Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan-- and Beyond

Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan-- and Beyond

Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan-- and Beyond

Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan-- and Beyond

Synopsis

This classic of film criticism, long considered invaluable for its eloquent study of a problematic period in film history, is now substantially updated and revised by the author to include chapters beyond the Reagan era and into the twenty-first century. For the new edition, Robin Wood has written a substantial new preface that explores the interesting double context within which the book can be read-that in which it was written and that in which we find ourselves today. Among the other additions to this new edition are a celebration of modern "screwball" comedies like My Best Friend's Wedding, and an analysis of '90s American and Canadian teen movies in the vein of American Pie, Can't Hardly Wait, and Rollercoaster. Also included are a chapter on Hollywood today that looks at David Fincher and Jim Jarmusch (among others) and an illuminating essay on Day of the Dead.

Excerpt

This book is not a survey: it does not pretend to cover every trend, every genre, every cycle—let alone every film—in the period (roughly 1970–1984) with which it is concerned. It is not, in the usual sense, a history, though the ordering of the chapters is generally chronological, with occasional flashbacks: the reader will find little of the factual information of which our histories are typically composed. It is not exactly a thesis (though it contains one): the argument is not clearly linear, starting from "This is what I shall prove" and progressing to "This is what has been proven." But neither is it a collection of miscellaneous, unconnected essays, though each chapter is more or less self-sufficient: the cross-references are intricate (often, more so than I realized while writing it), so that, in the last resort, everything relates to everything. It is my hope that the openness of the structure, the refusal of a step-by-step linearity of argument, will allow the reader a sense of her/his own space and the possibility of making other connections and developing ideas in other directions. The book contains a number of embryonic books, each with its own potential thesis: studies of Scorsese, Cimino, De Palma; a book on the relationship (part rupture, part continuity) between "Classical" and "modern" Hollywood; a book on the "incoherent texts" of the 70s; a book on the attempted recuperations of the 80s (but that would be very tedious both to write and to read); a book on the Hollywood cinema's response (or lack of it) to feminism; above all, perhaps, a book on the traces, both manifest and hidden, within our popular cinema, of that innate bisexuality the repression of which Freud saw as necessary for the construction of "socialized" men and women in our culture. But what interests me is the interconnectedness of these phenomena, and it is this that I have tried to catch. I have also wanted to make more accessible some of the major concerns of contemporary film theory: perhaps, in attempting to clarify, I have simplified and falsified, but the risk seems to me worth taking.

The book's unifying principle is the attempt to grasp, in all its complexity, a decisive "moment," an ideological shift, in Hollywood cinema and (by implication) in . . .

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