Carl Plantinga Rutgers University Press, 2021 Library of Congress PN1995.9.R3P53 | Dewey Decimal 791.43612
From their very inception, movies have served two seemingly contradictory purposes. On one hand, they transport us to fantastical worlds and display mind-boggling special effects. On the other, they can document actual events and immerse us in scenarios that feel so realistic, we might forget we are watching a work of fiction.
Alternative Realities explores how these distinctions between cinematic fantasy and filmic realism are more porous than we might think. Through a close analysis of CGI-heavy blockbusters like Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy, it considers how even popular fantasies are grounded in emotional and social realities. Conversely, it examines how mockumentaries like This is Spinal Tap satirically call attention to the highly stylized techniques documentarians use to depict reality.
Alternative Realities takes us on a journey through many different genres of film, from the dream-like and subjective realities depicted in movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Memento, to the astonishing twists of movies like Shutter Island and The Matrix, which leave viewers in a state of epistemic uncertainty. Ultimately, it shows us how the power of cinema comes from the unique way it fuses together the objective and the subjective, the fantastical and the everyday.
Probably no decade saw as many changes in the Hollywood film industry and its product as the 1930s did. At the beginning of the decade, the industry was still struggling with the transition to talking pictures. Gangster films and naughty comedies starring Mae West were popular in urban areas, but aroused threats of censorship in the heartland. Whether the film business could survive the economic effects of the Crash was up in the air. By 1939, popularly called "Hollywood's Greatest Year," films like Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz used both color and sound to spectacular effect, and remain American icons today. The "mature oligopoly" that was the studio system had not only weathered the Depression and become part of mainstream culture through the establishment and enforcement of the Production Code, it was a well-oiled, vertically integrated industrial powerhouse.
The ten original essays in American Cinema of the 1930s focus on sixty diverse films of the decade, including Dracula, The Public Enemy, Trouble in Paradise, 42nd Street, King Kong, Imitation of Life, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Swing Time, Angels with Dirty Faces, Nothing Sacred, Jezebel, Mr. Smith Goes toWashington, and Stagecoach .
The 2010s might be remembered as a time of increased polarization in American life. The decade contained both the Obama era and the Trump era, and as the nation’s political fissures widened, so did the gap between the haves and have-nots. Hollywood reflected these divisions, choosing to concentrate on big franchise blockbusters at the expense of mid-budget films, while new players like Netflix and Amazon offered fresh opportunities for low-budget and independent filmmakers. As the movie business changed, films ranging from American Sniper to Get Out found ways to speak to the concerns of a divided nation.
The newest installment in the Screen Decades series, American Cinema in the 2010s takes a close look at the memorable movies, visionary filmmakers, and behind-the-scenes drama that made this decade such an exciting time to be a moviegoer. Each chapter offers an in-depth examination of a specific year, covering a wide variety of films, from blockbuster superhero movies like Black Panther and animated films like Frozen to smaller-budget biopics like I, Tonya and horror films like Hereditary. This volume introduces readers to a decade in which established auteurs like Quentin Tarantino were joined by an exceptionally diverse set of new talents, taking American cinema in new directions.
Stephen Prince Rutgers University Press, 2021 Library of Congress PN1995.9.A64P75 2021 | Dewey Decimal 791.43615
Vivid images of the apocalypse proliferate throughout contemporary cinema, which pictures the death of civilization in wildly different ways. Some films imagine a future where humanity is wiped out entirely, while others envision humans as an endangered species, enslaved by alien invaders or hunted by zombie hordes.
This book provides a lively overview of apocalypse cinema, including alien invasions, nuclear annihilation, asteroid collisions, climate change, and terrifying plagues. Covering pivotal films from the silent era to the present day, including Metropolis, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Dr. Strangelove, Contagion, and Avengers: Endgame, Stephen Prince explores how these dark visions are rooted in religious and prophetic traditions, and he considers how our love for apocalypse cinema is tied to fundamental existential questions and anxieties that never go out of fashion.
Roger Ebert has been writing film reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times for nearly forty years. And during those four decades, his wide knowledge, keen judgment, prodigious energy, and sharp sense of humor have made him America’s most celebrated film critic. He was the first such critic to win a Pulitzer Prize—one of just three film critics ever to receive that honor—and the only one to have a star dedicated to him on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His groundbreaking hit TV show, At the Movies, meanwhile, has made “two thumbs up” one of the most coveted hallmarks in the entire industry.
No critic alive has reviewed more movies than Roger Ebert, and yet his essential writings have never been collected in a single volume—until now. With Awake in the Dark, both fans and film buffs can finally bask in the best of Ebert’s work. The reviews, interviews, and essays collected here present a picture of this indispensable critic’s numerous contributions to the cinema and cinephilia. From The Godfather to GoodFellas, from Cries and Whispers to Crash, the reviews in Awake in the Dark span some of the most exceptional periods in film history, from the dramatic rise of rebel Hollywood and the heyday of the auteur, to the triumph of blockbuster films such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, to the indie revolution that is still with us today.
