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Celluloid Power: Social Film Criticism From the Birth of a Nation to Judgment at Nuremberg

Overview

In this unique anthology of social criticism, David Platt reprints the insightful contributions of more than fifty screenwriters, directors, producers, historians, and critics?men and women, radical and liberal, including not a few former political prisoners, deportees, and exiles?on diverse films from the earliest years of the film industry through the 1970s. Documentary films are included, and close attention is paid to nationalities and minorities. Among the contributors are Maxim Gorky, David Platt, Anthony ...

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Overview

In this unique anthology of social criticism, David Platt reprints the insightful contributions of more than fifty screenwriters, directors, producers, historians, and critics—men and women, radical and liberal, including not a few former political prisoners, deportees, and exiles—on diverse films from the earliest years of the film industry through the 1970s. Documentary films are included, and close attention is paid to nationalities and minorities. Among the contributors are Maxim Gorky, David Platt, Anthony Slide, Lewis Milestone, Jay Leyda, Kevin Brownlow, Harry Alan Potamkin, S.M. Einstein, Lewis Jacobs, Leo Seltzer, Albert Maltz, Ring Lardner, Jr., Jean Renoir, Abraham Polonsky, Lorraine Hansberry, Gale Sondergaard, Dalton Trumbo, Arthur Knight, and many others.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
In addition to pieces by neglected critics he has also included firsthand accounts by filmmakers and distributors....Equally important is his rescue from obscurity of essays with a social, if not specifically political angle....Recommended...
Film Review Annual
A scholarly and important collection...
CHOICE
In addition to pieces by neglected critics he has also included firsthand accounts by filmmakers and distributors....Equally important is his rescue from obscurity of essays with a social, if not specifically political angle....Recommended...
Library Journal
This tribute to the primal magic and incendiarism of screen images is dedicated to those blacklisted in the McCarthy era, reminding us that our cineplex entertainments descend from films with the creative power to make governments sweat. Many of the films touched upon are now recognized as great but have had to survive ``the cold stab of the censor'' or even the persecution or imprisonment of their makers. As a celebration of artistic and intellectual aspiration in the face of perennial injustice, this book deserves a place in all serious film book collections.-- Brian Geary, West Seneca, N.Y.
Booknews
An anthology of reprinted contributions by some 50 screenwriters, directors, producers, historians, and critics. Documentary films are included, and close attention is paid to nationalities and minorities. Among the contributors are Maxim Gorky, S.M. Eisenstein, Anthony Slide, Kevin Brownlow, Albert Maltz, Ring Lardner, Jr., Jean Renoir, Lorraine Hansberry, Gale Sondergaard, Dalton Trumbo, and Arthur Knight. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810824423
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/1992
  • Pages: 652
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.68 (h) x 1.79 (d)

Meet the Author

David Platt, a self-educated film journalist who was born in the Ukraine and grew up in Pennsylvania, founded the journal Experimantal Cinema in 1930 and wrote hundreds of film reviews for the Daily Worker and Jewish Currents between 1933 and 1990. As National Secretary of the Film and Photo League he edited its journal, Film Front, reprinted by Scarecrow Press in 1986 (Anthony Slide, ed.).

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Table of Contents

Preface
Pt. I The Earliest Years
1 World Without Sound: The 1896 Lumiere Film Program 3
2 The Portrayal of China and India on the American Screen, 1896-1955 8
3 Siegmund Lubin: The Forgotten Filmmaker 33
4 A Channel for Democratic Thought 52
5 Sholem Aleichem and Charlie Chaplin 66
6 The Impact of Griffith's Birth of a Nation on the Modern Ku Klux Klan 72
7 The Sixtieth Anniversary of Griffith's Intolerance 83
8 American Propaganda Films of the First World War 90
9 Chaplin's Shoulder Arms (The Mirror-Cracking Sequence) 95
10 The Red Scare Film Cycle 101
Pt. II The 1920s Prosperity Era
11 A Filmography of Oscar Micheaux: America's Legendary Black Filmmaker 113
12 The Reign of the Director 142
13 Portrait of Asta Nielsen 145
14 Von Stroheim and Realism 151
15 Blood, Sweat, Tears 155
16 Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Jeanne d'Arc 163
17 A New Look at Eisenstein's Potemkin 168
18 King Vidor's The Crowd 176
19 Pudovkin's Storm Over Asia and Griffith's Lincoln 181
Pt. III Social Awakening - the 1930s
20 Eisenstein in Paris in 1930: An Eyewitness Report 187
21 Manifesto on [actual symbol not reproducible]Que Viva Mexico! (1934) 193
22 [actual symbol not reproducible]Que Viva Mexico! Original Scenario 197
23 All Quiet on the Western Front and Cabin in the Cotton: Reviews 220
24 I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang and They Won't Forget 223
25 John Ford's The Informer (1934) 225
26 Paul Strand's Mexican Film Redes (1935) 229
27 Fritz Lang and Fury (1936) 234
28 Survival List: Films of the Great Depression 240
29 Documenting the Depression of the 1930s: The Work of the Film and Photo League 252
30 One Man's Voyage: Ideas and Films in the 1930s 261
31 Joris Ivens' Spanish Earth (1937) 282
32 Fifty Years of Political Filmmaking: An Interview with Joris Ivens 285
33 The Good Fight: The Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War 297
34 Jean Renoir's Grand Illusion 305
35 William Dieterle's Blockade 308
36 John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath 316
37 Four Million Dollars Worth of Wind: David Selznick's Gone with the Wind 324
38 How the Screen Writers Formed a Union in 1933 328
39 Professor Mamlock and Other Soviet Anti-Nazi Films 331
40 Dziga Vertov's Three Songs of Lenin 337
Pt. IV War, Post-War, and McCarthyism
41 Chaplin's The Great Dictator 343
42 Orson Welles' Citizen Kane 349
43 World War II and the American Film 356
44 The Screen and the Holocaust 369
45 The Sign of the Boss: Cecil De Mille, Union Buster 383
46 Chaplin Among the Immortals 395
47 The Best Years of Our Lives 402
48 Some of My Worst Friends: Motion Pictures and Anti-Semitism 408
49 The Hollywood Witchhunt of 1947: A Thirtieth Anniversary 420
50 Elia Kazan and Viva Zapata! 439
51 Oliver Twist and Anti-Semitism 453
52 The Case of the Invisible Force: Images of the Negro in Hollywood Films 457
53 The United States vs. Charlie Chaplin 467
54 Breaking Ground: The Making of Salt of the Earth 478
55 Salt of the Earth 485
56 "Do Not Forgive Them, For They Know What They Do" 491
57 Letters on the Hollywood Blacklist 494
Pt. V The 1960s and 1970s
58 Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove (1964) 505
59 Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun 509
60 Filmmakers Discover "New" Native Americans 513
61 The Defiance in The Defiant Ones 519
62 Union Films: An Interview with Carl Marzani 524
63 Hollywood and the Myth of the Working Class 535
64 Independent Film and Working-Class History: A Review of Northern Lights and The Wobblies 545
65 Who Killed Marilyn Monroe? 558
66 Looking Back from 1983: Soviet Films After World War II 564
67 Judgment at Nuremberg: An Indictment 577
68 Claude Lanzmann's Shoah: Annihilation 582
Final Words 587
Contributors 589
Name Index 611
Film Index 623
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