From cold war hysteria and rampant anticommunist witch hunts to the lure of suburbia, television, and the new consumerism, the 1950s was a decade of sensational commercial possibility coupled with dark nuclear fears and conformist politics. Amid this amalgamation of social, political, and cultural conditions, Hollywood was under siege: from the Justice Department, which pressed for big film companies to divest themselves of their theater holdings; from the middleclass, whose retreat to family entertainment inside the home drastically decreased the filmgoing audience; and from the House Un-American Activities Committee, which was attempting to purge the country of dissenting political views. In this difficult context, however, some of the most talented filmmakers of all time, including John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Vincente Minnelli, Nicholas Ray, and Billy Wilder produced some of their most remarkable work.
Bringing together original essays by ten respected scholars in the field, American Cinema of the 1950s explores the impact of the cultural environment of this decade on film, and the impact of film on the American cultural milieu. Contributors examine the signature films of the decade, including From Here to Eternity, Sunset Blvd., Singin' in the Rain, Shane, Rear Window, and Rebel Without a Cause, as well as lesser-known but equally compelling films, such as Dial 1119, Mystery Street, Suddenly, Summer Stock, The Last Hunt, and many others.
Provocative, engaging, and accessible to general readers as well as scholars, this volume provides a unique lens through which to view the links between film and the prevailing social and historical events of the decade.
Art for a New Understanding, an exhibition from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art that opened in October 2018, seeks to radically expand and reposition the narrative of American art since 1950 by charting a history of the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the United States and Canada, beginning when artists moved from more regionally-based conversations and practices to national and international contemporary art contexts.
This fully illustrated volume includes essays by art historians and historians and reflections by the artists included in the collection. Also included are key contemporary writings—from the 1950s onward—by artists, scholars, and critics, investigating the themes of transculturalism and pan-Indian identity, traditional practices conducted in radically new ways, displacement, forced migration, shadow histories, the role of personal mythologies as a means to reimagine the future, and much more.
As both a survey of the development of Indigenous art from the 1950s to the present and a consideration of Native artists within contemporary art more broadly, Art for a New Understanding expands the definition of American art and sets the tone for future considerations of the subject. It is an essential publication for any institution or individual with an interest in contemporary Native American art, and an invaluable resource in ongoing scholarly considerations of the American contemporary art landscape at large.
From the painting-by-numbers fad to the public fascination with the First Lady's apparel to the television sensation of Elvis Presley to the sculptural refinement of the automobile, Marling explores what Americans saw and what they looked for in the 1950s with a gaze newly trained by TV.
With a light touch and many wonderful illustrations, historian Anat Helman investigates "life on the ground" in Israel during the first years of statehood. She looks at how citizens--natives of the land, longtime immigrants, and newcomers--coped with the state's efforts to turn an incredibly diverse group of people into a homogenous whole. She investigates the efforts to make Hebrew the lingua franca of Israel, the uses of humor, and the effects of a constant military presence, along with such familiar aspects of daily life as communal dining on the kibbutz, the nightmare of trying to board a bus, and moviegoing as a form of escapism. In the process Helman shows how ordinary people adapted to the standards and rules of the political and cultural elites and negotiated the chaos of early statehood.
What does it mean to be Taiwanese? This question sits at the heart of Taiwan’s modern history and its place in the world. In contrast to the prevailing scholarly focus on Taiwan after 1987, Becoming Taiwanese examines the important first era in the history of Taiwanese identity construction during the early twentieth century, in the place that served as the crucible for the formation of new identities: the northern port city of Jilong (Keelung).
Part colonial urban social history, part exploration of the relationship between modern ethnicity and nationalism, Becoming Taiwanese offers new insights into ethnic identity formation. Evan Dawley examines how people from China’s southeastern coast became rooted in Taiwan; how the transfer to Japanese colonial rule established new contexts and relationships that promoted the formation of distinct urban, ethnic, and national identities; and how the so-called retrocession to China replicated earlier patterns and reinforced those same identities. Based on original research in Taiwan and Japan, and focused on the settings and practices of social organizations, religion, and social welfare, as well as the local elites who served as community gatekeepers, Becoming Taiwanese fundamentally challenges our understanding of what it means to be Taiwanese.