The extraordinary interviews gathered in Awake in the Dark capture Ebert engaging not only some of the most influential directors of our time—Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Werner Herzog, and Ingmar Bergman—but also some of the silver screen’s most respected and dynamic personalities, including actors as diverse as Robert Mitchum, James Stewart, Warren Beatty, and Meryl Streep. Ebert’s remarkable essays play a significant part in Awake in the Dark as well. The book contains some of Ebert’s most admired pieces, among them a moving appreciation of John Cassavetes and a loving tribute to the virtues of black-and-white films.
If Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris were godmother and godfather to the movie generation, then Ebert is its voice from within—a writer whose exceptional intelligence and daily bursts of insight and enthusiasm have shaped the way we think about the movies. Awake in the Dark, therefore, will be a treasure trove not just for fans of this seminal critic, but for anyone desiring a fascinating and compulsively readable chronicle of film since the late 1960s.
Ingrid Bergman. Audrey Hepburn. Elizabeth Taylor. Jane Fonda. Meryl Streep. The list of women who have won the coveted and legendary Academy Award for Best Actress is long and varied. Through this illustrious roster we can trace the history of women in Hollywood, from the rise of Mary Pickford in the early 20th century to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements of today, which have galvanized women across the world to speak out for equal pay, respect, power, and opportunity.
This lavishly illustrated coffee table book offers a vital examination of the first 75 women to have won the Best Actress Oscar over the span of 90 years. From inaugural recipient Janet Gaynor to Frances McDormand’s 2018 acceptance speech that assertively brought women to the forefront, Best Actress: The History of Oscar®-Winning Women serves to promote a new appreciation for the cinematic roles these women won for, as well as the real-life roles many of them played – and still play – in advancing women’s rights and equality. Stories range from Bette Davis’ groundbreaking battle against the studio system; to the cutting-edge wardrobes of Katharine Hepburn, Diane Keaton and Cher; to the historical significance of Halle Berry’s victory; to the awareness raised around sexual violence by the performances of Jodie Foster, Brie Larson, and others.
Showcasing a dazzling collection of 200 photographs, many of which have never before been seen or published, Best Actress honors the legacies of these revered and extraordinary women while scrutinizing the roadblocks that they continue to overcome.
From the glossy monochrome of the classic Hollywood romance, to the gritty greyscale of the gangster picture, to film noir’s moody interplay of light and shadow, black-and-white cinematography has been used to create a remarkably wide array of tones. Yet today, with black-and-white film stock nearly impossible to find, these cinematographic techniques are virtually extinct, and filmgoers’ appreciation of them is similarly waning.
Black and White Cinema is the first study to consider the use of black-and-white as an art form in its own right, providing a comprehensive and global overview of the era when it flourished, from the 1900s to the 1960s. Acclaimed film scholar Wheeler Winston Dixon introduces us to the masters of this art, discussing the signature styles and technical innovations of award-winning cinematographers like James Wong Howe, Gregg Toland, Freddie Francis, and Sven Nykvist. Giving us a unique glimpse behind the scenes, Dixon also reveals the creative teams—from lighting technicians to matte painters—whose work profoundly shaped the look of black-and-white cinema.
More than just a study of film history, this book is a rallying cry, meant to inspire a love for the artistry of black-and-white film, so that we might work to preserve this important part of our cinematic heritage. Lavishly illustrated with more than forty on-the-set stills, Black and White Cinema provides a vivid and illuminating look at a creatively vital era.
As one of popular culture’s most popular arenas, sports are often the subject of cinematic storytelling. But boxing films are special. There are more movies about boxing, by a healthy margin, than any other sport, and boxing accompanied and aided the medium’s late nineteenth-century emergence as a popular mass entertainment. Many of cinema’s most celebrated directors—from Oscar Micheaux to Martin Scorsese—made boxing films. And while the production of other types of sports movies generally corresponds with the current popularity of their subject, boxing films continue to be made regularly even after the sport has wilted from its once-prominent position in the sports hierarchy of the United States. From Edison’s Leonard-Cushing Fight to The Joe Louis Story, Rocky, and beyond, this book explores why boxing has so consistently fascinated cinema and popular media culture by tracing how boxing movies inform the sport’s meanings and uses from the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first century.
If there was a moment during the sixties, seventies, or eighties that changed the history of the women’s film movement, B. Ruby Rich was there. Part journalistic chronicle, part memoir, and 100% pure cultural historical odyssey, Chick Flicks—with its definitive, the-way-it-was collection of essays—captures the birth and growth of feminist film as no other book has done.
