American Films Of The 70s / Edition 1

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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.

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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.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292747166
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

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

Introduction: "Nobody knows anything"
Part 1
Chapter 1: Hippie Generation
Easy Rider
Alice's Restaurant
Five Easy Pieces
Chapter 2: Vigilantes And Cops
The French Connection
Dirty Harry
Death Wish
Chapter 3: Disaster and Conspiracy
The Poseidon Adventure
The Parallax View
Chapter 4: The End Of The Sixties
Between the Lines
The Return of the Secaucus Seven
The Big Chill
Part 2
Chapter 5: Last Tango in Paris: Or Art, Sex, And Hollywood
Chapter 6: Teen Films
American Graffiti
Cooley High
Animal House
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Chapter 7: General Patton and Colonel Kurtz
Apocalypse Now
Chapter 8: From Blaxploitation To African American Film
Killer of Sheep
Chapter 9: Feminisms
Hester Street
An Unmarried Woman
Starting Over
Head over Heels/Chilly Scenes of Winter
Coming Home
The China Syndrome
Chapter 10: Whose Future
Star Wars
Blade Runner
Appendix 1: Time Line, 1968-1983: American History, American Film
Appendix 2: Filmography
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