They are shot on high-definition digital cameras—with computer-generated effects added in postproduction—and transmitted to theaters, websites, and video-on-demand networks worldwide. They are viewed on laptop, iPod, and cell phone screens. They are movies in the 21st century—the product of digital technologies that have revolutionized media production, content distribution, and the experience of moviegoing itself.
21st-Century Hollywood introduces readers to these global transformations and describes the decisive roles that Hollywood is playing in determining the digital future for world cinema. It offers clear, concise explanations of a major paradigm shift that continues to reshape our relationship to the moving image. Filled with numerous detailed examples, the book will both educate and entertain film students and movie fans alike.
Ben-Hur (1959), Jaws (1975), Avatar (2009), Wonder Woman (2017): the blockbuster movie has held a dominant position in American popular culture for decades. In American Blockbuster Charles R. Acland charts the origins, impact, and dynamics of this most visible, entertaining, and disparaged cultural form. Acland narrates how blockbusters emerged from Hollywood's turn to a hit-driven focus during the industry's business crisis in the 1950s. Movies became bigger, louder, and more spectacular. They also became prototypes for ideas and commodities associated with the future of technology and culture, accelerating the prominence of technological innovation in modern American life. Acland shows that blockbusters continue to be more than just movies; they are industrial strategies and complex cultural machines designed to normalize the ideologies of our technological age.
The American Poet at the Movies: A Critical History presents a series of case studies that shows how poets perceived the new technology of cinema as a rival threatening to their prestige, but also as a sister art deserving of encouragement. Each chapter places a key poem at the center and takes up the issues arising from the engagement of these two art forms, such as the poets' mixed feelings about living in a national culture dominated by visual media. Whether it is Hart Crane writing on Chaplin, Delmore Schwartz on Marilyn Monroe, Frank O'Hara on James Dean, or Louise Erdrich on John Wayne, poets have made sense of their own time by reference to film icons and values shared by all Americans thanks to the dream factory, Hollywood.
As an increasingly popular genre of modern poetry, and one that permits a unique view of this century's dominant art form, the movie poem has needed an explanatory book like this one. As cinema and television continue to wield extraordinary influence over the lives of all Americans, the efforts of poets to understand the visual culture will come to be appreciated as central to the task of modern and postmodern literature. This critical history is an important and timely contribution to the study of American literature and American institutions.
"One of the impressive things about the book is that while pursuing the seemingly narrow category of poems-about-movies, Goldstein is able to raise and illuminate virtually all the key issues surrounding the poetry of the period." - Roger Gilbert, Cornell University
". . . a discerning book, combining criticism and social history. It satisfies scholarly standards while appealing to general readers." - Philip French, coeditor of the Faber Book of Movie Verse
"In this work, [Goldstein] provides a new way of looking at American poets, both familiar and neglected. The approach is chronological and thematic, and films are seen from black, gay, Jewish, and feminist as well as middle-class white perspectives." Library Journal
Laurence Goldstein is editor of the Michigan Quarterly Review and Professor of English, University of Michigan.
Americans flocked to the movies in 1945 and 1946ùthe center point of the three-decade heyday of the studio system's sound era. Why?
Best Years is a panoramic study, shining light on this critical juncture in American historyand the history of American cinemaùthe end of World War II (1945) and a year of unprecedented success in Hollywood's "Golden Age" (1946). This unique time, the last year of war and the first full year of peace, provides a rich blend of cinema genres and typesùfrom the battlefront to the home front, the peace film to the woman's film, psychological drama, and the period's provocative new style, film noir.
Best Years focuses on films that were famous, infamous, forgotten, and unforgettable. Big budget A-films, road shows, and familiar series share the spotlight. From Bergman and Grant in Notorious to Abbott and Costello in Lost in a Harem, Charles Affron and Mirella Jona Affron examine why the bond between screen and viewer was perhaps never tighter. Paying special attention to the movie-going public in key cities--Atlanta, New York, Boston, Honolulu, and Chicago--this ambitious work takes us on a cinematic journey to recapture a magical time.
Lawrence of Arabia, The Miracle Worker, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Manchurian Candidate, Gypsy, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Longest Day, The Music Man, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, and more.
Most conventional film histories dismiss the early 1960s as a pallid era, a downtime between the heights of the classic studio system and the rise of New Hollywood directors like Scorsese and Altman in the 1970s. It seemed to be a moment when the movie industry was floundering as the popularity of television caused a downturn in cinema attendance. Cinema ’62 challenges these assumptions by making the bold claim that 1962 was a peak year for film, with a high standard of quality that has not been equaled since.
Stephen Farber and Michael McClellan show how 1962 saw great late-period work by classic Hollywood directors like John Ford, Howard Hawks, and John Huston, as well as stars like Bette Davis, James Stewart, Katharine Hepburn, and Barbara Stanwyck. Yet it was also a seminal year for talented young directors like Sidney Lumet, Sam Peckinpah, and Stanley Kubrick, not to mention rising stars like Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Peter O’Toole, and Omar Sharif. Above all, 1962—the year of To Kill a Mockingbird and The Manchurian Candidate—gave cinema attendees the kinds of adult, artistic, and uncompromising visions they would never see on television, including classics from Fellini, Bergman, and Kurosawa. Culminating in an analysis of the year’s Best Picture winner and top-grossing film, Lawrence of Arabia, and the factors that made that magnificent epic possible, Cinema ’62 makes a strong case that the movies peaked in the Kennedy era.