For over three decades Rich has been one of the most important voices in feminist film criticism. Her presence at film festivals (such as Sundance, where she is a member of the selection committee), her film reviews in the Village Voice, Elle, Out, and the Advocate, and her commentaries on the public radio program “The World” have secured her a place as a central figure in the remarkable history of what she deems “cinefeminism.” In the hope that a new generation of feminist film culture might be revitalized by reclaiming its own history, Rich introduces each essay with an autobiographical prologue that describes the intellectual, political, and personal moments from which the work arose. Travel, softball, sex, and voodoo all somehow fit into a book that includes classic Rich articles covering such topics as the antiporn movement, the films of Yvonne Rainer, a Julie Christie visit to Washington, and the historically evocative film Maedchen in Uniform. The result is a volume that traces the development not only of women’s involvement in cinema but of one of its key players as well.
The first book-length work from Rich—whose stature and influence in the world of film criticism and theory continue to grow—Chick Flicks exposes unexplored routes and forgotten byways of a past that’s recent enough to be remembered and far away enough to be memorable.
Comic Book Movies
Davis, Blair Rutgers University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PN1995.9.S76D38 2018 | Dewey Decimal 791.43652
Comic Book Movies explores how this genre serves as a source for modern-day myths, sometimes even incorporating ancient mythic figures like Thor and Wonder Woman’s Amazons, while engaging with the questions that haunt a post-9/11 world: How do we define heroism and morality today? How far are we willing to go when fighting terror? How can we resist a dystopian state?
Film scholar Blair Davis also considers how the genre’s visual style is equally important as its weighty themes, and he details how advances in digital effects have allowed filmmakers to incorporate elements of comic book art in innovative ways. As he reveals, comic book movies have inspired just as many innovations to Hollywood’s business model, with film franchises and transmedia storytelling helping to ensure that the genre will continue its reign over popular culture for years to come.
Prince, Stephen Rutgers University Press, 2019 Library of Congress TR860.P78 2018 | Dewey Decimal 777
Digital Cinema considers how new technologies have revolutionized the medium, while investigating the continuities that might remain from filmmaking’s analog era. In the process, it raises provocative questions about the status of realism in a pixel-generated digital medium whose scenes often defy the laws of physics. It also considers what these changes might bode for the future of cinema. How will digital works be preserved and shared? And will the emergence of virtual reality finally consign cinema to obsolescence?
Stephen Prince offers a clear, concise account of how digital cinema both extends longstanding traditions of filmmaking and challenges some fundamental assumptions about film. It is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding how movies are shot, produced, distributed, and consumed in the twenty-first century.
Roger Ebert is a name synonymous with the movies. In Ebert’s Bests, he takes readers through the journey of how he became a film critic, from his days at a student-run cinema club to his rise as a television commentator in At the Movies and Siskel & Ebert. Recounting the influence of the French New Wave, his friendships with Werner Herzog and Martin Scorsese, as well as travels to Sweden and Rome to visit Ingrid Bergman and Federico Fellini, Ebert never loses sight of film as a key component of our cultural identity. In considering the ethics of film criticism—why we should take all film seriously, without prejudgment or condescension—he argues that film critics ought always to engage in open-minded dialogue with a movie. Extending this to his accompanying selection of “10 Bests,” he reminds us that hearts and minds—and even rankings—are bound to change.
Film Remakes and Franchises
Herbert, Daniel Rutgers University Press, 2017 Library of Congress PN1995.9.R45H43 2017 | Dewey Decimal 791.436
Contemporary media seems incredibly unoriginal, as Hollywood produces an endless flood of remakes, sequels, reboots, and franchises. We watch as the same stories, characters, and images appear again and again in different films, on new platforms, and as toys and other merchandise. Are these works simply crass commercial products, utterly devoid of creativity, or do they offer filmmakers a unique opportunity to reimagine iconic characters and modern myths?
Film Remakes and Franchises examines how remakes and sequels have been central to the film industry from its very inception, yet also considers how the recent trends toward reboots and transmedia franchises depart from those historical precedents. Film scholar Daniel Herbert not only analyzes the film industry’s increasing reliance on recycled product, but also asks why audiences are currently so drawn to such movies. In addition, he explores how contemporary filmmakers have used reboots and franchise movies to inject timely social commentary and diversity into established media properties. A lively and accessible overview that covers everything from You’ve Got Mail to The Force Awakens, Film Remakes and Franchises raises important questions about the intersection of business and creativity in Hollywood today.
This collection of essays was selected from those presented in October 1988 at a conference sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, "Concepts of History in German Cinema." The contributors include notable historians, film scholars, and German studies specialists who explore the complex network of social, political, and religious institutions that have influenced the historiography of German cinema and television.
Before the turn of the century, Germans began to employ the medium of film to represent the past when they attempted to document their Prussian heritage. Since then, German cinema and television have promoted history as a component of personal, cultural, and national identity by consistently providing prominent treatment of historical subjects.
