Murder and the Movies opens with David Thomson and his wife playing a game. They try to list all the people who died in Season One of Ozark. From that introduction, you can see where this book is headed.

Like Thomson’s Sleeping With Strangers: How Movies Shaped Desire (you can read my review here), Thomson takes the reader on a guided tour of his subject. Yes, Thomson loves the murders in Hitchcock movies especially Strangers on a Train. Other Thomson favorite murder movies are The Conformist, The Godfather, and The Shining,

If you’re looking for a short, fun book that will jog your movie memory, or send you to Netflix to watch a movie you’ve missed, Murder and the Movies will delight you. GRADE: A


In Ozark — 1

Alone — 7

Red Rum — 17

I could… — 29

It’s not fair — 33

What is an overlook? — 47

A nice English murder — 59

The good soldier — 77

We can kill anybody — 91

Cruel being kind — 107

A lark! An aside — 121

Are murderers crazy? — 123

Single-handed — 135

Femme fatale — 149

The woodman’s bright axe — 163

Slaughter — 167

The room I had to live in — 183

Solitary confinement — 195

And now, Death — 203

Sources and Thanks — 217

Index — 221

18 thoughts on “MURDER AND THE MOVIES By David Thomson

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    I usually like his writings. I will have to check it out. I am a big fan of his novel Suspects in which each chapter is told from the viewpoint of a movie character.

    1. george Post author

      Steve, you can tell David Thomson loves movies. Each of his books that I’ve read is filled with sharp analysis and plenty of fun facts!

  2. Michael Padgett

    I’ve read a couple of his books and can get lost for hours in his “Biographical Dictionary of Film”, but I wasn’t even aware of this one. Sounds interesting. OZARK has been in my Netflix queue forever, but remains unwatched. Soon, soon.

  3. Jeff Meyerson

    Sounds like fun but OZARK is a TV series, not a movie. We tried it but it didn’t appeal to us. Will definitely look for the book. But then again, his “10 favourite films of all time” list includes both movies I love and movies I hate.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, I think the OZARK incident (counting the bodies in SEASON ONE) was the trigger that sent David Thomson into writing MURDER AND THE MOVIES. Sure, like you I disagree with some of Thomson’s takes on various movies. But, by and large, Thomson’s analysis is right on the money.

  4. Michael Padgett

    If I’d seen Thompson’s Top Ten list I’d forgotten it, but it’s easy to find. I must admit that there are five (all very famous) that I haven’t seen. I did like all of the ones I had seen, but the only one that would be on my own list is BLUE VELVET.

  5. tracybham

    The only one I have is “Have You Seen . . . ?”: A Personal Introduction To 1,000 Films, and I haven’t come close to reading all of that. This one sounds good.

    1. george Post author

      Tracy, you would enjoy MURDER AND THE MOVIES because of the selection of movies and David Thomson’s astute observations about each film.

  6. Kent Morgan

    Have to track this one down. I watched Ozark a couple of times, but haven’t gone back to it. May have to do so.

  7. Steve Oerkfitz

    Tried to get it through my library system, but not a single library has it. And we are talking about 40 or so library. Rats! Will probably buy it.

      1. Steve Oerkfitz

        That’s what I tried. Not one library in our rather large system has it. Probably because it is from a University press.

      2. george Post author

        Steve, our Inter-Loan System can borrow books from any Library in the United States. You might want to ask a Reference Librarian about it.

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