9780199753420

The Cultures of American Film

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780199753420

  • ISBN10:

    0199753423

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 10/1/2014
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Summary

Since its inception in 1894, American film has developed many genres and created many important directors and stars, while maintaining an intensely loyal audience. How has this incredibly popular medium managed to stay so relevant for more than a century?

The Cultures of American Film's chronological organization provides a historical overview of film, while its analytical approach addresses form and content: how films work and how we respond to them. Placing films in their cultural contexts, it examines and analyzes the ways in which film works on an individual level and within society.

The text provides close analyses of films from the nineteenth century to present day, discusses how and why films are made, and investigates the responses that films require and we desire. Suggestions for further reading and critical analysis appear at the end of each chapter.

Author Biography


Robert P. Kolker is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Maryland and teaches in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies Program at the University of Virginia. He is the author of A Cinema of Loneliness, and editor of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho: A Casebook, Kubrick's 2001: New Essays, and the Oxford Handbook of Film and Media Studies, all published by Oxford University Press.

Table of Contents


PREFACE


INTRODUCTION
Definitions of Culture
Film Form
The Form of This Book
Methodology
A Word about Directors


Chapter 1. IN THE BEGINNING (1893-1903)
- Uncle Josh
- McKinley
- The Real Thing
Origins in Photography
Edison
Show and Tell and Show More
Early Film Form
Manufacturing Film
Of Time and Space
The Great Train Robbery
Modernity

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 2. THE STUDIOS AND THE STARS (1907-1928)
The Studios
- How the Individual Studios Came into Being
- Universal
- United Artists
- Paramount
- Warner Bros.
- MGM
- Fox
- Columbia
- RKO
The Immigrant's Legacy
The Producer System
Stars
- Star and Celebrity
- Flappers and Vamps
- The Stories We Tell About Stars

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 3. THE HOLLYWOOD STYLE AND THE PRODUCTION CODE (1903-1922)
Filmmaking as an Industry
The Classical Hollywood Style
- The Shot
- Editing
- Shot-reverse Shot
- Narrative Resolution
- Genres
The Code
- The Thirteen Points

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 4. THE DISTRESSING LEGACY OF D. W. GRIFFITH (1908-1925)
Beginnings
- The Trust
- W. K. L. Dickson
Griffith at Biograph
- Pantomime
- Naturalism
- Parallel Editing and Screen Space
- Griffith's Stories and the Critics
- The Long Film
The Birth of a Nation
- Race in the Early 20th Century
- The Klan
- Formal Methods
- The Captivity Narrative
- The Birth of a Nation and Woodrow Wilson
- The NAACP
Oscar Micheaux
- Within Our Gates
Griffith after The Birth of a Nation
- Intolerance
- Broken Blossoms
- A Career in Decline

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 5. SILENT COMEDY (1903-1936)
Origins
Comedy and Modernity
The Chase
- Seven Chances
Keaton and Chaplin
Buster Keaton
- The Three Ages
- The Play House
- Sherlock, Jr.
- Steamboat Bill, Jr.
Charlie Chaplin
- Chaplin and Modernity
- The Tramp
- A Dog's Life, The Kid, The Gold Rush, A Woman of Paris
- The Sound Films
- Modern Times

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading

Chapter 6. BETWEEN THE WORLD WAR I AND THE COMING OF SOUND (1913-1927)
Politics, the War, Prohibition, and Radio
The Jazz Age
- Our Dancing Daughters
- It
World War I
- Wings
- Hearts of the World
- The Big Parade
- 7th Heaven
DeMille and Melodrama
- The Cheat and Manslaughter
- The Ten Commandments
The Women
- Alice Guy Blaché and Lois Weber
- Matrimony's Speed Limit
- The Blot and Too Wise Women
Erich von Stroheim
- Naturalism Revisited
- Greed
The European Influence
- Expressionism
- The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
- Murnau and Sunrise
The End of the Silent Era