Filmmakers have often encouraged us to regard people with physical disabilities in terms of pity, awe, humor, or fearas "Others" who somehow deserve to be isolated from the rest of society. In this first history of the portrayal of physical disability in the movies, Martin Norden examines hundreds of Hollywood movies (and notable international ones), finds their place within mainstream society, and uncovers the movie industry's practices for maintaining the status quokeeping people with disabilities dependent and "in their place."
Norden offers a dazzling array of physically disabled characters who embody or break out of the stereotypes that have both influenced and been symptomatic of societys fluctuating relationship with its physically disabled minority. He shows us "sweet innocents" like Tiny Tim, "obsessive avengers" like Quasimodo, variations on the disabled veteran, and many others. He observes the arrival of a new set of stereotypes tied to the growth of science and technology in the 1970s and 1980s, and underscores movies like My Left Foot and The Waterdance that display a newfound sensitivity. Nordens in-depth knowledge of disability history makes for a particularly intelligent and sensitive approach to this long-overlooked issue in media studies.
"One of the sharpest and most productive analyses of our contemporaneity and the place of cinema within it and of our new historical relations as spectators to the imaginary universe on the movie screen. This is a study that will be of intense interest to film theorists and historians, cultural critics, mass media analysts, and anyone concerned with the complicated place of culture in our world today."--Dana Polan, English and Film Studies, University of Pittsburgh
How have modern advertising techniques, the widespread use of VCRs, conglomerate takeovers of studios and film archives, cable TV, and media coverage of the Vietnam war changed the ways we watch movies? And how, in turn, have those different habits and patterns of viewing changed the ways in which films address their viewers? Drawing on a wide variety of American and European films and on many theoretical models, Timothy Corrigan investigates what he calls "a cinema without walls," taking a close look at particular films in order to see how we watch them differently in the post-Vietnam era. He examines cult audiences, narrative structure, genre films (road movies, in particular), and contemporary politics as they engage new models of film making and viewing. He thus provides a rare, serious attempt to deal with contemporary movies. Corrigan discusses filmmakers from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, including Martin Scorsese, Raoul Ruiz, Michael Cimino, Alexander Kluge, Francis Ford Coppola, Stephen Frears, and Wim Wenders. He offers detailed analyses of films such as Platoon; Full Metal Jacket; 9-1/2 Weeks; The Singing Detective; Choose Me; After Hours; Badlands; The King of Comedy; Paris, Texas; and My Beautiful Laundrette. Orchestrating this diversity, Corrigan provides a critical basis for making sense of contemporary film culture and its major achievements.
They obsess over the nuances of a Douglas Sirk or Ingmar Bergman film; they revel in books such as François Truffaut's Hitchcock; they happily subscribe to the Sundance Channel—they are the rare breed known as cinephiles. Though much has been made of the classic era of cinephilia from the 1950s to the 1970s, Cinephilia documents the latest generation of cinephiles and their use of new technologies. With the advent of home theaters, digital recording devices, online film communities, cinephiles today pursue their dedication to film outside of institutional settings. A radical new history of film culture, Cinephilia breaks new ground for students and scholars alike.
Since the 1980s, a peculiar paradox has evolved in American film. Hollywood’s children have grown up, and the adults are looking and behaving more and more like children. In popular films such as Harry Potter, Toy Story, Pocahantas, Home Alone, and Jumanji, it is the children who are clever, savvy, and self-sufficient while the adults are often portrayed as bumbling and ineffective.
Is this transformation of children into "little adults" an invention of Hollywood or a product of changing cultural definitions more broadly? In Coining for Capital, Jyostna Kapur explores the evolution of the concept of childhood from its portrayal in the eighteenth century as a pure, innocent, and idyllic state—the opposite of adulthood—to its expression today as a mere variation of adulthood, complete with characteristics of sophistication, temptation, and corruption. Kapur argues that this change in definition is not a media effect, but rather a structural feature of a deeply consumer-driven society.
Providing a new and timely perspective on the current widespread alarm over the loss of childhood, Coining for Capital concludes that our present moment is in fact one of hope and despair. As children are fortunately shedding false definitions of proscribed innocence both in film and in life, they must now also learn to navigate a deeply inequitable, antagonistic, and consumer-driven society of which they are both a part and a target.
Although books on the comedies of the silent era abound, few have attempted to survey film comedy as a whole—its history and evolution, how the philosophical visions of its greatest artists and directors have shaped its traditions, and how these visions have informed both the meaning and manner of their work.
Blending information with interpretation, description with analysis, Mast traces the development of screen comedy from the first crude efforts of Edison and Lumière to the subtlety and psychological complexity of Annie Hall. As he guides the reader through detailed discussions of specific films, Mast reveals the structures, the values, and the cinematic techniques which have appeared and reappeared in comic cinema.
The second edition of The Comic Mind treats the comic developments of the 1970s in terms of the traditions of film comedy set forth in the first edition, including a discussion of the evolution of Jacques Tati and the emergence of Mel Brooks and Woody Allen as the two greatest American comic stylists of the seventies.
