Action and Adventure Cinema / Edition 1

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More About This Textbook


Action has established itself as one of the leading genres of contemporary Hollywood cinema, generating extensive critical debate in the process. This exciting collection addresses action and adventure from the silent era to the present day, exploring diverse questions of aesthetics, industry and ideology. Contributors consider how action might best be defined, how it has developed historically, and how it works formally. The critical reception and standing of action and adventure cinema is considered in relation to questions of national culture, violence, and the 'art' of cinema. Themes explored include genre and definitions; early action, sensation and melodrama; authorship; national and transnational action-adventure traditions; action aesthetics; spectacle and narrative; stars and bodies; class; gender, and race and ethnicity. Individual chapters discuss action cinema from early melodrama and serials such as The Hazards of Helen through classic films of the 1960s including Bullitt, The Wild Bunch and The Dirty Dozen up to contemporary blockbusters Die Hard, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The book considers the action genre outside Hollywood, in Greece, Italy and Japan, and also views action and adventure cinema through the work of individual directors including D.W. Griffith, Akira Kurosawa, Sam Peckinpah and Kathryn Bigelow.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415235068
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/1/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction : action and adventure cinema 1
Pt. I History, criticism and style 15
1 'Trauma thrills' : notes on early action cinema 17
2 The 'culture war' of sensational melodrama, 1910-14 31
3 'Child of commerce! bastard of art!' : early film melodrama 52
4 Action-adventure as Hollywood genre 71
5 Dwight Macdonald and the historical epic 84
Pt. II Theorising action aesthetics 101
6 'Get ready for rush hour' : the chronotope in action 103
7 The collapse of reality and illusion in The matrix 119
8 Guns and gas : investigating the 1970s car chase film 130
9 Saving Private Ryan's 'special affect' 153
Pt. III Gender, stars, bodies 167
10 Ready for action : G. I. Jane, Demi Moore's body and the female combat movie 169
11 Mas macha : the new latina action hero 186
12 Beauty in motion : gender, spectacle and action babe cinema 201
13 Breakdown : white masculinity, class, and U.S. action-adventure films 219
14 Maximus melodramaticus : masculinity, masochism and white male paranoia in contemporary Hollywood cinema 235
15 The family in action 252
Pt. IV Nation, ethnicity and stardom 267
16 The Hong Kong/Hollywood connection : stardom and spectacle in transnational action cinema 269
17 Europeans in action! 284
18 Greek war film as melodrama : women, female stars, and the nation as victim 297
19 Spaghetti western, genre criticism and national cinema : re-defining the frame of reference 309
Pt. V Action, authorship and industry 329
20 Genre and violence in the work of Kurosawa and Peckinpah 331
21 The dirty dozen : the contradictory nature of screen violence 345
22 'It's aimed at kids - the kid in everybody' : George Lucas, Star wars and children's entertainment 358
23 Man's favourite sport? : the action films of Kathryn Bigelow 371
24 'They call me "action woman"' : the marketing of Mimi Leder as a new concept in the high concept 'action' film 385
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