Robert Sherwood's "Best Moving Pictures" follows closely in the wake of Burns Mantle's "Best Plays", and through its own merit should attain the popularity of its older and more famous companion book. The author has long been associated with the moving picture departments of the New York "Herald" and "Life", and is perhaps as well qualified as anyone to edit a "year-book of the American screen". In fact he has brought out an interesting and intelligent handbook of the American movies, which, in its way, does for the moving picture public, what "the Best Plays" does for the theatre-going public.
Confronted with the impossibility of including in the volume excerpts from the moving pictures themselves, as Mantle includes selections from the written drama, Sherwood overcomes the obstacle by giving reviews of the different films, with the plots, casts of characters, and methods of production. In this manner he has taken sixteen representative photoplays of the season 1922-1923, which he considers the best of the field. It is, of course, the prerogative of anyone to quarrel with the choice of matter included in an anthology; but whether Sherwood's choice of the best movies meets with everyone's approval or not, the fact remains that he has made a discriminating selection, and his sixteen best photo-plays are as representative a group as could be made by anyone. The honorable mention list, too, is a valuable inclusion, and with the list of releases for the season, combines to give a complete review of all the films mad eduring 1922-1923.
It's value as a "year-book of the American screen" is further enhanced by virtue of the last two hundred pages being a true mine of information on all subjects connected with motion picture production. Mr. Sherwood has listed a Who's Who, which is in fact, a Social Register of the screen, and probably just as exclusive. He has also appended a list of moving picture publications, a glossary of movie vocabulary, and various other things of interest to moving picture fans, as well as to students of the art of the motion picture.
Mr. Sherwood admits in his preface that there is something wrong with the movies, but that there is also a great deal that is good in them; and it is with the latter element that his book deals. For those desiring a more comprehensive and a more permanent record of American "movies" than can be found in the current photo-play magazines, "The Best Moving Pictures" forms a handbook and a book of reference entirely without rival in its field.