Description : Although we tend to accord our highest praise to films with strong messages, Hollywood is resolutely unserious in its goals, and closer perhaps to music than to literature in this regard. Thus, in order to appreciate Hollywood's classic movies, we have to understand them as the result of a style of filmmaking that justifies itself through the grace and beauty of its form. This beauty, when seen, challenges our notion of film as the poorer cousin of the high arts, or as worthwhile only when it serves a social purpose. The Hidden Art of Hollywood draws from a huge fund of recorded interviews with the directors, writers, cinematographers, set designers, producers, and actors who were a part of the studio process, in order to give the filmmakers themselves the chance to explain a very elusive phenomenon: the glancing beauty of the Hollywood film. While the greatness of the classic Hollywood film is, for many of us, settled business, there are also a great number who have difficulty understanding why these films—which can often seem dated and unrealistic compared to modern fare—are taken as seriously as they are. Although we tend to accord our highest praise to films with strong and often didactic messages, Hollywood is resolutely unserious in its goals, and closer perhaps to music than to literature in this regard. Thus, in order to appreciate classic American movies, we have to understand them as the result of a style of filmmaking that justifies itself not through ideas or social relevance, but through the grace and beauty of its form. The beauty of the Hollywood film challenges our notion of film as the poorer cousin of the high arts, or as worthwhile only when it serves a social purpose. In his effort to answer the many questions that classic American cinema suggests, author John Fawell considers previous criticism of Hollywood, but also draws from a huge fund of recorded interviews with the directors, writers, cinematographers, set designers, producers, and actors who were a part of the studio process, in order to give the filmmakers themselves the chance to explain a very elusive phenomenon: the glancing beauty of the Hollywood film. The films of certain great auteurs, including Charlie Chaplin, Ernst Lubitsch, Preston Sturges, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, John Ford, and Orson Welles, receive particular attention here, but this book is organized by ideas rather than films or artists, and it draws from a wide array of Hollywood films, both successes and failures, to make its points.
Description : In Restoration Stage Comedies and Hollywood Remarriage Films, Elizabeth Kraft brings the canon of Restoration comedy into the conversation initiated by Stanley Cavell in his book Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage. Before there could be imagined remarriages of the sort Cavell documents, there had to be imagined marriages of equality. Such imagined marriages were first mapped out on the Restoration stage by witty pairs such as Harriet and Dorimant, Millamant and Mirabell, and Alithea and Harcourt who are precursors of the central couples in films such as Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, and The Lady Eve. In considering the Restoration comedy canon in one-on-one discourse with the Hollywood remarriage comedy canon, Kraft demonstrates the indebtedness of the twentieth-century films to the Restoration dramatic texts-and the philosophical richness of both canons as they explore the nature and significance of marriage as pursuit of moral perfectionism. Her book will be of interest to specialists in Restoration drama and film scholars.
Description : Hollywood makes the most widely successful pleasure-giving artworks the world has ever known. The industry operates under the assumption that pleasurable aesthetic experiences, among huge populations, translate into box office success. With that goal in mind, Hollywood has systematized thedelivery of aesthetic pleasure, packaging and selling it on a massive scale. In Hollywood Aesthetic, Todd Berliner accounts for the chief attraction of Hollywood cinema worldwide: its entertainment value. Analyzing Hollywood in the areas of narrative, style, ideology, and genre, Hollywood Aesthetic offers a comprehensive appraisal of the aesthetic design of Americancommercial cinema. Grounded in film history and in the psychological and philosophical literature on aesthetics, the book situates aesthetic analyses within the context of film reception, the film industry, and the current understanding of human psychology.Illustrated with numerous examples, Hollywood Aesthetic analyzes the design of a range of films that span Hollywood history. The book examines films, such as City Lights and Goodfellas, that have earned aesthetic appreciation from both fans and critics. But it also studies curious outliers andcelebrated Hollywood experiments, such as The Killing and Starship Troopers, films popular with cinephiles and cult audiences. And it demonstrates the ways in which even ordinary popular films, from Tarzan and His Mate to Rocky III, as well as New Hollywood action blockbusters, like Die Hard and TheDark Knight, offer aesthetic pleasure to mass audiences. Hollywood Aesthetic explains how these and dozens of other Hollywood movies engage viewers by satisfying their aesthetic desires. Many film scholars dismiss Hollywood cinema as mere commercial entertainment and leave it at that. Hollywood Aesthetic explains how Hollywood creates, for huge numbers of people, some of their most exhilarating experiences of art.
Description : In the words of Richard Maltby . . . "Maximum Movies--Pulp Fictions describes two improbably imbricated worlds and the piece of cultural history their intersections provoked." One of these worlds comprises a clutch of noisy, garish pulp movies--Kiss Me Deadly, Shock Corridor, Fixed Bayonets!, I Walked with a Zombie, The Lineup, Terror in a Texas Town, Ride Lonesome--pumped out for the grind houses at the end of the urban exhibition chain by the studios' B-divisions and fly-by-night independents. The other is occupied by critics, intellectuals, cinephiles, and filmmakers such as Jean-Luc Godard, Manny Farber, and Lawrence Alloway, who championed the cause of these movies and incited the cultural guardians of the day by attacking a rigorously policed canon of tasteful, rarified, and ossified art objects. Against the legitimate, and in defense of the illegitimate, in an insolent and unruly manner, they agitated for the recognition of lurid sensational crime stories, war pictures, fast-paced Westerns, thrillers, and gangster melodramas were claimed as examples of the true, the real, and the authentic in contemporary culture--the foundation upon which modern film studies sits.