Watching Wilder

A Critical Guide to Director Billy Wilder's Films (First Edition)
Sherry Lowell-Lewis
©2020, 144 pages

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Watching Wilder

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    Watching Wilder: A Critical Guide to Director Billy Wilder’s Films leads students through the experience of critically viewing the American films of Billy Wilder, one of the most influential and celebrated directors of the 20th century.

    Beginning with The Major and the Minor, the film that marks Billy Wilder’s American directorial debut in 1942, the text offers students a chronological tour of 25 films, including renowned works such as Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd., Sabrina, The Apartment, and Some Like It Hot. Students are provided with background information for each film, as well as a set of thought-provoking questions that put them in the critic’s seat and elicit deeper analysis.

    As they progress through the films, students are encouraged to identify key themes and observe how Wilder’s work evolved over time. They learn from Wilder’s artistic eye for creating amazing mise en scѐne and his ability to successfully direct films across genres, including film noir, for which Wilder shares credit as a creator.

    The only comprehensive viewing guide for Billy Wilder’s films, Watching Wilder is a valuable resource for film courses with concentration in directing, writing, and production.

    Sherry Lowell-Lewis is a film actor and screenwriter, television actor, stage actor and playwright, and voice recording artist. She received her M.A. in drama and speech from the University of Texas at El Paso. Lowell-Lewis previously taught courses in drama and film at El Paso Community College and currently serves as a lecturer of communication and film at The University of Texas at El Paso. Her research interests include Billy Wilder, Ernst Lubitsch, Preston Sturges, Frank Capra, communication anxiety, and second language acquisition. Besides a love of film, Lowell-Lewis has a specialty in speech anxiety reduction and has consulted on several public speaking text books.
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    “A marvelous primer for lovers of film history and Billy Wilder’s oeuvre. Professor Lowell-Lewis’ deep expertise on her subject matter shines throughout each chapter. Whether you already enjoy Wilder’s films or are just learning about his important contributions to the cinema, this is must read critical guide for film aficionados at all levels.”
    Marie Rose, award-winning screenwriter-director-film producer

    “Watching Wilder: A Critical Guide to Director Billy Wilder’s Films is engaging from the start due to the inherent interest of its subject, and it becomes even more enjoyable as the reader progresses through the text and gains increasing familiarity with Wilder’s characteristic themes, imagery and tropes. Writer Sherry Lowell-Lewis deals with Wilder’s films in temporal succession. Her prose style is unpretentious and breezy, and her choice of format, with each film represented through photos, cast lists, a précis enlivened by an expert’s insights, and discussion questions, makes her book a congenial guide for serious students of Billy Wilder’s films.”
    Brian and Margaret Trenchard-Smith