American Films of the 70s: Conflicting Visions

American Films of the 70s: Conflicting Visions

by Peter Lev
     
 

The 1970s have been largely neglected in film scholarship. Lev's book is just what the field needs. . . . [Indeed], the entire field of cinema studies needs to see more publications of the quality of this one—conscientious, thorough, well-balanced, and insightful. . . . It's the kind of book that will become increasingly important in the next…  See more details below

Overview

The 1970s have been largely neglected in film scholarship. Lev's book is just what the field needs. . . . [Indeed], the entire field of cinema studies needs to see more publications of the quality of this one—conscientious, thorough, well-balanced, and insightful. . . . It's the kind of book that will become increasingly important in the next century.
—(Paul Monaco, author of Society, Culture, and Television)

While the anti-establishment rebels of 1969's Easy Rider were morphing into the nostalgic yuppies of 1983's The Big Chill, Seventies movies brought us everything from killer sharks, blaxploitation, and disco musicals to a loving look at General George S. Patton. Indeed, as Peter Lev persuasively argues in this book, the films of the 1970s constitute a kind of conversation about what American society is and should be—open, diverse, and egalitarian, or stubbornly resistant to change.

Examining forty films thematically, Lev explores the conflicting visions presented in films with the following kinds of subject matter:

  • Hippies (Easy Rider, Alice's Restaurant)
  • Cops (The French Connection, Dirty Harry)
  • Disasters and conspiracies (Jaws, Chinatown)
  • End of the Sixties (Nashville, The Big Chill)
  • Art, Sex, and Hollywood (Last Tango in Paris)
  • Teens (American Graffiti, Animal House)
  • War (Patton, Apocalypse Now)
  • African-Americans (Shaft, Superfly)
  • Feminisms (An Unmarried Woman, The China Syndrome)
  • Future visions (Star Wars, Blade Runner)
As accessible to ordinary moviegoers as to film scholars, Lev's book is an essential companion to these familiar, well-loved movies.

About the Author:
Peter Lev is Professor of Mass Communication at Towson University in Maryland.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Lev (mass communication, Towson Univ.) examines how American cinema in the Seventies portrayed society's progress toward diversity and egalitarianism. Focusing on themes and genres rather than the auteur approach, Lev groups the 39 films discussed in chapters that include "Hippie Generation" (Five Easy Pieces, Alice's Restaurant), and "Whose Future?" (Star Wars, Alien). His academic, almost literary explication and interpretation works especially well with more cerebral films, such as Apocalypse Now, but is less successful with action films and "Blaxploitation to African American" films. There are many good insights, including the observation that much of the philosophy and beliefs of the Sixties counterculture was not really portrayed in films until the very end of the decade (in films like Easy Rider) and then really flourished in the films of the Seventies. Lev also explores the impact of the increasing importance of marketing and the changing venues for films (cable, videos, pay-per-view). Marc Sigoloff's The Films of the Seventies (LJ 7/84), a detailed filmography of the period, is a good complementary reference source for Lev's essays. Recommended for academic and film libraries.--Richard W. Grefrath, Univ. of Nevada Lib., Reno Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780292747159
Publisher:
University of Texas Press
Publication date:
01/01/2000
Pages:
260
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.88(d)

What People are saying about this

Paul Monaco
The 1970s have been largely neglected in film scholarship. Lev's book is just what the field needs. . . . [Indeed], the entire field of cinema studies needs to see more publications of the quality of this one—conscientious, thorough, well-balanced, and insightful. . . . It's the kind of book that will become increasingly important in the next century.
-- Paul Monaco, author of Society, Culture, and Television

Meet the Author

Peter Lev is Professor of Electronic Media and Film at Towson University.

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