specific discussion centers on the BBC-Time/Life series. Taken together, it's quite illuminating, since you get an idea of how the producers developed an awareness of the differences between movies and television, and adjusted their productions accordingly.
Davies, Anthony and Stanley Wells, Eds. Shakespeare and the Moving Image. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 1994.
This volume is perhaps more scholarly than the Boose & Burt volume, and it does a much better job of providing overviews of the film treatments of various plays. Because so much has happened in the five years that separates the two words, this volume misses out on the most recent films: Branagh's Hamlet, Oliver Parker's Othello, and Trevor Nunn's Twelfth Night. The two volumes together comprise a solid foundation for anyone interested in film adaptations of Shakespeare.
McKellen, Ian & Richard Loncraine. William Shakespeare's Richard III. Woodstock, NY: The Overlook Press. 1995.
If Branagh can get an Oscar nomination for Hamlet, Surely these two deserved more than
just a nomination. This is a brilliant interpretation of the play, daring in scope
and execution. In addition to the shooting script, McKellen supplies extensive
notations as well as an extended introduction that traces the development of the project.
Auiler, Dan. Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1998.
A solid companion piece for the newly restored version of Vertigo, this book traces the development of the movie from the French novel D'Entre les Mortes [From Among the Dead], pre-productions and filming, through its initial release, and finally to the restoration itself. While the book seems to have been somewhat sanitized--not unlike an authorized biography--there is a wealth of information here.
Bach, Steven. Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster in the Making of Heaven's Gate. London: Pimlico (Random House). 1985.
Before Waterworld, before Howard the Duck, there was Heaven's Gate, the movie that destroyed United Artists, and that turned Michael Cimino from wunderkind to pariah quicker than you can say Ishtar. Bach was head of East Coast Productions for UA, and was the man who has the dubious distinction of green lighting Heaven's Gate. The book offers an insider's look into the film industry, offering an amazing glimpse of how corporate identities drive production, and how things that have absolutely nothing to do with movies make all the difference. Cimino himself winds up being something of a cipher; it's left to the reader to decide if Cimino was an ego out of control, a genius with a vision, or just a kids who had been given the keys to the candy store..
Harmetz, Aljean. Round Up the Usual Suspects. New York: Hyperion. 1992.
The American Film Institute put Casablanca at #2 in its list of the top 100
American movies. Yes, my mind tells me that Citizen Kane had to be #1, but
my heart leans more towards Casablanca. Harmetz meticulously traces the
history of the film, from its beginning as an unproduced play, Everybody Comes to
Rick's, to bizarre/scary tidbits of post-production. Example: Composer Max
Steiner wanted to replace "As Time Goes By" with a song of his own, but by the
time he had composed the song, Ingrid Bergman had already cut her hair for her next picture, Joan
Matthews, Jack. The Battle of Brazil: Terry Gilliam v. Universal Pictures in the Fight to the Final Cut. New York & London: Applause Books. 1987.
I'm always completely overwhelmed by Gilliam's surreal distopian masterpiece. What most people don't realize is that the backroom infighting over the final form of the film was equally surreal. Not only does Matthews chronicle the development of the film and the truly arcane forms of backstabbing that attended post-production, but he also includes a Gilliam-approved version of the screenplay, complete with rough storyboards and some scenes that never got filmed.
Sammon, Paul M. Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner. New York: Harper Prism. 1996.
I've always enjoyed reading about how movies get mad just as much as reading about the movies themselves. Sammon traces the development of the film through initial development, through the actual shooting, the release, all the way up through the production of the 1992 Director's Cut.
Voytilla, Stuart. Myth and the Movies: Discovering the Mythic Structures of 50 Unforgettable Films. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions. 1999.
A pretty interesting book, although it's one of those books that has a fairly limited scope. Voytilla attempts to render a schematic of the structures of--you guessed it--50 great films, demonstrating how they all adhere to basic mythical archetypes.
At first, it sounds pretty dry. And, well, it is. Any attempt to deal with fifty films in a relatively short book will, by necessity, be incapable of getting into any detailed analysis. But that's not what Voytilla is after. He's not working w/ symbolism, or malign undercurrents, or anything like that--all he's interested in is the plot structure.
The biggest (potential) drawback is the book's narrowly proscribed focus. The result is that the book does get more than just a little bit reductive in its treatment of the movies. From a structural perspective, that's the point, but anyone attempting to use the work as the starting point for other types of analysis has to be very careful to avoid the sort of criticism that attempts to codify and/or formulize works of art (see Northrop Frye for examples).
And as long as you don't try to go outside that circle, it's an interesting book, one that would be invaluable for beginning screenwriters (Voytilla teaches screenwriting and acting). He takes representative films from a number of different genres, and renders down their plots to the basic structure. A particularly engaging feature is that Voytilla traces how the genres have changed structurally over the years--how High Noon gives way to Unforgiven, for example, or how Casablanca relates to The Piano.