Although it is relatively easy to document changes in the selection and handling of these subjects, it is more difficult to determine precisely which factors have motivated those changes.
In attempting to define these factors, the link between German cinema, television, and history has developed around three interrelated issues: (1) the reception of Weimar cinema, which for most film scholars continues to be mediated to one extent or another by Siegfried Kracauer’s work; (2) the inscribing of fascism in cinema and television; and (3) the nature of, and potential for, alternatives to mainstream cinema and television.
The esteemed film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum has brought global cinema to American audiences for the last four decades. His incisive writings on individual filmmakers define film culture as a diverse and ever-evolving practice, unpredictable yet subject to analyses just as diversified as his own discriminating tastes. For Rosenbaum, there is no high or low cinema, only more interesting or less interesting films, and the pieces collected here, from an appreciation of Marilyn Monroe’s intelligence to a classic discussion on and with Jean-Luc Godard, amply testify to his broad intellect and multi-faceted talent. Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia gathers together over fifty examples of Rosenbaum’s criticism from the past four decades, each of which demonstrates his passion for the way we view movies, as well as how we write about them. Charting our changing concerns with the interconnected issues that surround video, DVDs, the Internet, and new media, the writings collected here also highlight Rosenbaum’s polemics concerning the digital age. From the rediscovery and recirculation of classic films, to the social and aesthetic impact of technological changes, Rosenbaum doesn’t disappoint in assembling a magisterial cast of little-known filmmakers as well as the familiar faces and iconic names that have helped to define our era.
As we move into this new decade of moviegoing—one in which Hollywood will continue to feel the shockwaves of the digital age—Jonathan Rosenbaum remains a valuable guide. Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia is a consummate collection of his work, not simply for fans of this seminal critic, but for all those open to the wide variety of films he embraces and helps us to elucidate.
The Great Movies III
Roger Ebert University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress PN1994.E2323 2010 | Dewey Decimal 791.4375
Roger Ebert has been writing film reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times for over four decades now and his biweekly essays on great movies have been appearing there since 1996. As Ebert noted in the introduction to the first collection of those pieces, “They are not the greatest films of all time, because all lists of great movies are a foolish attempt to codify works which must stand alone. But it’s fair to say: If you want to take a tour of the landmarks of the first century of cinema, start here.
Enter The Great Movies III, Ebert’s third collection of essays on the crème de la crème of the silver screen, each one a model of critical appreciation and a blend of love and analysis that will send readers back to the films with a fresh set of eyes and renewed enthusiasm—or maybe even lead to a first-time viewing. From The Godfather: Part II to Groundhog Day, from The Last Picture Show to Last Tango in Paris, the hundred pieces gathered here display a welcome balance between the familiar and the esoteric, spanning Hollywood blockbusters and hidden gems, independent works and foreign language films alike. Each essay draws on Ebert’s vast knowledge of the cinema, its fascinating history, and its breadth of techniques, introducing newcomers to some of the most exceptional movies ever made, while revealing new insights to connoisseurs as well.
Named the most powerful pundit in America by Forbes magazine, and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Roger Ebert is inarguably the most prominent and influential authority on the cinema today. The Great Movies III is sure to please his many fans and further enhance his reputation as America’s most respected—and trusted—film critic.
The Great Movies IV
Roger Ebert University of Chicago Press, 2016 Library of Congress PN1994.E2324 2016 | Dewey Decimal 791.4375
No film critic has ever been as influential—or as beloved— as Roger Ebert. Over more than four decades, he built a reputation writing reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times and, later, arguing onscreen with rival Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel and later Richard Roeper about the movies they loved and loathed. But Ebert went well beyond a mere “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” Readers could always sense the man behind the words, a man with interests beyond film and a lifetime’s distilled wisdom about the larger world. Although the world lost one of its most important critics far too early, Ebert lives on in the minds of moviegoers today, who continually find themselves debating what he might have thought about a current movie.
The Great Movies IV is the fourth—and final—collection of Roger Ebert’s essays, comprising sixty-two reviews of films ranging from the silent era to the recent past. From films like The Cabinet of Caligari and Viridiana that have been considered canonical for decades to movies only recently recognized as masterpieces to Superman, The Big Lebowski, and Pink Floyd: The Wall, the pieces gathered here demonstrate the critical acumen seen in Ebert’s daily reviews and the more reflective and wide-ranging considerations that the longer format allowed him to offer. Ebert’s essays are joined here by an insightful foreword by film critic Matt Zoller Seitz, the current editor-in-chief of the official Roger Ebert website, and a touching introduction by Chaz Ebert.
A fitting capstone to a truly remarkable career, The Great Movies IV will introduce newcomers to some of the most exceptional movies ever made, while revealing new insights to connoisseurs as well.