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 7. THE COMING OF SOUND (1927-1931)
Early Technologies of Sound
The Jazz Singer
- Jewishness and Blackface
Conversion to Sound
The Cultures of Sound

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 8. AMERICAN FILM AND THE GREAT DEPRESSION (1931-1935)
The Great Depression
- The Depression in Hollywood
- Heroes for Sale and Wild Boys of the Road
- American Madness
The 1930s Musical
- The Forgotten Man Choreographed
- Love Me Tonight
- Astaire-Rogers
- Busby Berkeley
- Gold Diggers of 1933

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading

Chapter 9. THE DEPRESSION ERA GANGSTER FILM (1931-1939)
The Gangster
-"The Gangster as Tragic Hero"
- The Gangster and the Code
The Gangster Films
- Little Caesar
- Scarface
- The Public Enemy
The Gangster in Eclipse
- The Roaring Twenties

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading

Chapter 10. COMEDY, CAPRA, AND MONSTERS (1931-1944)
Screwball Comedy
- My Man Godfrey
- Bringing Up Baby
- The Awful Truth
- The Philadelphia Story
- The Marx Brothers, Preston Sturges, Ernst Lubitsch
Capracorn
- It Happened One Night
- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Meet John Doe
Monsters
- Frankenstein and Dracula

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading

Chapter 11. 1939
The Code, Filmmaking, and Politics
- Stagecoach
- Dark Victory and Melodrama
- Gone With the Wind
- The Wizard of Oz

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 12. HOLLYWOOD AND WWII (1942-1949)
The Reemergence of Hollywood Cinema
- Acting
- Lighting
- Directorial Voices
The War Film
- Air Force
- Back to Bataan
- Sands of Iwo Jima
Frank Capra: Why We Fight
Casablanca

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading

Chapter 13. DIRECTORS OF THE FORTIES: JOHN FORD, ORSON WELLES, ALFRED HITCHCOCK (1941-1946)
The Auteur
John Ford and The Grapes of Wrath
Orson Welles and Citizen Kane
-Welles after Kane: The Magnificent Ambersons
- The Stranger
Alfred Hitchcock
- Shadow of a Doubt
- Notorious

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 14. FILM NOIR (1944-1950)
The Questions of Noir
Where Did Film Noir Get its Name?
How did Noir Develop in Hollywood Without Anyone Knowing About It?
Noir and American Culture
What is Film Noir?
- Lighting
- Themes and Content
- Gender in Film Noir
Films Noir
- Murder, My Sweet
- The Big Sleep
- Double Indemnity
- Woman in the Window and Scarlet Street
- Noir and Melodrama: The Case of Mildred Pierce
- Orson Welles and The Lady from Shanghai
- Anthony Mann and T-Men
Noir and the Production Code

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 15. HOLLYWOOD AFTER WW II (1946-1960)
The Best Years of Our Lives
Hollywood Under Siege
- The Divestiture
- Size Matters
Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Member of the Communist Party?
- HUAC
- The Hollywood Ten
- The Blacklist
- The End of the Blacklist
Socially Conscious Cinema
- Anti-Semitism: Crossfire and Gentleman's Agreement
- Postwar Film and Race: Pinky and No Way Out
- Anti-McCarthy, Anti-HUAC Films: Storm Center and Salt of the Earth

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 16. FORD, WELLES, AND HITCHCOCK IN THE 1950S (1948-1960)
John Ford and the Western
- Fort Apache
- The Searchers
Other Westerns
- High Noon
- Johnny Guitar and Silver Lode
- The Westerns of Anthony Mann: The Man from Laramie
Orson Welles and Touch of Evil
Alfred Hitchcock
- North by Northwest and The Wrong Man
- Vertigo
- Psycho

