Disaster and Memory: Celebrity Culture and the Crisis of Hollywood Cinema

Synopsis

Using the media's coverage of the death of Princess Diana as a departing point, Wheeler Dixon presents a sharply critical assessment of the current state of movies--from the cult of celebrity, to the nature of public surveillance, to the role of print and television media in shaping our shared consciousness--unveiling our fascination with disaster. Dixon argues that movies such as James Cameron's Titanic replay the same Hollywood disaster plotlines with greater wizardry and less humanity than the films of fifty years ago. Contemporary cinema has become simply a memory of itself. Dixon draws on the effects of new technologies, the role of the "star" system, and the development of media conglomerates to explain why Hollywood has become so repetitive. Looking at a wide range of film genres, from obscure horror to blockbuster disaster movies, Dixon weaves together the elements that entice and manipulate audience expectations and emotions. Throughout the book, he examines the role of televisual media (cable, video, instant print magazines, digitally stored photos) in capturing the public's attention, and how these media could instead be used to open movie audiences to new stories and experiences. With its broad scope and frank tone, Disaster and Memory offers a refreshing and controversial perspective on the past, present, and future of Hollywood.

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1999