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In this vivid portrait of their historic and present-day contributions, Jesse Rhines explores the roles African American men and ...
In this vivid portrait of their historic and present-day contributions, Jesse Rhines explores the roles African American men and women have played in the motion picture business from 1915 to the present. He illuminates his discussion by carefully linking the history of early Black filmmaking to the current success of African American filmmakers and examines how African Americans have been affected by changes that have taken place in the industry as a whole. He focuses on the crucial role of distribution companies, the difficulty of raising money for production, the compromises that directors and writers must make to get funding, and the effect of negative, sensationalistic images on the Black community.
Rhines surveys significant eras in film history and their impact on African Americans, from the silent era through the emergence of the Black-owned Lincoln Motion Picture Company, and the later introduction of sound, to the postwar era, the antitrust suit against Paramount Pictures, the introduction of television, and blaxploitation movies. Rhines interviews many well-known directors, including Spike Lee and Reginald Hudlin, and producer Grace Blake, giving readers an inside look at how deal-making does--or does not--work.
|Ch. 1||Distribution, Production, and Exhibition||8|
|Ch. 2||The Silent Era||14|
|Ch. 3||Depression and World War II||28|
|Ch. 4||The Negro Cycle through Blaxploitation: 1945-1974||36|
|Ch. 5||Blockbusters and Independents: 1975 to the Present||51|
|Ch. 6||Employment Discrimination||79|
|Ch. 7||Black Women in the System||88|
|Ch. 8||Unintended Collusion: The Case of Spike Lee||103|
|Ch. 9||The Struggle Continues behind the Camera||136|
Posted July 15, 2007
Rutgers professor Jesse Rhines writes a compelling history of the involvement of African-Americans in the U.S. film industry from its developing years up to the 1990s, and the struggles black filmmakers faced attempting to bring their vision to the big screen. Unfortunately, Rhines' book is marred by his conclusion, that the collapse of the Hollywood blockbuster (he finished the book just as Schwarzeneggar's 'Last Action Hero' was flopping) would usher in a new era of independent film. It's 15 years later, and the blockbuster shows no sign of disappearing, while independent films (at least those not released by an 'indie arm' of an established studio like Fox Searchlight or Sony Picture Classics) continue to struggle to make it into general release. The book really needs an updated edition, if only to correct Rhines' erroneous conclusions and predictionsWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 28, 2002
I have had the pleasure of having Dr. Jesse Rhines as a professor for three years at Rutgers-Newark. He is not only a thought-provoking and one-in-a-million professor but an excellent writer. His book has educated me in more ways about race, the film industry, and the movie-going public than any other article or book has. It is a must-read for anyone interested in racial dynamics or the film industry. As a graduate of both Rutgers' undergraduate English and African and African-American Studies programs and a current graduate student, I must recommend this book as a must read for student and teacher alike. I have lended out my copy of his book many times and have encouraged the borrowers to buy their own!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.