Peter Cowie

Peter Cowie

Peter Cowie (born 1939 in England) is a film historian and author of more than thirty books on film. He has been well known since 1963 as the founder/publisher and general editor of the annual "International Film Guide", a survey of worldwide film production. Educated at Charterhouse School, and an Exhibitioner in History at Magdalene College, Cambridge, he began writing about film in 1960.

His books include definitive surveys of the Scandinavian Cinema, in particular the work of Swedish film director, Ingmar Bergman. In fact, Cowie himself has said that he belongs to a generation whose life was changed by seeing "The Seventh Seal". ["Revolution: The Explosion of World Cinema in the Sixties"] He has contributed to many of the world's leading newspapers and periodicals, including "The New York Times", "The Sunday Times" (London), the "Los Angeles Times", "Le Monde", "Expressen", "Neue Züricher Zeitung", "Sight and Sound", and "Film Comment".

During the period 1963-1988, he published almost 100 books on film by various authors at The Tantivy Press in London, including classics like Robin Wood's "Hitchcock's Films". He also launched annual publications on sport ("International Cycling Guide", "International Running Guide"), classical music ("International Music Guide"), television ("International TV and Video Guide") and the Nordic area ("The Scandinavian Guide").

Other aspects of his work in the area of Scandinavian cinema include his service on the “Quality Awards” Jury of the Swedish Film Institute for 11 years from the 1970s where he was its only non-Nordic member. In 1989 he was decorated by the King of Sweden with the Royal Order of the Polar Star for his services to Swedish culture. During the 1980’s he spent several years in Finland, and in 1983 was director of the Nordic Film Festival in Hanasaari Hanaholmen.

He is also interested in the work of American film directors as different as Francis Ford Coppola, Orson Welles, and John Ford. In 1997 his "Godfather Book" examining "The Godfather" series of films was published, and in 2004, after a visit to Monument Valley in Utah, he wrote an analysis of Ford's films which were shot there, "John Ford and the American West" (Abrams, New York, 2004) examining the importance of that location and the influences of 19th Century American painting.

Until 2000 he served as international publishing director of the daily and weekly film industry newspaper, "Variety" while recently he has provided more than a dozen voice-over audio commentaries for DVD versions of classic films which form part of The Criterion Collection. Of these commentaries, to date a majority are for the films of Bergman.

He is sometime Visiting Professor in Film Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since 2003 he has been a special consultant to the Berlin International Film Festival, working with the Berlinale Talent Campus.

From 2004 to 2006, he was a member of the Executive Board at The European Film College in Ebeltoft, Denmark. In November 2006, to coincide with the centenary of the actress Louise Brooks, Cowie's "Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever" was published in Germany and the United States. In 2008, Cowie co-edited "Projections: The European Film Academy" (Faber, London), and was a contributing editor to the Taschen volume, "The Ingmar Bergman Archives". His most recent work is "Joan Crawford, the Enduring Star" (Rizzoli, New York 2009).


Prominent Publications

*Cowie, Peter, "Ingmar Bergman: A Critical Biography", New York: Scribers, 1982
*Cowie, Peter, "The Godfather Book", London: Faber and Faber, 1997
*Cowie, Peter, "The Apocalypse Now Book", New York: Da Capo Press, 2001
*Cowie, Peter, "John Ford and the American West", Harry Abrams Inc., New York, 2004 ISBN 0810949768
*Cowie, Peter, "Revolution: The Explosion of World Cinema in the Sixties", New York: Faber and Faber, 2004
*Cowie, Peter, "Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever", New York: Rizzoli, 2006

External links

* [ Sean Axmaker, "Peter Cowie's Revolution", long interview on Cowie's career on, May 21, 2007]
*worldcat id|lccn-n50-18771

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