This book focuses on the emerging historical relations between British television and film culture in the 1950s. Drawing upon archival research, it does this by exploring the development of the early cinema programme on television - principally Current Release (BBC, 1952-3), Picture Parade (BBC, 1956) and Film Fanfare (ABC, 1956-7) - and argues that it was these texts which played the central role in the developing relations between the media. Particularly when it comes to Britain, the early co-existence of television and cinema has been seen as hostile and antagonistic, but in situating these programmes within the contexts of their institutional production, aesthetic construction and reception, the book aims to ‘reconstruct’ television’s coverage of the cinema as crucial to the fabric of British film and television culture at the time. It demonstrates how the roles of cinema and television - as media industries and cultural forms, but crucially as sites of screen entertainment - effectively came together at this time in such a way that is unique to this decade.
Prolific literature, both popular and scholarly, depicts America in the period of the High Cold War as being obsessed with normality, implicitly figuring the postwar period as a return to the way of life that had been put on hold, first by the Great Depression and then by Pearl Harbor.
Demographic Angst argues that mandated normativity—as a political agenda and a social ethic—precluded explicit expression of the anxiety produced by America’s radically reconfigured postwar population. Alan Nadel explores influential non-fiction books, magazine articles, and public documents in conjunction with films such as Singin’ in the Rain, On the Waterfront, Sunset Boulevard, and Sayonara, to examine how these films worked through fresh anxieties that emerged during the 1950s.
Transnational perspectives on the relationship between nuclear energy and society.
With the aim of overcoming the disciplinary and national fragmentation that characterizes much research on nuclear energy, Engaging the Atom brings together specialists from a variety of fields to analyze comparative case studies across Europe and the United States. It explores evolving relationships between society and the nuclear sector from the origins of civilian nuclear power until the present, asking why nuclear energy has been more contentious in some countries than in others and why some countries have never gone nuclear, or have decided to phase out nuclear, while their neighbors have committed to the so-called nuclear renaissance. Contributors examine the challenges facing the nuclear sector in the context of aging reactor fleets, pressing climate urgency, and increasing competition from renewable energy sources.
Written by leading academics in their respective disciplines, the nine chapters of Engaging the Atom place the evolution of nuclear energy within a broader set of national and international configurations, including its role within policies and markets.
Five Years Ahead of My Time: Garage Rock from the 1950s to the Present tells of a musical phenomenon whose continuing influence on global popular culture is immeasurable.
The story begins in 1950s America, when classic rock ’n’ roll was reaching middle age, and teenaged musicians kept its primal rawness going with rough-hewn instrumentals, practicing guitar riffs in their parents’ garages. In the mid-1960s came the Beatles and the British Invasion, and soon every neighborhood had its own garage band. Groups like the Sonics and 13th Floor Elevators burnt brightly but briefly, only to be rediscovered by a new generation of connoisseurs in the 1970s. Numerous compilation albums followed, spearheaded by Lenny Kaye’s iconic Nuggets, which resulted in garage rock’s rebirth during the 1980s and ’90s.
Be it the White Stripes or the Black Keys, bands have consistently found inspiration in the simplicity and energy of garage rock. It is a revitalizing force, looking back to the past to forge the future of rock ’n’ roll. And this, for the first time, is its story.
When political and civil unrest threatened France’s social order in the 1950s, French cinema provided audiences a unique form of escapism from such troubled times: a nostalgic look back to the France of the nineteenth century, with costume dramas set in the age of Napoleon and the Belle Époque. Film critics, however, have routinely dismissed this period of French cinema, overlooking a very important period of political cultural history. French Costume Drama of the 1950s redresses this balance, exploring a diverse range of films including Guitry’s Napoléon (1955), Vernay’s Le Comte de Monte Cristo (1943), and Becker’s Casque d’Or (1952) to expose the political cultural paradox between nostalgia for a lost past and the drive for modernization.
Vivacious, unconventional, candid, and straight, Helen Branson operated a gay bar in Los Angeles in the 1950s—America’s most anti-gay decade. After years of fending off drunken passes as an entertainer in cocktail bars, this divorced grandmother preferred the wit, variety, and fun she found among homosexual men. Enjoying their companionship and deploring their plight, she gave her gay friends a place to socialize. Though at the time California statutes prohibited homosexuals from gathering in bars, Helen’s place was relaxed, suave, and remarkably safe from police raids and other anti-homosexual hazards. In 1957 she published her extraordinary memoir Gay Bar, the first book by a heterosexual to depict the lives of homosexuals with admiration, respect, and love.