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 17. SCIENCE FICTION IN THE 1950S (1950-1956)
Postwar Fears from Outer Space
- The Thing from Another World
- The Day the Earth Stood Still
- Forbidden Planet
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 18. NEW METHODS IN ACTING AND NEW DIRECTIONS IN FILMMAKING (1950-1959)
Film Acting
The Actor's Studio
- Marlon Brando and James Dean
- Nicholas Ray: In a Lonely Place, Rebel Without a Cause, Bigger Than Life
- The Wild One
- Marlon Brando and Marilyn Monroe
Epilogue to the 1950s
- Sam Fuller
- The Naked Kiss
- Pickup on South Street
A New Wave

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 19. DECLINE AND RENEWAL (1960-1967)
Epic Decline
- Paramount
- Universal
- Warner Bros.
- 20th Century Fox
- Columbia
Explosion
The New Wave
The Auteur Revisited
The End of the Code and the Beginning of the Ratings System

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 20. WOMEN, MEN, AND SUPERHEROES (1980-2012)
Visual Pleasure
- Norma Rae and Silkwood
By and For Women
- Desperately Seeking Susan
The Male as Object of the Gaze
- Top Gun
The Monstrous Gaze
- Fatal Attraction
Strong Men in the Age of Reagan
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Rambo
- Die Hard
The Superhero and the Digital Domain
- Batman
- The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises
- Super

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading

Chapter 21. NEW TECHNOLOGIES (1950-Present)
Videotape, DVD, and Screen Size
Sound
CGI
The "Reality Effect"

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 22. RISE OF THE MODERN DOCUMENTARY (1920-present)
The Early Documentary
- The Man with the Movie Camera, Nanook of the North, The Plow that Broke the Plains
The Maysles Brothers
- Cinéma Vérité and Salesman
- Gimme Shelter and Grey Gardens
Michael Moore and the Political Documentary
- Fahrenheit 9/11
The Contemporary War Documentary
- Restrepo
- Redacted
Errol Morris
- Standard Operating Procedure and The Fog of War

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 23. OUTSIDE HOLLYWOOD: STANLEY KUBRICK (1953-1999)
Kubrick, Welles, and Hitchcock
The War Films: Fear and Desire, Paths of Glory, Full Metal Jacket
Dr. Strangelove and the Cold War
Humans and Machines: 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Blade Runner
- AI: Artificial Intelligence
A Joke on the Viewer: A Clockwork Orange
Ghost Story
Dream Story

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 24. THE NEW HOLLYWOOD AND AFTER (1967-2006) Part One
The Collapse of the Code and the Studio System and the Rise of the Counterculture
Arthur Penn and the Counterculture
- Bonnie & Clyde
- Alice's Restaurant and Little Big Man
- Four Friends
- Night Moves
AIP and Easy Rider
Robert Altman
- MASH
- Altman after MASH
- McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Wild Bunch, and More About Film Violence
- Nashville and Secret Honor
- Short Cuts
- Magnolia

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 25. THE NEW HOLLYWOOD AND AFTER (1972-2011) Part Two
Francis Ford Coppola
- The Godfather
- The Conversation
- Coppola and the Vietnam War Film
- Apocalypse Now
Steven Spielberg
- Jaws
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind
- E.T. and War of the Worlds
- Schindler's List
- Munich
Martin Scorsese
- Who's That Knocking at My Door
- Mean Streets
- Taxi Driver
- Raging Bull
- Goodfellas
- The Documentaries
Michael Cimino, the End of United Artists, the End of the Auteur
- The Deer Hunter and Heaven's Gate

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


Chapter 26. AMERICAN FILM IN THE 1990S AND 2000S
Multiple Screens
Independent Cinema
Postmodern Filmmaking: Quentin Tarantino and Oliver Stone
- Pulp Fiction
- Natural Born Killers
- JFK
Judd Apatow
- Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
David Fincher
- Fight Club
A Study in Contrasts
- Dinner for Schmucks
- The Notebook
- The Bourne Identity
- Syriana
In Praise of Diversity
Blaxploitation
- Shaft and Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song
Spike Lee
- She's Gotta Have It and Do the Right Thing
Tyler Perry
- Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself

Selected Filmography
Suggestions for Further Reading


GLOSSARY

INDEX

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