The Complete Index To World Film

compiled by Alan Goble

2004 Valan publishing website
CD-ROM retail

RATING: 9/10
reviewed by Christopher Geary

Reportedly approved by Guinness as the world’s largest published film-related database, with over 540,000 title entries, the latest edition of this incalculably valuable timesaver spans 1895 to 2004 and includes the filmographies of more than 450,500 people and companies. The Index has a no-frills format utilising standard Windows displays and the main information is all presented in block capitals. There are buttons for print, and copy-to-clipboard, so it’s easy to paste lists into your word processor program.

All names and titles are cross-referenced like website hyperlinks, but the question of genre is sketchily addressed at best, with the majority of entries uncategorised, and details of TV productions are, perhaps understandably, limited or apparently selective. A lot of episodic US TV that was re-edited to feature length for UK video release during the 1980s is presented here, relatively unsorted – and yet, although coverage of this particular area remains incomplete, it’s hardly a major deficiency for an index concerned principally with the international scope of cinema history. With fully sort-able and searchable results for every instance, this Index is a gift for researchers, critics, reviewers – and anyone else who writes about movies with an eye to accuracy or completeness.

Out of the 50 or so most obscure film titles I could think of (many excluded from the likes of Halliwell’s Film Guide) only a few no-budget, direct-to-video movies, such as the feeble sci-fi comedy Naked Robot 4 ½ (1992) are not listed here. No great loss, I think. So whether you want to compile a list of Friz Freleng’s Bugs Bunny cartoons (286 according to this!), or track the career of extremely variable actor-director Ray Dennis Steckler (for whatever reason!), or generate a checklist of all British Lion productions, or look up all the alternative titles for something from the 1960s by Mario Bava, this user-friendly Index is extremely helpful in finding raw info in easily transferable format. Needless to say, but well worth a mention, anyway, is the fact that this disc can instantly replace a whole bookshelf of movie guides or cinema encyclopaedias. I found it especially handy as a quick reference memory-jogger when I cannot recall film title ‘A’, or any of the cast names, but do remember that so-and-so also starred in film ‘B’ with Mr X. Looking up film B and following the data trail to find what I’m after takes mere seconds now, and makes The Complete Index To World Film almost priceless!

The recommended way of using this Index is to copy all the files on the CD-ROM to your PC (then simply put a shortcut to your desktop via Windows Explorer), so you will need 600 megabytes of hard disc space. It’s also suitable for Mac users or networks. The publisher offers extracted CD-ROMs of silent or British films, too.