Dahlia Schweitzer Rutgers University Press, 2021 Library of Congress PN1995.9.H367S39 2021 | Dewey Decimal 791.43675
Haunted Homes is a short but groundbreaking study of homes in horror film and television. While haunted houses can be fun and thrilling, Hollywood horror tends to focus on haunted homes, places where the suburban American dream of safety and comfort has turned into a nightmare. From classic movies like The Old Dark House to contemporary works like Hereditary and the Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House, Dahlia Schweitzer explores why haunted homes have become a prime stage for dramatizing anxieties about family, gender, race, and economic collapse. She traces how the haunted home film was intertwined with the expansion of American suburbia, but also explores works like The Witch and The Babadook, which transport the genre to different times and places. This lively and readable study reveals how and why an increasing number of films imagine that home is where the horror is.
From The Wild Angels in 1966 until its conclusion in 1972, the cycle of outlaw motorcycle films contained forty-odd formulaic examples. All but one were made by independent companies that specialized in producing exploitation movies for drive-ins, neighborhood theaters, and rundown inner city theaters. Despised by critics, but welcomed by exhibitors denied first-run films, these cheaply and quickly produced movies were made to appeal to audiences of mobile youths. The films are repetitive, formulaic, and eminently forgettable, but there is a story to tell about all of the above, and it is one worth hearing. Hoodlum Movies is not only about the films, its focus is on why and how these films were made, who they were made for, and how the cycle developed through the second half of the 1960s and came to a shuddering halt in 1972.
L.A. Private Eyes
Dahlia Schweitzer Rutgers University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS374.D4S394 2019 | Dewey Decimal 813.087209979494
L.A. Private Eyes examines the tradition of the private eye as it evolves in films, books, and television shows set in Los Angeles from the 1930’s through the present day. It takes a closer look at narratives—both on screen and on the printed page—in which detectives travel the streets of Los Angeles, uncovering corruption, moral ambiguity, and greed with the conviction of urban cowboys, while always ultimately finding truth and redemption. With a review of Los Angeles history, crime stories, and film noir, L.A. Private Eyes explores the metamorphosis of the solitary detective figure and the many facets of the genre itself, from noir to mystery, on the screen. While the conventions of the genre may have remained consistent and recognizable, the points where they evolve illuminate much about our changing gender and power roles.
Lights! Camera! Arkansas! traces the roles played by Arkansans in the first century of Hollywood’s film industry, from the first cowboy star, Broncho Billy Anderson, to Mary Steenburgen, Billy Bob Thornton, and many others. The Arkansas landscape also plays a starring role: North Little Rock’s cameo in Gone with the Wind, Crittenden County as a setting for Hallelujah (1929), and various locations in the state’s southeastern quadrant in 2012’s Mud are all given fascinating exploration.
Robert Cochran and Suzanne McCray screened close to two hundred films—from laughable box-office bombs to laudable examples of filmmaking -- in their research for this book. They’ve enhanced their spirited chronological narrative with an appendix on documentary films, a ratings section, and illustrations chosen by Jo Ellen Maack of the Old State House Museum, where Lights! Camera! Arkansas! debuted as an exhibit curated by the authors in 2013. The result is a book sure to entertain and inform those interested in Arkansas and the movies for years to come.
From Victor Frankenstein to Dr. Moreau to Doc Brown in Back to the Future, the scientist has been a puzzling, fascinating, and threatening presence in popular culture. From films we have learned that scientists are either evil maniacal geniuses or bumbling saviors of society. Mad, Bad and Dangerous? puts this dichotomy to the test, offering a wholly engaging yet not uncritical history of the cinematic portrayal of scientists.
Christopher Frayling traces the genealogy of the scientist in film, showing how the scientist has often embodied the predominant anxieties of a particular historical moment. The fear of nuclear holocaust in the 1950s gave rise to a rash of radioactive-mutant horror movies, while the possible dangers of cloning and biotechnology in the 1990s manifested themselves in Jurassic Park. During these eras, the scientist's actions have been viewed through a lens of fascination and fear. In the past few decades, with increased public awareness of environmental issues and of the impact of technology on nature, the scientist has been transformed once again—into a villainous agent of money-hungry corporate powers. Mad, Bad and Dangerous? also examines biographical depictions of actual scientists, illuminating how they are often portrayed as social misfits willing to sacrifice everything to the interests of science.
Drawing on such classic and familiar films as Frankenstein, Metropolis, and The Wizard of Oz, Frayling brings social and film history together to paint a much larger picture of the evolving value of science and technology to society. A fascinating study of American culture and film, Mad, Bad and Dangerous? resurrects the scientists of late night movies and drive-in theaters and gives them new life as cultural talismans.
When you think of British horror films, you might picture the classic Hammer Horror movies, with Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and blood in lurid technicolor. Yet British horror has undergone an astonishing change and resurgence in the twenty-first century, with films that capture instead the anxieties of post-Millennial viewers.
