From John Ford’s Western “The Searchers” to Yasujiro Ozu's “Tokyo Story,” one Saint Peter’s professor’s love of movies has broadened the knowledge of his students and their appreciation for what they see on the big screen.
Dr. William Luhr, professor of English, is teaching moviegoers how to understand films and giving them a variety of approaches to film in his latest book “Thinking About Movies: Watching, Questioning, Enjoying.”
“You could approach films by way of a storyline, sexual ideology, racial ideology,” he explained. “That’s part of what makes studying film rich.”
The fourth edition includes an entirely new section devoted to a complete analysis of the film adaptation of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” as well as an in-depth discussions on classic films, from “Citizen Kane” to “Silence of the Lambs,” according to publishing company Wiley.
“Divided roughly into two parts, the book addresses film studies within the context of the dynamics of cinema before moving on to a broader analysis of the relationship of films to the larger social, cultural and industrial issues informing them,” Wiley continued.
Luhr’s passion for films was first ignited by his father, who worked as an usher at a movie theater in the 1930s.
He also cites his longtime friend and collaborator Peter Lehman, who co-authored “Thinking About Movies” and about a half dozen books together with Luhr, as being enormously influential.
While Luhr’s background is English, obtaining a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University and his master’s degree and Ph.D. in Victorian literature from New York University, he got a chance to spend some time on the set of Blake Edwards’ films before eventually writing books on the director.
Luhr recently signed a contract to write another book about Edwards, whom he described as “the last of the old Hollywood who came into new Hollywood.” In collaboration with the same publisher and a number of other writers, he has also signed on to edit a series on film directors.
With the advent of new technology, Luhr says movie lovers can access their favorite films in whatever form they want, whether it is on an iPad or a home computer.
But from Hollywood to the Cannes Film Festival in France, not all film aficionados are happy about where the industry is headed.
Luhr points out that films such as Academy Award-winning “Roma” being viewed on streaming platforms like Netflix the first week it was released changes the whole “ball game.”
“For better or worse, being able to watch movies in theaters is disappearing because everyone is streaming on their laptops.”