Assault on Society: Satirical Literature to Film

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Overview

Assault on Society explores over four decades of satirical and dark comedy films, a genre that has been examined only piecemeal before. Since many of these were adapted from novels and dramas, McCaffrey concentrates on literature transformed to the screen. Some works of the genre attack society's defects with the intent to change them, or at least to make us aware of them. If change seems impossible, the absurdist tone of the work has therapeutic value, as in the case of "Dr. Strangelove, Catch-22, Day of the Locust, "or "A Clockwork Orange". "Tom Jones "and "The Horse's Mouth" feature picaresque protagonists and expose hypocrisy, blindness, and pretense. The legacy of dark humor and satire from the 60s and 70s lives on in the movies of the 80s and 90s.

Author Biography: Donald W. McCaffrey (Ph.D., Iowa), Professor of English at the University of North Dakota, is author of "Four Great Comedians: Chaplin, Lloyd, Keaton, and Langdon"; "Focus on Chaplin"; "The Golden Age of Sound Comedy"; and "Three Classic Silent Screen Comedies Starring Harold Lloyd". He has interviewed Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, and Frank Capra and conducted seminars in the Near East and Africa for the State Department on the motion picture comedy.

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Editorial Reviews

Film Quarterly
Delivers a solid overview of the tradition of satire in our culture. McCaffrey has gone to particular effort to research pre-production scripts and other archival material when available...details prove helpful in pointing out exactly how a director portrayed satiric intent and how the final result relates to the original literary source..
Booknews
Examines over four decades of satirical and dark comedy films adapted from novels and dramas, including The Horse's Mouth, Tom Jones, Dr. Strangelove, Catch-22, Day of the Locust, A Clockwork Orange, Prizzi's Honor, Full Metal Jacket, and Reuben, Reuben. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
Film Quarterly
Delivers a solid overview of the tradition of satire in our culture. McCaffrey has gone to particular effort to research pre-production scripts and other archival material when available...details prove helpful in pointing out exactly how a director portrayed satiric intent and how the final result relates to the original literary source.
Grand Forks [SD] Herald
...a firmly-founded study...Essential reading for serious students of film...[McCaffrey] is dealing with material closest to his heart. This book is his richest work.
Choice
...deftly organized...the analysis...is lucid and compelling...An immensely readable work that whets the intellectual curiosity for more on the subject.
Grand Forks [Sd] Herald
...a firmly-founded study...Essential reading for serious students of film...[McCaffrey] is dealing with material closest to his heart. This book is his richest work.
University Of Iowa Institute For Cinema and Culture
...a great topic and a glance at it makes me confident about the treatment.
CHOICE
...deftly organized...the analysis...is lucid and compelling...An immensely readable work that whets the intellectual curiosity for more on the subject.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810825079
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/1992
  • Pages: 293
  • Product dimensions: 5.66 (w) x 8.68 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald W. McCaffrey (Ph.D., Iowa), Professor of English at the University of North Dakota, is author of Four Great Comedians: Chaplin, Lloyd, Keaton, and Langdon; Focus on Chaplin; The Golden Age of Sound Comedy; and Three Classic Silent Screen Comedies Starring Harold Lloyd. He has interviewed Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, and Frank Capra and conducted seminars in the Near East and Africa for the State Department on the motion picture comedy.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Ch. 1 Birth Pangs of Film Satire 1
Ch. 2 Death for Profit and Graveside Humor 12
Ch. 3 War and Holocaust for Some Painful Laughter 36
Ch. 4 Corrupt and Crumbling Institutions 68
Ch. 5 Sex, Love, and Other Misalliances 103
Ch. 6 Rogues, Con Men, Madmen, and Assorted Deviants 128
Ch. 7 Wayward Youth and the Floundering Family 160
Ch. 8 Fable, Fantasy, Parody, and Outrageous Lampoons 195
Ch. 9 The Satirical Tradition Continues 232
Index 259
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