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Jonathan Rayner

TNWC05 16/11/06 11:26 AM Page 120 5 American films of the Cold War Representations of naval operations, up to and including actual combat, in films made during the Cold War appear as varied and problematic as the political and operational complexities afflicting the navies themselves in that period. The moral clarity and narrative certainty sought in the war film genre, as it had evolved during the Second World War (in the clear delineation of goals, the unity to be sought and the enemies to be defeated in order to achieve them), were not readily or

in The naval war film
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Averageness, Populism and Seriality in Robert Benchley‘s How to Short Subjects
Rob King

Over the course of the 1930s, the comic persona of Algonquin humorist Robert Benchley changed from that of a sophisticated humorist to an average man. This article situates Benchley‘s How to short subjects for MGM (1935–44) within a broader public preoccupation with averageness that characterised the populist political rhetoric of New Deal-era America. In particular, it explores the function of seriality as a discursive trope conjoining the format of Benchley‘s MGM shorts to the broader construction of average identities in the eras political culture.

Film Studies
Baldwin, Racial Melancholy, and the Black Middle Ground
Peter Lurie

This article uses Baldwin’s 1949 essay “Everybody’s Protest Novel” to consider that literary mode’s corollary in the 1990s New Black Cinema. It argues that recent African American movies posit an alternative to the politics and aesthetics of films by a director such as Spike Lee, one that evinces a set of qualities Baldwin calls for in his essay about Black literature. Among these are what recent scholars such as Ann Anlin Cheng have called racial melancholy or what Kevin Quashie describes as Black “quiet,” as well as variations on Yogita Goyal’s diaspora romance. Films such as Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) and Joe Talbot and Jimmy Fails’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) offer a cinematic version of racial narrative at odds with the protest tradition I associate with earlier Black directors, a newly resonant cinema that we might see as both a direct and an indirect legacy of Baldwin’s views on African American culture and politics.

James Baldwin Review
Frank Sinatra, Postwar Liberalism and Press Paranoia
Karen McNally

Anti-Communist hysteria had a wide-ranging impact on Hollywood across the postwar period. As writers, directors and stars came under the scrutiny of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) due to the content of their films and their political activities, careers were interrupted indefinitely and Hollywood‘s ability to promote cultural change in the new era following World War II was severely hampered. Frank Sinatra‘s heavy involvement in liberal politics during this period illustrates the problems confronting the American film industry as it attempted to address the country‘s imperfections.

Film Studies
Aspects of Ireland and the British Empire
Editor: Keith Jeffery

The notion that the British Empire was in any way an 'Irish Empire' is not one that will cut very much ice on the contemporary island of Ireland, north or south. This volume explores aspects of the experience of Ireland and Irish people within the British Empire and addresses a central concern of modern Irish scholarship. The paradox that Ireland was both 'imperial' and 'colonial' lies at the heart of this book. One of the themes which emerges from the studies in this book is the irrelevance of the Empire to some Irish concerns. Popular culture, sport and film are investigated, as well as business history and the military and political 'sinews of Empire'. In cinematic terms, the image of Ireland has been largely in the hands of the British and American film industries. Analogies between Ulster loyalists and zealous British settlers are frequently drawn. The book examines the views of that region's businessmen on the British Empire, including their perception of Empire, the role of Empire as an economic unit and views the status of Northern Ireland within the Empire. The eventual choice of both flags illustrates that pre-partition strands of both loyalism and Unionism continued to survive among leading politicians within Ulster during the 1920s. The British Empire Union of 1915, established to make the Irish more Empire-minded, included the energetic promotion of imperial history in schools and of the idea of Empire Day within the population as a whole.

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Author: Steve Chibnall

Since his first directorial commission at Welwyn Studios in 1950, Lee Thompson has directed forty-five pictures for theatrical release, covering almost every genre of the cinema. His remarkable ability to adapt his style to suit the material has made him perhaps the most versatile director ever produced by Britain. This book intends to plot the trajectory of a unique film-maker through the typical constraints and opportunities offered by British cinema as a dominant studio system gave way to independent production in the two decades after the Second World War. Thompson was born in Bristol just before the First World War. By the time Thompson left school his ambition was to be an actor, and he joined Nottingham Repertory, making his debut in Young Woodley in 1931. Thompson's opportunity to direct a play came when he received an offer from Hollywood for the film rights to his play Murder Without Crime. His debut box (or ottoman) of tricks went out on the ABC circuit as a double bill with an American film about a GI finding romance in Europe, Four Days Leave. Although the cutting room remained sacrosanct, directors of Thompson's generation had more influence over the final cut of a picture than their predecessors. The Yellow Balloon may be frustratingly limited in its social critique, but as a piece of film making, it was rightly praised for its performances and technical proficiency.

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Editor: Andrew Spicer

This book aims to provide an overview of the history and development of film noir and neo-noir in five major European cinemas, France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy, written by leading authorities in their respective fields. It contains a bibliography and extensive filmography. The book describes the distinctiveness of film noir or neo-noir within its respective national cinema at particular moments, but also discusses its interaction with American film noir and neo-noir. It commences with a reflection on the significant similarities and differences that emerge in these accounts of the various European film noirs, and on the nature of this dialogue, which suggests the need to understand film noir as a transnational cultural phenomenon. The problems of defining film noir and the reasons why it has almost always been regarded solely as an American form are discussed. Because British film noir had never received critical recognition, Andrew Spicer argues that British neo-noir had to reinvent itself anew, with little, if any, explicit continuity with its predecessors. The book also explores the changes in the French polar after 1968: the paranoia of the political thriller and the violence of the postmodern and naturalistic thriller. That new noir sensibility is different enough, and dark enough, from what preceded it, for us to call it 'hyper-noir'. British neo-noirs are highly intertextual and allusive, both thematically and visually. The book also discusses German neo-noir, Spanish film noir and neo-noir, and the Italian film noir.

Cultural and economic relations between the British film industry and Hollywood
Jonathan Stubbs

American Film Institute’s ‘greatest American films of all time’ list – also highlighted the particularly close relationship between American and British film culture. Four of the twenty-five films had British-born directors (Charlie Chaplin, David Lean, and Alfred Hitchcock twice) and three of them were filmed using British studios ( Star Wars (1977), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1967), and Lawrence of Arabia (1962)). 3 Thus, while Brown’s gifts located the ‘special relationship’ in the late nineteenth century and the Second World War, Obama’s gift evoked (quite

in Culture matters
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Sam Rohdie

determined, but internally so, naturally, as if the bowl of soup, not Kuleshov, and his arrangement of images determined the hunger on the actor’s face. In American films, which inspired Kuleshov, things were different. In these films, an actor and a bowl of soup or a revolver were in the same real space and time as they would be in the theatre. They were, as in the theatre, put-into-scene (mise en scène) in

in Montage
Jonathan Rayner

TNWC03 16/11/06 11:27 AM Page 80 3 Hollywood and the one-ocean war The contribution of the American film industry to the war effort can be divided chronologically between preparatory propagandist films made before the attack on Pearl Harbor, and combat films made after it, and formally between non-fiction (newsreels, documentary and instructional films) and feature film productions. As in Britain, a convoluted relationship between the propaganda arm of government and the filmmaking establishment was wrought to mobilise and exploit the entertainment industry

in The naval war film