"The most comprehensive study of film comedy yet written in English. . . .The book's extensive index with references to companies from which 16mm prints of many of the cited films may be rented will be of great value to the film teacher and audiovisual librarian."—Choice
Dancing in the Movies
Robert Boswell University of Iowa Press, 1986 Library of Congress PS3552.O8126D3 1986 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Encompassing a vast gamut of personalities, situations, and emotions, these stories penetrate our motives for doing what is right. Often there is no right or wrong, and the characters' motives for the choices they make are as diverse as the childhood memories they cherish and abhor. In the end, this book probes individual impulse and responsibility, creating stories so unerringly authentic that they become—irrepressibly—part of everyone who reads them.
"The Darkness of Love" narrates three days in the life of a black policeman, distressed by his inner fears of racism and irresistibly attracted by his wife's sister. In "Dancing in the Movies" a college student returns to his hometown, where he finds his girlfriend—a heroin addict—and tries to convince her to overcome her habit. There are stories of men at war, of lovers trying to begin a relationship, of others trying to sustain their love. Each story revolves around characters with a choice to make, and Robert Boswell renders these characters in all of their fine, vulnerable, and relentless attributes.
With this prize-winning collection, Boswell proves himself a mature craftsperson, weaving stories both poignant and profound. Each story is a vision of life, alternately dark and joyous, gritty and hopeful.
As the father of the hardboiled detective genre, Dashiell Hammett had a huge influence on Hollywood. Yet, it is easy to forget how adaptable Hammett’s work was, fitting into a variety of genres and inspiring generations of filmmakers.
Dashiell Hammett and the Movies offers the first comprehensive look at Hammett’s broad oeuvre and how it was adapted into films from the 1930s all the way into the 1990s. Film scholar William H. Mooney reveals the wide range of films crafted from the same Hammett novels, as when The Maltese Falcon was filmed first as a pre-Code sexploitation movie, then as a Bette Davis screwball comedy, and finally as the Humphrey Bogart classic. He also considers how Hammett rose to Hollywood fame not through the genre most associated with him, but through a much fizzier concoction, the witty murder mystery The Thin Man. To demonstrate the hold Hammett still has over contemporary filmmakers, the book culminates in an examination of the Coen brothers’ pastiche Miller’s Crossing.
Mooney not only provides us with an in-depth analysis of Hammett adaptations, he also chronicles how Hollywood enabled the author’s own rise to stardom, complete with a celebrity romance and a carefully crafted public persona. Giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the complex power relationships, cultural contexts, and production concerns involved in bringing Hammett’s work from the page to the screen, Dashiell Hammett and the Movies offers a fresh take on a literary titan.
Double Exposure examines the role of film in shaping social psychology’s landmark postwar experiments. We are told that most of us will inflict electric shocks on a fellow citizen when ordered to do so. Act as a brutal prison guard when we put on a uniform. Walk on by when we see a stranger in need. But there is more to the story. Documentaries that investigators claimed as evidence were central to capturing the public imagination. Did they provide an alibi for twentieth century humanity? Examining the dramaturgy, staging and filming of these experiments, including Milgram's Obedience Experiments, the Stanford Prison Experiment and many more, Double Exposure recovers a new set of narratives.
"One of the most readable books on early cinema I have ever encountered. . . . Rabinovitz ably brings together a wealth of information about the exciting era of social change that marked the beginning of U.S. cinema."
--Gaylyn Studlar, atuhor of This Mad Masquerade: Stardom and Masculinity in the Jazz Age
The period from the 1880s until the 1920s saw the making of a consumer society, the inception of the technological, economic, and social landscape in which we currently live. Cinema played a key role in the changing urban landscape. For working-class women, it became a refuge from the factory. For middle-class women, it presented a new language of sexual danger and pleasure. Women found greater freedom in big cities, entering the workforce in record numbers and moving about unchaperoned in public spaces. Turn-of-the-century Chicago surpassed even New York as a proving ground for pleasure and education, attracting women workers at three times the national rate. Using Chicago as a model, Lauren Rabinovitz analyzes the rich interplay among demographic, visual, historical, and theoretical materials of the period. She skillfully links cinema theory and women's studies for a fuller understanding of cultural history. She also demonstrates how cinema dramatically affected social conventions, ultimately shaping modern codes of masculinity and feminity.
For this edition of her classic study of the feminine role in film, Molly Haskell has written a new chapter addressing recent developments in the appearance and perception of women in the movies.
"An incisive, exceedingly thoughtful look at the distorted lens through which Hollywood has historically viewed women. It is a valuable contribution not just of film criticism but to a society in which the vital role of women is just beginning to emerge."—Christian Science Monitor
"Haskell is interested in women—how they are used in movies, how they use movies, and how the parts they play function as projections and verifications of our myths about women's lot and woman's psyche and even, lately, women's lib."—Jane Kramer, Village Voice
"In examining the goddesses worshipped by an entire nation, Molly Haskell reveals a good deal about our national character and our most cherished sexual myths. . . . Concerned with the deeply ingrained belief of women's inferiority, she analyzes movies as a social product as well as a social arbiter, and she effectively demonstrates how women are encouraged to impose limitations on themselves by fashioning those selves after flickering shadows in a darkened auditorium—sexual creatures who possess neither ability nor ambition beyond their bodies. . . . Both as an examination of film and as sociology, From Reverence to Rape is excellent."—Harriet Kriegel, The Nation
A revolutionary classic of feminist cinema criticism, Molly Haskell’s From Reverence to Rape remains as insightful, searing, and relevant as it was the day it was first published. Ranging across time and genres from the golden age of Hollywood to films of the late twentieth century, Haskell analyzes images of women in movies, the relationship between these images and the status of women in society, the stars who fit these images or defied them, and the attitudes of their directors. This new edition features both a new foreword by New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis and a new introduction from the author that discusses the book’s reception and the evolution of her views.
