James Sanders[’s]...wonderfully informed and informative “Celluloid Skyline”...is virtually without precedent...given its depth of research, the richly detailed elegance of its critical argument and, most important, its ability to expand and redirect the way we think about movies....[B]rilliantly acute....with unflagging energy and attention to detail on literally hundreds of movies, through the decades, through every imaginable genre....As [Sanders] observes, New York remains...the single greatest locus not just of California dreaming but of American dreaming. Sanders is the Freud of that dream, its hugely informed and gracefully civilized interpreter. And his great work causes us finally to think afresh not just about his particular subject but also about the whole vast movie enterprise.

-- Richard Schickel.

This beautifully produced and totally irresistible volume demonstrates the omniscience and omnivorousness of James Sanders, an architect who not only appears to know everything that needs to be know about New York architecture but, in addition, everything that needs to be known about the cinema, and about architecture as it relates to the cinema.

-- Gerald Kaufman

What a marvellous – miraculous – book! I don’t know whether I’m more bowled over by the pictures or the text; of course it’s the two together, and the intelligence and thought guiding both

-- Jane Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities

[T]horough, smart, informative, entertaining, beautifully illustrated and designed coffee-table tome, Celluloid Skyline....a powerful, almost three-dimensional way of looking at moviemaking as somehow parallel to the art of city making. Sanders has nailed what he set out to do: he has written what should be the definitive study on the subject, and he has also left us with a strong model for any future research on the meeting between the metropolis and the movies.

-- Phillip Lopate

You won’t read a more lucid or measured insight into a city’s consciousness than Celluloid Skyline....Sanders’s encyclopedic exploration of interiors and architecture in three films by Woody Allen....is splendidly used to capture changes in civic sympathies and a more optimistic view of urban life. And his essay on perhaps the greatest New York movie, Rear Window...is among the most perceptive in the mighty Alfred Hitchcock library.

-- Douglas McCabe

In these densely illustrated pages, Sanders proposes that there have been two New Yorks throughout the twentieth century – the real city where we live, and a dream, or movie, city, made up of images and models and sets and mattes....To his great credit, he sees the dream city not as a myth in need of deconstruction but as a commentary in need of explication – a kind of parallel universe, neither more nor less fantastic than the subject it mimics and enlarges. He is subtle – his analysis between the Manhattan of “Annie Hall” and the Manhattan of “Manhattan,” two years later, is worth the price of admission – and, to judge by the movies he praises...he is also sound.

An invaluable tour guide to several cities, each going under the name New York..

-- Tom Shone

Sanders...has a rich and deep understanding of the ways movies about New York have beamed out a siren song to people around the country....This is a massive project, and yet Sanders’ efforts do not flag....With “Celluloid Skyline,” Sanders does justice to the people who have raised up this creation on the silver screen.

-- John Freeman

Sanders's book seems to tell us virtually everything there is to know about Hollywood's long-standing relationship with the Empire City...[W]e come away from this book grateful to its author for heightening our understanding of how the fabled and filmic New York has stolen our imagination.

-- Jenna Weissman Joselit

Turning every page of this sublimely illustrated book brings a new thrill, not just because the pictures are so apt and so exquisitely presented but also because the text is so lucid, so cogently argued, so dense with pertinent examples, and even, dare I say it, poetic.

-- Christopher Sylvester

One of the most important, and enjoyable, books about the effect of Hollywood on our perception of reality, in particular, the reality of New York City, that I have ever read. His research has been staggering, the hundreds of films stills alone, all but a few unknown to me, would justify a prize for archival industriousness. But he has put a corresponding amount of original thought into the story of how New York’s urban development, in all its glamor and grime, was taken with then to Hollywood by the writers forced west by the Depression....Sanders seems to know everything...

-- Alexander Walker

[Sanders’] enthusiasm is well calibrated, with nicely timed, wow-inducing excursuses throughout, on art history, politics, architecture, or the technical details of film production. And hundreds of photographs – beautifully reproduced, many of them previously unpublished – are often rivaled for interest by their corking captions....[A] brilliant synthesis of film history, architectural criticism, and the politics of artistic production...

-- Michael Joseph Gross

As an architect, Sanders’ knowledge of design and structure enhances Celluloid's nearly 500 pages. His keen eye and accessible style make us understand, say, the difference between Warner Bros.’ concept of Broadway and MGM’s, where “the theaters...were typically streamlined art deco masterpieces.” Many of the book's 328 sharp illustrations haven't been seen since they left studio files, and the Afterword and Acknowledgment section is a veritable study guide to Hollywood studio era methods of recording design aspects of production. The culmination of Sanders’ 15 years of work has become a timely tribute to a skyline that, with and without the World Trade Center, can never be diminished.

-- Lisa Mitchell

Richly illustrated, elegantly written, and keenly perceptive....overflowing with information and insight....an encyclopedic, consistently smart book with an original perspective.

-- Leonard Quart

Sanders organizes this highly readable tome by chronology and architectural element....It's easy to amble from cover to cover, or you can skim and stop as your whim takes you. The volume is chock-full of historical and technical detail: the addresses of turn-of-the-century film companies, the evolution of cameras and sound, evolving art directors’ techniques and tools....Drawing on exhaustive scholarship from wide-ranging sources, Sanders’s unique contribution is showing us through an architect's lens how various social and cinematic developments merge....Clearly a labor of love, Celluloid Skyline helps you see both the city and the movies anew.

-- Francine Russo

Sanders is an architect by training, and his book, whose readings of the cinema’s numerous New York stories would put many a professional critic to shame, is built to last. Page for page, this is the best new film book of the year.

-- Christopher Bray

“Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies” is a magnificent book, a searching and intelligent account of how the city shaped the movies and, in turn, how the myth making power of the movies helped shape the city....James Sanders is not a film critic or historian; he’s an architect. Yet his knowledge of movies and filmmaking is profound, and his approach to the movies through his professional discipline is unique and revelatory.

-- Charles Matthews