In this new edition of Gay Bar, Will Fellows interweaves Branson’s chapters with historical perspective provided through his own insightful commentary and excerpts gleaned from letters and essays appearing in gay publications of the period. Also included is the original introduction to the book by maverick 1950s psychiatrist Blanche Baker. The eclectic selection of voices gives the flavor of American life in that extraordinary age of anxiety, revealing how gay men saw themselves and their circumstances, and how others perceived them.
Outstanding Book, selected by the Public Library Association
Best Books for High Schools, selected by the American Association of School Libraries
The constellation of Hollywood stars burned brightly in the 1950s, even as the industry fell on hard economic times. Major artists of the 1940s--James Stewart, Jerry Lewis, and Gregory Peck--continued to exert a magical appeal but the younger generation of moviegoers was soon enthralled by an emerging cast, led by James Dean and Marlon Brando. They, among others, ushered in a provocative acting style, "the Method," bringing hard-edged, realistic performances to the screen. Adult-oriented small-budget dramas were ideal showcases for Method actors, startlingly realized when Brando seized the screen in On the Waterfront. But, with competition from television looming, Hollywood also featured film-making of epic proportion--Ben-Hur and other cinema wonders rode onto the screen with amazing spectacle, making stars of physically impressive performers such as Charlton Heston.
Larger Than Life offers a comprehensive view of the star system in 1950s Hollywood and also in-depth discussions of the decade's major stars, including Montgomery Clift, Judy Holliday, Jerry Lewis, James Mason, Marilyn Monroe, Kim Novak, Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly, Jayne Mansfield, and Audrey Hepburn.
"An important contribution to the study of mental illness, gender roles, and family interaction. . . . An insightful and well-written book demonstrating the pervasive consequences of gender roles for the deepest levels of mind and emotion."--American Journal of Sociology
"Opens a window onto the lives of the mentally ill and their families."--Women's Review of Books "Warren's analysis is painstaking and illuminating, and there is plenty of material here to interest those concerned with issues of gender and mental illness."--Times Higher Education Supplement
"The women make the author's major points in riveting fashion, speaking eloquently of enforced dependency and subjugation, the helplessness of rigid and constantly reinforced gender-role boundaries, and outright manipulation by their husbands."--Contemporary Psychology
"Can marriage make women go crazy? Carol Warren addresses this question by emphasizing the connections between gender-sterotypical behavior and the institutionalization of married women in the 1950s, using interviews collected . . . during 1957-61. . . . An interesting sociological reworking of the original pychologically oriented interpretation of the interviews."--Oral History Review
Carol A. B. Warren is a professor of sociology at the University of Kansas and author of The Court of Last Resort: Mental Illness and the Law.
William Darby gives us a comprehensive and (mostly) sympathetic reading of over fifty novels and a few movies from the 1950s. He examines titles such as Mandingo, The Invisible Man, I the Jury, Catcher in the Rye, Battle Cry, The Caine Mutiny, The Revolt of Mamie Stover, The Manchurian Candidate, Hawaii, The Bramble Bush, Peyton Place, Ten North Frederick, A Stone for Danny Fisher, The Bad Seed, Not as a Stranger, The Blackboard Jungle, From Here to Eternity, and Compulsion.
Critical wisdom has it that we said a long goodbye to film noir in the 1950s. Robert Miklitsch begs to differ. Pursuing leads down the back streets and alleyways of cultural history, The Red and the Black proposes that the received rise-and-fall narrative about the genre radically undervalues the formal and thematic complexity of '50s noir and the dynamic segue it effected between the spectacular expressionism of '40s noir and early, modernist neo-noir.
Mixing scholarship with a fan's devotion to the crooked roads of critique, Miklitsch autopsies marquee films like D.O.A., Niagara, and Kiss Me Deadly plus a number of lesser-known classics. Throughout, he addresses the social and technological factors that dealt deuce after deuce to the genre--its celebrated style threatened by new media and technologies such as TV and 3-D, color and widescreen, its born losers replaced like zombies by All-American heroes, the nation rocked by the red menace and nightmares of nuclear annihilation. But against all odds, the author argues, inventive filmmakers continued to make formally daring and socially compelling pictures that remain surprisingly, startlingly alive.
Cutting-edge and entertaining, The Red and the Black reconsiders a lost period in the history of American movies.
In Roots of the Revival: American and British Folk Music in the 1950s, Ronald D. Cohen and Rachel Clare Donaldson present a transatlantic history of folk's midcentury resurgence that juxtaposes the related but distinct revivals that took place in the United States and Great Britain.