Cinema has long played a major role in the formation of community among marginalized groups, and this book details that process for gay men in Sydney, Australia from the 1950s to the present. Scott McKinnon builds the book from a variety of sources, including film reviews, media reports, personal memoirs, oral histories, and a striking range of films, all deployed to answer the question of understanding cinema-going as a moment of connection to community and identity—how the experience of seeing these films and being part of an audience helped to build a community among the gay men of Sydney in the period.
Steven Spielberg once said, "I like ideas, especially movie ideas, that you can hold in your hand. If a person can tell me the idea in twenty-five words or less, it’s going to make a pretty good movie." Spielberg's comment embodies the essence of the high concept film, which can be condensed into one simple sentence that inspires marketing campaigns, lures audiences, and separates success from failure at the box office. This pioneering study explores the development and dominance of the high concept movie within commercial Hollywood filmmaking since the late 1970s. Justin Wyatt describes how box office success, always important in Hollywood, became paramount in the era in which major film studios passed into the hands of media conglomerates concerned more with the economics of filmmaking than aesthetics. In particular, he shows how high concept films became fully integrated with their marketing, so that a single phrase ("Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water . . .") could sell the movie to studio executives and provide copy for massive advertising campaigns; a single image or a theme song could instantly remind potential audience members of the movie, and tie-in merchandise could generate millions of dollars in additional income.
The indispensable sage, fierce enemy, silent sidekick: the role of Native Americans in film has been largely confined to identities defined by the “white” perspective. Many studies have analyzed these simplistic stereotypes of Native American cultures in film, but few have looked beyond the Hollywood Western for further examples. Distinguished film scholar Edward Buscombe offers here an incisive study that examines cinematic depictions of Native Americans from a global perspective.
Buscombe opens with a historical survey of American Westerns and their controversial portrayals of Native Americans: the wild redmen of nineteenth-century Wild West shows, the more sympathetic depictions of Native Americans in early Westerns, and the shift in the American film industry in the 1920s to hostile characterizations of Indians. Questioning the implicit assumptions of prevailing critiques, Buscombe looks abroad to reveal a distinctly different portrait of Native Americans. He focuses on the lesser known Westerns made in Germany—such as East Germany’s Indianerfilme, in which Native Americans were Third World freedom fighters battling against Yankee imperialists—as well as the films based on the novels of nineteenth-century German writer Karl May. These alternative portrayals of Native Americans offer a vastly different view of their cultural position in American society.
Buscombe offers nothing less than a wholly original and readable account of the cultural images of Native Americans through history andaround the globe, revealing new and complex issues in our understanding of how oppressed peoples have been represented in mass culture.
Journalism in the Movies
Matthew C. Ehrlich University of Illinois Press, 2006 Library of Congress PN1995.9.J6E38 2004 | Dewey Decimal 791.4360704
From cynical portrayals like The Front Page to the nuanced complexity of All the President’s Men, and The Insider, movies about journalists and journalism have been a go-to film genre since the medium's early days. Often depicted as disrespectful, hard-drinking, scandal-mongering misfits, journalists also receive Hollywood's frequent respect as an essential part of American life.
Matthew C. Ehrlich tells the story of how Hollywood has treated American journalism. Ehrlich argues that films have relentlessly played off the image of the journalist as someone who sees through lies and hypocrisy, sticks up for the little guy, and serves democracy. He also delves into the genre's always-evolving myths and dualisms to analyze the tensions—hero and oppressor, objectivity and subjectivity, truth and falsehood—that allow journalism films to examine conflicts in society at large.
Kafka Goes to the Movies
Hanns Zischler University of Chicago Press, 2002 Library of Congress PT2621.A26Z37 2003 | Dewey Decimal 833.912
"Went to the movies. Wept. Matchless entertainment." So wrote Franz Kafka in one of his diaries, giving us but one hint of his little-known passion for the cinema. Until now, Kafka aficionados have been left to speculate about which films moved Kafka so powerfully and how those films might have influenced his writing. With Kafka Goes to the Movies, German actor and film director Hanns Zischler draws on years of detective work to provide the first account of Kafka's moviegoing life.
Since many of Kafka's visits to the cinema occurred during bachelor trips with Max Brod, Zischler's research took him not only to Kafka's native Prague but to film archives in Munich, Milan, and Paris. Matching Kafka's cinematic references to reviews and stills from daily papers, Zischler hunted down rare films in collections all across Europe. A labor of love, then, by a true man of the cinema, Kafka Goes to the Movies brims with discoveries about the pioneering years of European film. With a wealth of illustrations, including reproductions of movie posters and other rare materials, Zischler opens a fascinating window onto movies that have been long forgotten or assumed lost.
