This book explores the theoretical and critical concept of filmic point of view. Its case studies are six acclaimed and accomplished instances of ‘classical Hollywood cinema’: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Capra, 1936), Only Angels Have Wings (Hawks, 1939), Letter from an Unknown Woman (Ophuls, 1948), Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958), Anatomy of a Murder (Preminger, 1959), and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford, 1962). The book’s particular contributions to the study of filmic point of view are to use ‘communication’ as an idea which permits new ways of approaching this topic, and to offer detailed explorations of the filmic representation of character experience (including character ‘consciousness’ and interaction), and of the relationship of film to other media of communication (especially print media and the novel). With respect to character experience, it is argued that the often-held distinction between an inner realm of thought and feeling and an outer realm of behaviour and objects fails to do justice to the human experience of ‘being-in-the-world’ and film’s ability to represent it. With respect to film’s relationship to other media, it explores the traversing of the public, the private and the social that narrative fiction film represents, in a way that aligns the medium with the novel. The book is offered as a demonstration and defence of the value of a ‘conversational’ critical method that entails detailed scrutiny of our film-viewing experiences and of the language we use to describe those experiences, and eschews the construction of a taxonomy designed for general applicability.
This book interrogates the interplay of cultural and political aspects of contemporary Hollywood movies. Using ‘security’ films dealing with public order and disorder (Part I), romantic comedies and other movies presenting intimate relationalities (Part II), socially engaged films offering overtly critical messages (Part III), and analysis of Hollywood’s global reach and impact (Part IV), it articulates and illustrates an original cultural politics approach to film. The book employs an expanded conception of ‘the political’ to enquire into power relations in public, private, and policy arenas in order to advance a new framework and methodology for cultural politics. It demonstrates how movies both reflect and produce political myths that largely uphold the status quo as they shape our dreams, identities, and selves.
Hollywood romantic comedy inevitably ends with the union of a heterosexual couple. But does this union inevitably involve marriage? What part does equality play? Are love and desire identical? This book explores the genre's changing representation of the couple, focusing on marriage, equality and desire in screwball comedy, career woman comedy and sex comedy. The shifting discourses around heterosexuality, gender, romance and love are considered in relation to such socio-historical transformations as the emergence of companionate marriage, war-time gender roles and the impact of post-war consumerism. Going well beyond the usual screwball territory, the book provides an understanding of the functions of conventions such as masquerade, gender inversion and the happy ending. This is complemented by a distinctive focus on individual films and their star couples, including detailed discussion of Myrna Loy and William Powell, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, and Doris Day and Rock Hudson. The book offers foundational explanations of genre and an analysis of cycles and films.
Genre, cycles and critical traditions
Hollywood romantic comedy
Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night (1934).
Courtesy of Columbia Tristar.
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Hollywood romantic comedy
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Technologies of Surveillance, Knowledge and Power in Paramount Budget
William Thomas McClain
Film production at Paramount Pictures during the so-called classical era required the
mobilisation of massive material and human capital that depended on institutional
systems of surveillance, knowledge creation and control ranging from departmental
affiliations to the pre-printed budget forms. This article focuses on those
pre-printed budget forms as technologies of knowledge and power, revealing that the
necessities of creating and managing coalitions of expert labourers created
alternative power centres and spaces where being the object of surveillance was
itself a source of power. It concludes by discussing the implications of this ecology
for the historiography of Hollywood.
the sheet music of the film and above all radio.
When radio first took off in the United States in the late 1920s, it
was regarded by the film industry as a rival, something to keep people at home and
away from the cinema. But during the 1930s, Hollywood began to appreciate the
value of radio in publicizing and promoting its films. It discovered that radio
complemented films rather than substituted for them and a richly symbiotic
relationship developed between
Deconstructing existentialism and the counterculture in The Gambler (1974) and Dog Soldiers/ Who’ll Stop the Rain (1978)
disappear; there will be every incentive for our
own home-grown talent to follow them’. 8 Herren’s prediction proved prescient, for by 1975
Joseph Losey was living in France as a tax exile, only returning to the UK
for his last film, Steaming (1984), while John Schlesinger moved to
Hollywood to direct his next two features, Day of the Locust (1975)
and Marathon Man (1976). Even Carl Foreman – a loyal British
As a contracted screenwriter Rossen‘s particular interest in social themes had a
synergy with the broad and generic concerns of the Warners studio in the Popular
Front period of the late thirties and then in the war years. This article relates the
themes and motifs of Rossen‘s work at Warners to the period at the end of the war and
in the late forties, when he took advantage of a rise in independent production and
next film in America. “ So I
said, “Certainly I’d like to. “ And that was my first
American film.’ This is how J. Lee Thompson relates the genesis of
Cape Fear , the film that would set his career in a whole new
direction. Peck’s sudden offer made it possible for Lee Thompson to
realise his long-held ambition to be a Hollywood director. ‘Ever since
I was a child I dreamed of Hollywood’, he admits. ‘I wanted to
This article focuses on a cycle of late 1960s true crime films depicting topical
mass/serial murders. It argues that the conjoined ethical and aesthetic
approaches of these films were shaped within and by a complex climate of
contestation as they moved from newspaper headlines to best-sellers lists to
cinema screens. While this cycle was central to critical debates about screen
violence during this key moment of institutional, regulatory and aesthetic
transition, they have been almost entirely neglected or, at best, misunderstood.
Meeting at the intersection of, and therefore falling between the gaps, of
scholarship on the Gothic horror revival and New Hollywood’s violent
revisionism, this cycle reversed the generational critical divisions that
instigated a new era in filmmaking and criticism. Adopting a historical
reception studies approach, this article challenges dominant understandings of
the depiction and reception of violence and horror in this defining period.