Going to the Movies: Hollywood and the Social Experience of the Cinema

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A nickelodeon screening a Charlie Chaplin silent classic, the downtown arthouse cinemas that made Antonioni and Cassavetes household names, the modern suburban megaplex and its sold-out Friday night blockbuster: how American and global audiences have viewed movies is as rich a part of cinematic history as what we’ve seen on the silver screen. Going to the Movies considers the implications of this social and cultural history through an analysis of the diverse historical and geographical circumstances in which audiences have viewed American cinema. Featuring a distinguished group of film scholars—including Richard Abel, Annette Kuhn, Jane Gaines, and Thomas Doherty—whose interests range broadly across time and place, this volume analyzes the role of movie theatres in local communities, the links between film and other entertainment media, non-theatrical exhibition, and trends arising from the globalization of audiences. Emphasizing moviegoing outside of the northeastern United States, as well as the complexities of race in relation to cinema attendance, Going to the Movies appeals to the global citizen of cinema—locating the moviegoing experience in its appeal to the heart and mind of the audience, whether it’s located in a South African shanty town or the screening room of a Hollywood production lot.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780859898126
  • Publisher: University of Exeter Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2008
  • Series: UEP - Exeter Studies in Film History
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Maltby is professor of screen studies at Flinders University, South Australia and series editor for Exeter Studies in Film History. Melvyn Stokes teaches at University College, London. Robert C. Allen is professor of American studies, history, and communications at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Notes on Contributors



Richard Maltby and Melvyn Stokes

Part I: Studies of Local Cinema Exhibition

1. Race, Region, and Rusticity: Relocating U.S. Film History

Robert C. Allen

2. Tri-racial Theaters in Robeson County, North Carolina, 1896-1940

Christopher J. McKenna

3. The White in the Race Movie Audience

Jane M. Gaines

4. Sundays in Norfolk: Toward a Protestant Utopia Through Film Exhibition in Norfolk, Virginia, 1910-1920

Terry Lindvall

5. Patchwork Maps of Moviegoing, 1911-1913

Richard Abel

6. Next Year at the Moving Pictures: Cinema and Social Change in the Jewish Immigrant Community

Judith Thissen

7. ‘Four Hours of Hootin’ and Hollerin’’: Moviegoing and Everyday Life Outside of the Movie Palace

Jeffrey Klenotic

8. Cinemagoing in the United States in the mid-1930s: A Study Based on the Variety Dataset

Mark Glancy and John Sedgwick

9. Race Houses, Jim Crow Roosts, and Lily White Palaces: Desegregating the Motion Picture Theater

Thomas Doherty

Part II: Other Cinema: Alternatives to Theatrical Exhibition

10. The Reel of the Month Club: 16mm Projectors, Home Theaters and Film Libraries in the 1920s

Haidee Wasson

11.  Early Art Cinema in the U.S.: Symon Gould and the Little Cinema Movement of the 1920s

Anne Morey

12. Free Talking Picture—Every Farmer is Welcome: Non-theatrical Film and Everyday Life in Rural America during the 1930s

Gregory A. Waller

13. Cinema’s Shadow: Reconsidering Non-theatrical Exhibition

Barbara Klinger

Part III: Hollywood Movies in Broader Perspective: Audiences at Home and Abroad

14. Changing Images of Movie Audiences

Richard Butsch

15. ‘Healthy Films from America’: The Emergence of a Catholic Film Mass Movement in Belgium and the Realm of Hollywood, 1928-1939

Daniel Biltereyst

16. The Child Audience and the ‘Horrific’ Film in the 1930s Britain

Annette Kuhn

17. Hollywood in Vernacular: Translation and Cross-cultural Reception of American Films in Turkey

Ahmet Gürata

18. Cowboy Modern: African Audiences, Hollywood Films and Visions of the West

Charles Ambler

19. ‘Opening Everywhere’: Multiplexes and the Speed of Cinema Culture

Charles R. Acland

20. ‘Cinema Come to Life at the Cornerhouse, Nottingham’: ‘American’ Exhibition, Local Politics and Global Culture in the Construction of the Urban Entertainment Centre

Mark Jancovich



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