But the real highlights of the book are those about Kafka himself. Long considered one of the most enigmatic figures in literature, the Kafka that emerges in this work is strikingly human. Kafka Goes to the Movies offers an absorbing look at a witty, passionate, and indulgently curious writer, one who discovered and used the cinema as a place of enjoyment and escape, as a medium for the ambivalent encounter with modern life, and as a filter for the changing world around him.
Titanic. Two Moon Junction. A Night in Heaven. Sirens. Henry & June. 9 Songs. Lady Chatterley. And more. A new "body guy" genre has emerged in film during the last twenty years-a working-class man of the earth or bohemian artist awakens and fulfills the sexuality of a beautiful, intelligent woman frequently married or engaged to a sexually incompetent, educated, upper-class man. This body guy exhibits a masterful athletic, penile-centered sexual performance that enlivens and transforms the previously discontented woman's life.
Peter Lehman and Susan Hunt relate a host of wide-ranging films to a literary tradition dating back to D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover and an emerging body culture of our time. Through an engaging and compelling narrative, they argue that the hero's body, lovemaking style, and penis-revealed through extensive male nudity-celebrate conformity to norms of masculinity and male sexuality. Simultaneously, these films denigrate the vital, creative, erotic world of the mind. Just when women began to successfully compete with men in the workplace, these movies, if you will, unzip the penis as the one thing women do not have but want and need for their fulfillment.
But Lehman and Hunt also find signs of a yearning for alternative forms of sexual and erotic pleasure in film, embracing diverse bodies and vibrant minds. Lady Chatterley's Legacy in the Movies shows how filmmakers, spectators, and all of us can be empowered to dethrone the body guy, his privileged body, and preferred style of lovemaking, replacing it with a wide range of alternatives.
From Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal to Monty Python, an investigation into how eight key films have shaped our understanding of the medieval world.
In The Middle Ages and the Movies, eminent historian Robert Bartlett takes a fresh, cogent look at how our view of medieval history has been shaped by eight significant films of the twentieth century. The book ranges from the concoction of sex and nationalism in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, to Fritz Lang’s silent epic Siegfried, the art-house classic The Seventh Seal, and the epic historical drama El Cid. Bartlett examines the historical accuracy of these films, as well as other salient aspects—how was Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose translated from page to screen? Why is Monty Python and the Holy Grail funny? And how was Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky shaped by the Stalinist tyranny under which it was filmed?
As movies took the country by storm in the early twentieth century, Americans argued fiercely about whether municipal or state authorities should step in to control what people could watch when they went to movie theaters, which seemed to be springing up on every corner. Many who opposed the governmental regulation of film conceded that some entity—boards populated by trusted civic leaders, for example—needed to safeguard the public good. The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures (NB), a civic group founded in New York City in 1909, emerged as a national cultural chaperon well suited to protect this emerging form of expression from state incursions. Using the National Board’s extensive files, Monitoring the Movies offers the first full-length study of the NB and its campaign against motion-picture censorship. Jennifer Fronc traces the NB’s Progressive-era founding in New York; its evolving set of “standards” for directors, producers, municipal officers, and citizens; its “city plan,” which called on citizens to report screenings of condemned movies to local officials; and the spread of the NB’s influence into the urban South. Ultimately, Monitoring the Movies shows how Americans grappled with the issues that arose alongside the powerful new medium of film: the extent of the right to produce and consume images and the proper scope of government control over what citizens can see and show.
During the early era of cinema, moviegoers turned to women editors and writers for the latest on everyone's favorite stars, films, and filmmakers. Richard Abel returns these women to film history with an anthology of reviews, articles, and other works. Drawn from newspapers of the time, the selections show how columnists like Kitty Kelly, Mae Tinee, Louella Parsons, and Genevieve Harris wrote directly to female readers. They also profiled women working in jobs like scenario writer and film editor and noted the industry's willingness to hire women. Sharp wit and frank opinions entertained and informed a wide readership hungry for news about the movies but also about women on both sides of the camera. Abel supplements the texts with hard-to-find biographical information and provides context on the newspapers and silent-era movie industry as well as on the professionals and films highlighted by these writers.
An invaluable collection of rare archival sources, Movie Mavens reveals women's essential contribution to the creation of American film culture.
Movies & Mass Culture
Belton, John Rutgers University Press, 1995 Library of Congress PN1995.9.S6M68 1996 | Dewey Decimal 302.23430973
Movies and Mass Culture looks at the ways in which American identity shapes and is shaped by motion pictures. Movies serve not only as texts that document who we think we are or were, but they also reflect changes in our self-image, tracing the transformation from one kind of America to another. They assist audiences in negotiating major changes in identity, carrying them across difficult periods of cultural transition so that a more or less coherent national identity again emerges. Films thus help their viewers to span the gaps and fissures that cultural changes cause, allowing passage over any disjointedness that in some way might disrupt our sense of what we believe in as a nation. This volume examines this process, illustrating the ways in which films aided America's transition from an agrarian to an industrial economy; from a nation of producers to one of consumers; and from a community of individuals to a mass society.
