The book was the Biographical Dictionary of Film, and Tom was from then onwards its steadfast supporter and – increasingly – my friend. We did many other books – Suspects, Silver Light, Showman, a biography of David Selznick and two more editions of the Dictionary, which finally in the 1990s turned into what Tom admitted was "hot cakes".
When A Biographical Dictionary of Film was first published in 1975, critical reaction ranged from delight to outrage, often within the same review. Describing it in Sight and Sound as "the sort of book which infuriates as often as it pleases", David Badder commended David Thomson for writing "economically and entertainingly", but was "horrified to read an unconvincing and unrelenting diatribe on John Ford". It was Thomson's views on Ford, at that time a near-sacrosanct figure who had died only two years previously, that aroused the most ire among reviewers.