Tracking the revitalization of the British horror film industry over the past two decades, media expert Steven Gerrard also investigates why audiences have flocked to these movies. To answer that question, he focuses on three major trends: “hoodie horror” movies responding to fears about Britain’s urban youth culture; “great outdoors” films where Britain’s forests, caves, and coasts comprise a terrifying psychogeography; and psychological horror movies in which the monster already lurks within us.
Offering in-depth analysis of numerous films, including The Descent, Outpost, and The Woman in Black, this book takes readers on a lively tour of the genre’s highlights, while provocatively exploring how these films reflect viewers’ gravest fears about the state of the nation. Whether you are a horror buff, an Anglophile, or an Anglophobe, The Modern British Horror Film is sure to be a thrilling read.
As Christopher Nolan’s Batman films and releases from the Marvel Cinematic Universe have regularly topped the box office charts, fans and critics alike might assume that the “comic book movie” is a distinctly twenty-first-century form. Yet adaptations of comics have been an integral part of American cinema from its very inception, with comics characters regularly leaping from the page to the screen and cinematic icons spawning comics of their own.
Movie Comics is the first book to study the long history of both comics-to-film and film-to-comics adaptations, covering everything from silent films starring Happy Hooligan to sound films and serials featuring Dick Tracy and Superman to comic books starring John Wayne, Gene Autry, Bob Hope, Abbott & Costello, Alan Ladd, and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. With a special focus on the Classical Hollywood era, Blair Davis investigates the factors that spurred this media convergence, as the film and comics industries joined forces to expand the reach of their various brands. While analyzing this production history, he also tracks the artistic coevolution of films and comics, considering the many formal elements that each medium adopted and adapted from the other.
As it explores our abiding desire to experience the same characters and stories in multiple forms, Movie Comics gives readers a new appreciation for the unique qualities of the illustrated page and the cinematic moving image.
The Movie Musical
Desirée J. Garcia Rutgers University Press, 2021 Library of Congress PN1995.9.M86G374 2021 | Dewey Decimal 791.436
Putting Asian and European musicals into conversation with Hollywood classics like Singin’ in the Rain and La La Land, this study demonstrates the flexibility and durability of the genre. It explores how the movie musical mediates between nostalgia and technical innovation, while foregrounding the experiences of women, immigrants, and people of color.
Dave Kehr’s writing about film has garnered high praise from both readers and fellow critics. Among his admirers are some of his most influential contemporaries. Roger Ebert called Kehr “one of the most gifted film critics in America.” James Naremore thought he was “one of the best writers on film the country as a whole has ever produced.” But aside from remarkably detailed but brief capsule reviews and top-ten lists, you won’t find much of Kehr’s work on the Internet, and many of the longer and more nuanced essays for which he is best known have not yet been published in book form.
With When Movies Mattered, readers welcomed the first collection of Kehr’s criticism, written during his time at the Chicago Reader. Movies That Mattered is its sequel, with fifty more reviews and essays drawn from the archives of both the Chicago Reader and Chicago magazine from 1974 to 1986. As with When Movies Mattered, the majority of the reviews offer in-depth analyses of individual films that are among Kehr’s favorites, from a thoughtful discussion of the sobering Holocaust documentary Shoah to an irresistible celebration of the raucous comedy Used Cars. But fans of Kehr’s work will be just as taken by his dissections of critically acclaimed films he found disappointing, including The Shining, Apocalypse Now, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Whether you’re a long-time reader or just discovering Dave Kehr, the insights in Movies That Mattered will enhance your appreciation of the movies you already love—and may even make you think twice about one or two you hated.
New African Cinema
Orlando, Valérie K Rutgers University Press, 2017 Library of Congress PN1993.5.A35O75 2017 | Dewey Decimal 791.43096
New African Cinema examines the pressing social, cultural, economic, and historical issues explored by African filmmakers from the early post-colonial years into the new millennium. Offering an overview of the development of postcolonial African cinema since the 1960s, Valérie K. Orlando highlights the variations in content and themes that reflect the socio-cultural and political environments of filmmakers and the cultures they depict in their films.
Orlando illuminates the diverse themes evident in the works of filmmakers such as Ousmane Sembène’s Ceddo (Senegal, 1977), Sarah Maldoror’s Sambizanga (Angola, 1972), Assia Djebar’s La Nouba des femmes de Mont Chenoua (The Circle of women of Mount Chenoua, Algeria, 1978), Zézé Gamboa’s The Hero (Angola, 2004) and Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu (Mauritania, 2014), among others. Orlando also considers the influence of major African film schools and their traditions, as well as European and American influences on the marketing and distribution of African film. For those familiar with the polemics of African film, or new to them, Orlando offers a cogent analytical approach that is engaging.
In this study of Hollywood gangster films, Jonathan Munby examines their controversial content and how it was subjected to continual moral and political censure.