Throughout the silent-feature era, American artists and intellectuals routinely described cinema as a force of global communion, a universal language promoting mutual understanding and harmonious coexistence amongst disparate groups of people. In the early 1920s, film-industry leaders began to espouse this utopian view, in order to claim for motion pictures an essentially uplifting social function. The Movies as a World Force examines the body of writing in which this understanding of cinema emerged and explores how it shaped particular silent films and their marketing campaigns. The utopian and universalist view of cinema, the book shows, represents a synthesis of New Age spirituality and the new liberalism. It provided a framework for the first official, written histories of American cinema and persisted as an advertising trope, even after the transition to sound made movies reliant on specific national languages.
Who decides what movies we should see? In some of the nation's largest cities motion pictures are screened by review boards meeting in secret. Their files are seldom open to inspection, and they often wield a nearly absolute power over what the public is shown. This is the story of motion-picture censorship in America. It begins in 1915 when the Supreme Court denied freedom of the press to movies. In a fast-moving account of court cases and behind-the-scenes skirmishes, Ira Carmen follows the history of movie censorship to the present day. He shows how very recent court decisions reflect new thinking on censorship and the nature of obscenity. Today, forty-seven states and countless cities and towns have obscenity laws on their statute books. Are the censors stout guardians of the public morality . . . or witch-hunters? In a series of dramatic interviews with film censors in major cities, Carmen captures the flavor of the struggle between censor and exhibitor. The interviews reveal how censors think—what kinds of films they suppress and for what reasons, how they feel about foreign films as opposed to American, how they are influenced by court decisions, and how well they abide by those decisions. This pioneering book reveals what effect court decisions really have at the grassroots level. It examines the role of the constitution in the censorship debate and asks how effective the American political and judicial systems have been in coping with the problem. Finally, it offers a challenging analysis of what kind of censorship, if any, is needed in a free society.
John Fair and David Chapman tell the story of how filmmakers use and manipulate the appearance and performances of muscular men and women to enhance the appeal of their productions. The authors show how this practice, deeply rooted in western epistemological traditions, evolved from the art of photography through magic lantern and stage shows into the motion picture industry, arguing that the sight of muscles in action induced a higher degree of viewer entertainment. From Eugen Sandow to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, muscular actors appear capable of performing the miraculous, and with the aid of stuntmen and filming contrivances, they do. By such means, muscles are used to perfect the art of illusion, inherent in movie-making from its earliest days.
After the Supreme Court's rejection of legal movie censorship in the 1950s and the demise of the Hays Production Code in the 1960s, various public groups have emerged as media watch dogs, replacing nearly all other sources of control. Responding to explicit violence against women, negative stereotypes of gay and lesbian images, "racist" representations, and "blasphemous" interpretations of the Bible, groups from bot Left and Right have staged protests in front of theaters and boycotted movie studios. The New Censors shows how groups on the Left empowered by social movements in the 1960s, and groups on the Right propelled by the successes of the New Christian Right and "The Moral Majority," have used similar strategies in attempting to control movie content.
The New Censors, the first study of the complex ways movies have been shaped in the years since the demise of the Code, covers a wide range of movies, protests, and government actions. From feminists against "Dressed to Kill," to religious campaigns against "The Last Temptation of Christ," to homosexuals ire over "Basic Instinct," Lyons links a study of public outrage against movies to the broader culture wars over "family values," pornography, and various lifestyle issues.
This book provides a contemporary history of controversial movies and a timely discussion of how cultural politics continues to affect the movie industry.
From the 1905 opening of the wildly popular, eponymous Nickelodeon in the city's downtown to the subsequent outgrowth of nickel theaters in nearly all of its neighborhoods, Pittsburgh proved to be perfect for the movies. Its urban industrial environment was a melting pot of ethnic, economic, and cultural forces—a “wellspring” for the development of movie culture—and nickelodeons offered citizens an inexpensive respite and handy escape from the harsh realities of the industrial world. Nickelodeon City provides a detailed view inside the city's early film trade, with insights into the politics and business dealings of the burgeoning industry. Drawing from the pages of the Pittsburgh Moving Picture Bulletin, the first known regional trade journal for the movie business, Michael Aronson profiles the major promoters in Pittsburgh, as well as many lesser-known ordinary theater owners, suppliers, and patrons. He examines early film promotion, distribution, and exhibition, and reveals the earliest forms of state censorship and the ensuing political lobbying and manipulation attempted by members of the movie trade. Aronson also explores the emergence of local exhibitor-based cinema, in which the exhibitor assumed control of the content and production of film, blurring the lines between production, consumption, and local and mass media. Nickelodeon City offers a fascinating and intimate view of a city and the socioeconomic factors that allowed an infant film industry to blossom, as well as the unique cultural fabric and neighborhood ties that kept nickelodeons prospering even after Hollywood took the industry by storm.
Even in Hollywood’s world of blockbusters and special effects, there continues to be interest in “quieter” adaptations based on the works of writers of other eras, especially the classic novels of nineteenth-century women. Those novels emphasize strong female protagonists, fine language, and sensitivity to social nuances.
This volume’s twelve essays offer critical insights not only into the visions of the novelist and the filmmaker but also into contemporary cultural concerns. The adaptations of novels by eight popular writers are analyzied: Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louisa May Alcott, Ouida, and George Eliot.
