The University of Wisconsin Press

Film and Theatre / American Studies / Art - Aesthetics / Cultural Studies


Film Essays and Criticism
Rudolf Arnheim
Translated by Brenda Benthien

Wisconsin Studies in Film

"Some of the most distinguished film criticism ever written."
—Eric Rentschler, University of California, Irvine

One of the world's leading film theorists, Rudolf Arnheim has been well known to readers of English since the publication of his classic Film as Art in 1957. This is the first English translation of another of his important books, Kritiken und Aufsätze zum Film, which collects both film reviews and theoretical essays, most of them written between 1925 and 1940.

As a young man in 1920s Berlin, Arnheim began writing about film for the satirical magazine Das Stachelschwein. In 1928, as the Weimar Republic began to crumble, he joined the intellectual weekly Die Weltbühne as film critic and assistant editor for cultural affairs. His most important contributions to both magazines are published here, including witty and incisive comments on many of the great classics of the silent and early sound period, such as Buster Keaton's The General and Fritz Lang's Metropolis. With the advent of Nazism in Germany, Arnheim emigrated first to Italy, where he wrote essays (many included here) for a nascent Enciclopedia del Cinema, and then to England and the United States.

The thirty essays on film theory discuss elements of theory and technique, early sound film, production, style and content, and the relationship of film and the state. The fifty-six critical pieces include Arnheim's thoughts on the practice of film criticism, his reviews of German, American, French, and Soviet films, and his profiles of Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin, Felix Bressart, Erich von Stroheim, and others. Also included in the volume are an introduction (newly revised by Arnheim) and a comprehensive bibliography.

Rudolf Arnheim is the author of Film as Art, Art and Visual Perception, Visual Thinking, and many other books. He is professor emeritus in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan. After moving to the United States in 1940, he also held professorships at Sarah Lawrence College, the New School for Social Research, and Harvard University. Brenda Benthien, an independent film scholar and critic, lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her work has appeared in Variety, Filmecho/Filmwoche, the Berlin Film Festival Journal, and other publications.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

April 1997
304 pp. 6 x 9

Cloth edition is out of print.

Book icon
Paper $19.95 s
Shopping cart ADD TO CART
  Review cart contents
Secure checkout


Home | Books | Journals | Events | Textbooks | Authors | Related | Search | Order | Contact

If you have trouble accessing any page in this web site, contact our Web manager.

Updated October 8, 2010

© 2010, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System