Visions of Paradise: Images of Eden in the Cinema

By Wheeler Winston Dixon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
Eternal Summer

It was American International Pictures who first isolated the teenage viewer from the rest of the members of the typical American household and (astonishingly) targeted the summer as a prime season for filmgoing, while the majors in the early-to-mid-1950s still viewed the June through August date span as “dead time.” Everyone was on vacation; surely no one would want to go to the movies. Founded by James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff in 1954 as American Releasing Corporation, AIP changed all that, beginning in 1954 with John Ireland’s The Fast and the Furious (since remade three times), followed by a series of program Westerns, albeit with a feminist edge, directed by AIP’s most prolific auteur, Roger Corman: Apache Woman (1955), Five Guns West (1955), Gunslinger (1956), and The Oklahoma Woman (1956). But these projects gestured toward the past more than the future; Westerns had been a cinematic staple since Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery (1903).

But AIP soon realized that these “B” Westerns weren’t going to significantly advance their fledgling corporation, and so they hit upon two key strategies that would guide them through their early years as a production entity. First, they would control both halves of the double bill by producing two modestly budgeted films simultaneously and sending them out as an inseparable unit; this assured that

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Visions of Paradise: Images of Eden in the Cinema
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Chapter One - The Great Escape 3
  • Chapter Two - Eternal Summer 43
  • Chapter Three - Paradise Now 86
  • Chapter Four - The Uses of Heaven 128
  • Chapter Five - The Promise of the Future 158
  • Works Cited 195
  • Index 201
  • About the Author 221
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