Beginning in the early 1930s, these films told compelling stories about ethnic urban lower-class desires to "make it" in an America dominated by Anglo-Saxon Protestant ideals and devastated by the Great Depression. By the late 1940s, however, their focus shifted to the problems of a culture maladjusting to a new peacetime sociopolitical order governed by corporate capitalism. The gangster no longer challenged the establishment; the issue was not "making it," but simply "making do."
Combining film analysis with archival material from the Production Code Administration (Hollywood's self-censoring authority), Munby shows how the industry circumvented censure, and how its altered gangsters (influenced by European filmmakers) fueled the infamous inquisitions of Hollywood in the postwar '40s and '50s by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Ultimately, this provocative study suggests that we rethink our ideas about crime and violence in depictions of Americans fighting against the status quo.
Rock 'n' Roll Movies
Sterritt, David Rutgers University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PN1995.9.M86S75 2017 | Dewey Decimal 791.436578
Rock ‘n’ Roll Movies presents an eclectic look at the many manifestations of rock in motion pictures, from teen-oriented B-movies to Hollywood blockbusters to avant-garde meditations to reverent biopics to animated shorts to performance documentaries. Acclaimed film critic David Sterritt considers the diverse ways that filmmakers have regarded rock ‘n’ roll, some cynically cashing in on its popularity and others responding to the music as sincere fans, some depicting rock as harmless fun and others representing it as an open challenge to mainstream norms.
With more than 250 images, new information on international cinema—especially Polish, Chinese, Russian, Canadian, and Iranian filmmakers—an expanded section on African-American filmmakers, updated discussions of new works by major American directors, and a new section on the rise of comic book movies and computer generated special effects, this is the most up to date resource for film history courses in the twenty-first century.
Star Wars Multiverse
Carmelo Esterrich Rutgers University Press, 2021 Library of Congress PN1995.9.S695E88 2021 | Dewey Decimal 791.4375
Star Wars may have started out as a film about a Manichean battle between good and evil, but as countless filmmakers, novelists, animators, fan artists and even cosplayers have taken the opportunity to play in the fictional world George Lucas created, it has expanded into something far greater, resulting in a richly layered and diverse Star Wars multiverse.
Drawing from a full range of Star Wars media, including comics, children’s books, fan films, and television shows like Clone Wars and The Mandalorian, Carmelo Esterrich explores how these stories set in a galaxy far far away reflect issues that hit closer to home. He examines what they have to say about political oppression, authoritarianism, colonialism, discrimination, xenophobia, and perpetual war. Yet he also investigates subtler ways in which the personal is political within the multiverse, including its articulations of gender and sexuality, its cultural hierarchies of language use, and its complex relationships between humans, droids and myriad species. This book demonstrates that the Star Wars multiverse is not just a stage for thrilling interstellar battles, but also an exciting space for interpretation and discovery.
While many film programs prepare students for the realities of Hollywood, comparatively little guidance is provided for the aspiring documentary filmmaker. Alan Rosenthal fills this void with Succeeding as a Documentary Filmmaker: A Guide to the Professional World. Unlike traditional manuals on documentary filmmaking, which focus primarily on the creation of films, this user-friendly volume draws upon real-world examples and the advice of experienced filmmakers to provide essential information about the nonfiction movie business.
From the basics of the current film business environment and how to navigate it, to tips on how to maximize distribution and sales for a finished film, Rosenthal leads novice filmmakers step-by-step through the professional arena of documentary moviemaking. Included here are recommendations for how to make the most of a film school education; the best ways to find financing for a film and the realities of working with a budget; how to develop a successful proposal for a project; the intricacies of working both as an independent filmmaker and for others; and insight into the often complicated arenas of contracts and markets. Throughout the volume, Rosenthal shares the expertise of actual filmmakers on such subjects as film school and starting a career; pitching and funding projects; contract negotiation; effective marketing; and commissioning editors and legal help. Not limiting himself to merely the documentary world, the author also offers valuable information and advice for filmmakers interested in other genres of nonfiction movies - such as industrial, public relations, travel, and educational films - to provide a truly comprehensive and one-of-a-kind guide for readers.
Packed with useful tips for novices, film students, and practitioners alike, Succeeding as a Documentary Filmmaker is an indispensable addition to the library of anyone involved in the world of nonfiction filmmaking.
In 1991, French public television held an amateur screenwriting contest. When Sabine Chalvon-Demersay, a French sociologist, examined the roughly 1,000 entries, she had hoped to analyze their differences. What she found, however, surprised her. Although the entrants covered nearly every social demographic, their screenplays presented similar characters in similar situations confronting similar problems.
The time of crisis presented by the amateur writers was not one of war, famine, or disease—it was the millennial dilemma of representation. In a world plagued by alienation, individualization, and a lack of mobility, how can members of a society combat their declining senses of self?