After setting the stage with the work of music collectors in the nineteenth century, the authors explore the so-called recovery of folk music practices and performers by Alan Lomax and others, including journeys to and within the British Isles that allowed artists and folk music advocates to absorb native forms and facilitate the music's transatlantic exchange. Cohen and Donaldson place the musical and cultural connections of the twin revivals within the decade's social and musical milieu and grapple with the performers' leftist political agendas and artistic challenges, including the fierce debates over "authenticity" in practice and repertoire that erupted when artists like Harry Belafonte and the Kingston Trio carried folk into the popular music mainstream.
From work songs to skiffle, from the Weavers in Greenwich Village to Burl Ives on the BBC, Roots of the Revival offers a frank and wide-ranging consideration of a time, a movement, and a transformative period in American and British pop culture.
Shortly after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the PRC launched a reform campaign that targeted traditional song and dance theater encompassing more than a hundred genres, collectively known as xiqu. Reformers censored or revised xiqu plays and techniques; reorganized star-based private troupes; reassigned the power to create plays from star actors to the newly created functions of playwright, director, and composer; and eliminated market-oriented functionaries such as agents. While the repertoire censorship ended in the 1980s, major reform elements have remained: many traditional scripts (or parts of them) are no longer in performance; actors whose physical memory of repertoire and acting techniques had been the center of play creation, have been superseded by directors, playwrights, and composers. The net result is significantly diminished repertoires and performance techniques, and the absence of star actors capable of creating their own performance styles through new signature plays that had traditionally been one of the hallmarks of a performance school. Transforming Tradition offers a systematic study of the effects of the comprehensive reform of traditional theater conducted in the 1950s and ’60s, and is based on a decade’s worth of exhaustive research of official archival documents, wide-ranging interviews, and contemporaneous publications, most of which have never previously been referenced in scholarly research.
The long 1950s, which extend back to the early postwar period and forward into the early 1960s, were a period of “containment culture” in America, as the media worked to reinforce traditional family values and suspected communist sympathizers were blacklisted from the entertainment industry. Yet some brave filmmakers and actors still challenged the status quo to produce indelible and imaginative work that delivered uncomfortable truths to Cold War audiences.
Triumph Over Containment offers an uncompromising look at some of the era’s greatest films and directors, from household names like Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick to lesser-known iconoclasts like Samuel Fuller and Ida Lupino. Taking in everything from The Thing from Another World (1951) to Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), acclaimed film scholar Robert P. Kolker scours a variety of different genres to find pockets of resistance to the repressive and oppressive norms of Cold War culture. He devotes special attention to two quintessential 1950s genres—the melodrama and the science fiction film—that might seem like polar opposites, but each offered pointed responses to containment culture.
This book takes a fresh look at such directors as Nicholas Ray, John Ford, and Orson Welles, while giving readers a new appreciation for the depth and artistry of 1950s Hollywood films.
In this pathfinding book, based on original archival research, Marsha F. Cassidy offers the first thorough analysis of daytime television’s earliest and most significant women’s genres, appraising from a feminist perspective what women watched before soap opera rose to prominence. After providing a comprehensive history of the early days of women’s programming across the nation, Cassidy offers a critical discussion of the formats, programs, and celebrities that launched daytime TV in America—Kate Smith’s variety show and the famed singer’s unsuccessful transition from patriotic radio star to 1950s TV idol; the “charm boys” Garry Moore, Arthur Godfrey, and Art Linkletter, whose programs honored women’s participation but in the process established the dominance of male hosts on TV; and the “misery shows” Strike It Rich and Glamour Girl and the controversy, both critical and legal, they stirred up. Cassidy then turns to NBC’s Home show, starring the urbane Arlene Francis, who infused the homemaking format with Manhattan sophistication, and the ambitious daily anthology drama Matinee Theater, which strove to differentiate itself from soap opera and become a national theater of the air. She concludes with an analysis of four popular audience participation shows of the era—the runaway hit Queen for a Day; Ralph Edwards’s daytime show of surprises, It Could Be You; Who Do You Trust?, starring a youthful Johnny Carson; and The Big Payoff, featuring Bess Myerson, the country’s first Jewish Miss America. Cassidy’s close feminist reading of these shows clearly demonstrates how daytime TV mirrored the cultural pressures, inconsistencies, and ambiguities of the postwar era.