July 31, 1978 12:00 PM

by Paul Michael

This history of the Oscars’ half century is illustrated with stills and publicity shots from winning films. The selection of photographs, for the most part, is thoughtful and sometimes hilarious. A bathing scene from Claudette Colbert’s Cleopatra, a 1934 winner, displays dozens of extras in swim-suits with halter tops and turbans—far more ’30s Hollywood than historical Egypt. The prose runs to the superlative: “Perhaps the greatest scene ever filmed…the most magnificent color…unforgettable…inspired direction…” But it’s entertaining for devotees. (Crown, $14.95)

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