Was it an omen? Richard Nixon and the film industry arrived in Southern California in the same year, 1913. As Mark Feeney relates in this unusual and unusually absorbing book, Nixon and the movies have shared a long and complex history. Some of that history—the president's multiple screenings of Patton before and during the invasion of Cambodia, or Oliver Stone's Nixon—is well known. Yet much more is not. How many are aware, for example, that Nixon was an enthusiastic filmgoer who watched more than five hundred movies during his presidency?
Nixon at the Movies takes a new and often revelatory approach to looking at Nixon's career—and Hollywood's. From the obvious (All the President's Men) to the less so (Elvis Presley movies and Nixon's relationship to '60s youth culture) to several onscreen "alternate" Nixons (Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity, Tony Curtis in The Sweet Smell of Success, Gene Hackman in The Conversation), Feeney sees aspects of Nixon's character, and the nation's, refracted and reimagined in film. Conversely, Feeney argues that Nixon can help us see the movies in a new light, making a strong case for Nixon as the movies' tutelary deity during the early '70s, playing a role in Hollywood's Silver Age comparable to FDR's during its Golden Age.
Stylishly written and bracingly eclectic, Nixon at the Movies draws on biography, politics, cultural history, and film criticism to show just how deeply in the twentieth-century American grain lies the pair of seemingly incongruous nouns in its title. As Nixon once remarked to Garry Wills: "Isn't that a hell of a thing, that the fate of a great country can depend on camera angles?"
The movie industry is changing rapidly, due in part to the adoption of digital technologies. Distributors now send films to theaters electronically. Consumers can purchase or rent movies instantly online and then watch them on their high-definition televisions, their laptops, or even their cell phones. Meanwhile, social media technologies allow independent filmmakers to raise money and sell their movies directly to the public. All of these changes contribute to an “on-demand culture,” a shift that is radically altering film culture and contributing to a much more personalized viewing experience.
Chuck Tryon offers a compelling introduction to a world in which movies have become digital files. He navigates the complexities of digital delivery to show how new modes of access—online streaming services like YouTube or Netflix, digital downloads at iTunes, the popular Redbox DVD kiosks in grocery stores, and movie theaters offering digital projection of such 3-D movies as Avatar—are redefining how audiences obtain and consume motion picture entertainment. Tryon also tracks the reinvention of independent movies and film festivals by enterprising artists who have built their own fundraising and distribution models online.
Unique in its focus on the effects of digital technologies on movie distribution, On-Demand Culture offers a corrective to address the rapid changes in the film industry now that movies are available at the click of a button.
Martin Ritt has been hailed as the United States’s greatest maker of social films. From No Down Payment early in his career to Stanley and Iris, his last production, he delineated the nuances of American society. In between were other social statements such as Hud, Sounder, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, Norma Rae, and The Great White Hope.
Plays, Movies, and Critics
Jody McAuliffe, ed. Duke University Press, 1993 Library of Congress PN2020.P57 1993 | Dewey Decimal 792
This exceptional collection explores the mutual concerns of dramatic theater, film, and those who comment on them. Plays, Movies, and Critics opens with an original play by Don DeLillo. In the form of an interview, DeLillo's short play works as a kind of paradigm of the theatrical or cinematic event and serves as a keynote for the volume. DeLillo's interview play is accompanied in this collection by interviews with theater director Roberta Levitow, Martin Scorsese, and film/theater critic Stanley Kauffmann. Other contributions include a critical look at the current American theater scene, analyses of the place of politics in the careers of G. B. Shaw and Luigi Pirandello, a compelling reading of Chekhov's "The Seagull", a detailed inquiry into the obsessions that energize the works of Sam Shepard, provocative reinterpretations of the films Mean Streets and The Sheltering Sky, and a translation of André Bazin's important piece on theology and film.
Contributors. André Bazin, Robert Brustein, Bert Cardullo, Anthony DeCurtis, Don DeLillo, Jesse Ward Engdhal, Richard Gilman, Jim Hosney, Mame Hunt, Jonathan Kalb, Stanley Kauffmann, Jody McAuliffe, Mary Ann Frese Witt, Jacquelyn Wollman, David Wyatt
From Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade to Jake Gittes, private eyes have made for some of the most memorable characters in cinema. We often view these detectives as lone wolves who confront and try to make sense of a violent and chaotic modern world. Bran Nicol challenges this stereotype in The Private Eye and offers a fresh take on this iconic character and the film noir genre.
Nicol traces the history of private eye movies from the influential film noirs of the 1940s to 1970s neonoir cinema, whose slow and brilliant decline gave way to the fading of detectives into movie mythology today. Analyzing a number of classic films—including The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Chinatown, and The Long Goodbye—he reveals that while these movies are ostensibly thrillers, they are actually occupied by issues of work and love. The private eye is not a romantic hero, Nicol argues, but a figure who investigates the concealments of others at the expense of his own private life. Combining a lucid introduction to an underexplored tradition in movie history with a new approach to the detective in film, this book casts new light on the private worlds of the private eye.
Mixing film history with social history, Reel Patriotism examines the role played by the American film industry during World War I and the effects of the industry’s pragmatic patriotism in the decade following the war. Looking at such films as Joan the Woman and Wings and at the war-time activities of Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin, film distributors, including George Kleine, and the National Association of the Motion Picture Industry, this book shows how heavily publicized gestures of patriotism benefited the reputation and profits of the movie business.
