Handbook of American Film Genres

Handbook of American Film Genres

Handbook of American Film Genres

Handbook of American Film Genres

Synopsis

"More genres, 19 in fact, are discussed than in other standard works. The 14 genres considered here by film scholar contributors other than Gehring include the adventure film, the western, the gangster film, film noir, the WW II combat film, the horror film, science fiction, fantasy, the musical, melodrama, the social problem film, the biographical film, and the art film. The discussion of fine comedy genres by Gehring himself is far more extensive than in other genre studies, embracing screwball comedy, populist comedy, parody, black humor, and clown comedy. . . . Recommended for both undergraduate and graduate collections." Choice

Excerpt

This book was inspired by two limitations frequently found in texts on American film genres. First, there was a need for a text which would examine an expanded number of genres. The best two genre books on the market, Thomas Schatz Hollywood Genres andBarry K. Grant Film Genre:
Theory and Criticism
, were limited to six genres, respectively. These numbers were consistent with Stuart M. Kaminsky pioneer work, American Film Genres, which examines approximately eight genres, depending on how one counts Kaminsky's fascination with variations of the crime movie, to which he devotes several chapters. Only slightly larger numbers are addressed in both a more recent Grant anthology, Film Genre Reader (eleven genres, with some of the pieces recycled from his other collection), and Steven C. Earley rather pedestrian An Introduction to American Movies (twelve genres). Thus, the book in hand examines eighteen genres, with much of the increase coming from both a more ambitious look at "comedy genres" and the inclusion of such "nontraditional" genres as the problem film, the art film, and the biography picture. Other genres included are swashbuckling adventure film, western, gangster film, film noir, World War II combat film (in the category Action/Adventure); horror, science fiction, and fantasy (in The Fantastic); and the musical and the melodrama (in Songs and Soaps).

The reasoning behind the order of the chapters in each division is as follows: In the action/adventure section the adventure chapter goes first because it broadly addresses the division, even to the point of mentioning several of the other member genres. The western and gangster chapters follow because of their pivotal positions as archetypal American genres. Film noir is next because it is in part an outgrowth of the gangster film, or more broadly, the crime movie. The World War II combat chapter is last since it is the most specific of the divisions.

The comedy section saves the most familiar type (the clown genre) for last . . .

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