Although the contestants wrote about life in France, their concerns and struggles have a distinctly universal ring. A lucid, witty writer, Chalvon-Demersay offers a clear, if still developing, photograph of the contemporary imagination.
Traditions in World Cinema
Badley, Linda R Rutgers University Press, 2006 Library of Congress PN1994.T683 2006 | Dewey Decimal 791.43
Traditions in World Cinema brings together a colorful and wide ranging collection of world cinematic traditions—national, regional, and global—all of which are in need of introduction, investigation and, in some cases, critical reassessment. The movements described range from well-known traditions such as German expressionism, Italian neorealism, French, British, and Czech new wave, and new Hollywood cinema to those of emerging significance, such as Danish Dogma, postcommunist cinema, Brazilian post–Cinema Novo, new Argentine cinema, pre-independence African film traditions, Israeli persecution films, new Iranian cinema, Hindi film songs, Chinese wenyi pian melodrama, Japanese horror, and global found-footage cinema.
The essays, all written by recognized experts in the field, are jargon free and accessible to both general readers and students. In addition, each chapter is followed by a list of suggested films and readings, offering readers pathways to further viewing and study.
Bringing fresh insights to those movements that have provided significant and noteworthy alternatives to Hollywood, this book is an essential introduction to the rich diversity of world cinema.
Rebecca Bell-Metereau Rutgers University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PN1995.9.T684B45 2019 | Dewey Decimal 791.43653
2019 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Transgender Cinema gives readers the big picture of how trans people have been depicted on screen. Beginning with a history of trans tropes in classic Hollywood cinema, from comic drag scenes in Chaplin’s The Masquerader to Garbo’s androgynous Queen Christina, and from psycho killer queers to The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s outrageous queen, it examines a plethora of trans portrayals that subsequently emerged from varied media outlets, including documentary films, television serials, and world cinema. Along the way, it analyzes milestones in trans representation, like The Crying Game,Boys Don’t Cry, Hedwig and the Angry Inch,and A Fantastic Woman.
As it traces the evolution of trans people onscreen, Transgender Cinema also considers the ongoing controversies sparked by these movies and series both within LGBTQ communities and beyond. Ultimately it reveals how film and television have shaped not only how the general public sees trans people, but also how trans people see themselves.
Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, All about My Mother, Anak, Austin Unbound, Becoming Chaz, The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros, Boy I Am, Boy Meets Girl, Boys Don’t Cry, The Brandon Teena Story, A Busy Day, Call Me Malcolm, Carlotta, Change over Time, The Crying Game, Dallas Buyers Club, The Danish Gir, The Devil Is a Woman, Drunktown’s Finest, Facing Mirrors, A Fantastic Woman, 52 Tuesdays, Flesh, Girl Inside, A Girl like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, I Was a Male War Bride,Kate Bornstein Is a Queer and Pleasant Danger, Kumu Hina, La Cage aux Folles, Ma Vie en Rose (My Life in Pink) The Masquerader, Myra Breckinridge, Orlando, Paris Is Burning, Playing with Gender, Psycho, Queen Christina, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Saga of Anatahan, She’s a Boy I Knew, Silence of the Lambs, Some Like It Hot, Southern Comfort, Still Black: A Portrait of Black Transmen, Stonewall, The Tenant, Three Generations. Tomboy, Tootsie, Transamerica, Transparent, Trash, Whatever Suits You, A Woman.
If you have ever wanted to dig around in the archives for that perfect Sunday afternoon DVD and first turned to a witty weekly column in the New York Times, then you are already familiar with one of our nation’s premier film critics. If you love movies—and the writers who engage them—and just happen to have followed two of the highest circulating daily papers in the country, then you probably recognize the name of the intellectually dazzling writer who has been penning pieces on American and foreign films for over thirty years. And if you called the City of the Big Shoulders home in the 1970s or 1980s and relied on those trenchant, incisive reviews from the Chicago Reader and the Chicago Tribune to guide your moviegoing delight, then you know Dave Kehr.
When Movies Mattered presents a wide-ranging and illuminating selection of Kehr’s criticism from the Reader—most of which is reprinted here for the first time—including insightful discussions of film history and his controversial Top Ten lists. Long heralded by his peers for both his deep knowledge and incisive style, Kehr developed his approach to writing about film from the auteur criticism popular in the ’70s. Though Kehr’s criticism has never lost its intellectual edge, it’s still easily accessible to anyone who truly cares about movies. Never watered down and always razor sharp, it goes beyond wry observations to an acute examination of the particular stylistic qualities that define the work of individual directors and determine the meaning of individual films.
From current releases to important revivals, from classical Hollywood to foreign fare, Kehr has kept us spellbound with his insightful critical commentaries. When Movies Mattered will secure his place among our very best writers about all things cinematic.