Leslie Midkiff DeBauche shows how the United States government’s need to garner public support for the war, conserve food, raise money, and enlist soldiers was met by the film industry. Throughout the nineteen months of American involvement in World War I, film studios supported the war effort through the production of short instructional films, public speaking activities of movie stars, the civic forum provided by movie theaters, and the National Association of the Motion Picture Industry’s provision of administrative personnel to work directly with government agencies. While feature films about the war itself never dominated the release schedules of film distributors, they did become a staple film industry offering throughout the late 1910s and 1920s.
The film industry had much to gain, DeBauche demonstrates, from working closely with the U.S. government. Though the war posed a direct challenge to the conduct of business as usual, the industry successfully weathered the war years. After the war, film producers, distributors, and exhibitors were able to capitalize on the good will of the movie-goer and the government that the industry’s war work created. It provided a buffer against national censorship when movie stars became embroiled in scandal, and it served as a selling point in the 1920s when major film companies began to trade their stock on Wall Street.
For over a century, movies have played an important role in our lives, entertaining us, often provoking conversation and debate. Now, with the rise of digital cinema, audiences often encounter movies outside the theater and even outside the home. Traditional distribution models are challenged by new media entrepreneurs and independent film makers, usergenerated video, film blogs, mashups, downloads, and other expanding networks.
Reinventing Cinema examines film culture at the turn of this century, at the precise moment when digital media are altering our historical relationship with the movies. Spanning multiple disciplines, Chuck Tryon addresses the interaction between production, distribution, and reception of films, television, and other new and emerging media.Through close readings of trade publications, DVD extras, public lectures by new media leaders, movie blogs, and YouTube videos, Tryon navigates the shift to digital cinema and examines how it is altering film and popular culture.
Audiences love the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, but beyond the red carpet and behind the velvet curtain exists a legion of individuals who make showbiz work: agents. Whether literary, talent, or indie film, agents are behind the scenes brokering power, handling mediation, and doing the deal-making that keeps Hollywood spinning. In Representing Talent, Violaine Roussel explores the little-known but decisive work of agents, turning the spotlight on how they help produce popular culture.
The book takes readers behind the scenes to observe the day-to-day activities of agents, revealing their influence on artistic careers and the prospects of Hollywood’s forthcoming projects. Agents are crucial to understanding how creative and economic power are intertwined in Hollywood today. They play a key role in the process by which artistic worth and economic value are evaluated and attributed to people and projects. Roussel’s fieldwork examines what “having relationships” really means for agents, and how they perform the relationship work that’s at the heart of their professional existence and success. Representing Talent helps us to understand the players behind the definition of entertainment itself, as well as behind its current transformations.
In Screen Traffic, Charles R. Acland examines how, since the mid-1980s, the U.S. commercial movie business has altered conceptions of moviegoing both within the industry and among audiences. He shows how studios, in their increasing reliance on revenues from international audiences and from the ancillary markets of television, videotape, DVD, and pay-per-view, have cultivated an understanding of their commodities as mutating global products. Consequently, the cultural practice of moviegoing has changed significantly, as has the place of the cinema in relation to other sites of leisure.
Integrating film and cultural theory with close analysis of promotional materials, entertainment news, trade publications, and economic reports, Acland presents an array of evidence for the new understanding of movies and moviegoing that has developed within popular culture and the entertainment industry. In particular, he dissects a key development: the rise of the megaplex, characterized by large auditoriums, plentiful screens, and consumer activities other than film viewing. He traces its genesis from the re-entry of studios into the movie exhibition business in 1986 through 1998, when reports of the economic destabilization of exhibition began to surface, just as the rise of so-called e-cinema signaled another wave of change. Documenting the current tendency toward an accelerated cinema culture, one that appears to arrive simultaneously for everyone, everywhere, Screen Traffic unearths and critiques the corporate and cultural forces contributing to the “felt internationalism” of our global era.
Whitewashing the Movies addresses the popular practice of excluding Asian actors from playing Asian characters in film. Media activists and critics have denounced contemporary decisions to cast White actors to play Asians and Asian Americans in movies such as Ghost in the Shell and Aloha. The purpose of this book is to apply the concept of “whitewashing” in stories that privilege White identities at the expense of Asian/American stories and characters. To understand whitewashing across various contexts, the book analyzes films produced in Hollywood, Asian American independent production, and US-China co-productions. Through the analysis, the book examines the ways in which whitewashing matters in the project of Whiteness and White racial hegemony. The book contributes to contemporary understanding of mediated representations of race by theorizing whitewashing, contributing to studies of Whiteness in media studies, and producing a counter-imagination of Asian/American representation in Asian-centered stories.
In 1973, a sweet-tempered, ferociously imaginative ten-year-old boy named Patrick Horrigan saw the TV premiere of the film version of Hello, Dolly! starring Barbra Streisand. His life would never be the same. Widescreen Dreams: Growing Up Gay at the Movies traces Horrigan’s development from childhood to gay male adulthood through a series of visceral encounters with an unexpected handful of Hollywood movies from the 1960s and 1970s: Hello Dolly!, The Sound of Music, The Poseidon Adventure, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Wiz.