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A History of American Movies: A Film-by-Film Look at the Art, Craft, and Business of Cinema

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Motion pictures are made by various specialists in numerous crafts, including screen-writing, directing, producing, acting, cinematography, lighting, production design, sound recording, sound mixing, editing, and production management. And though making feature-length films is a collaborative effort, just how this collaboration works is usually ignored or glossed over in thinking and writing about what movies are and where they come from. In A History of American Movies: A Film-by-Film Look at the Art, Craft, and...

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A History of American Movies: A Film-by-Film Look at the Art, Craft, and Business of Cinema

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Overview

Motion pictures are made by various specialists in numerous crafts, including screen-writing, directing, producing, acting, cinematography, lighting, production design, sound recording, sound mixing, editing, and production management. And though making feature-length films is a collaborative effort, just how this collaboration works is usually ignored or glossed over in thinking and writing about what movies are and where they come from. In A History of American Movies: A Film-by-Film Look at the Art, Craft, and Business of Cinema, Paul Monaco provides a survey of narrative feature films from the 1920s to the present. The book focuses on 170 of the most highly regarded and recognized films selected by the Hollywood establishment: each Oscar winner for Best Picture, as well as those voted the greatest by members of the American Film Institute.

By concentrating on a select group of films, Monaco provides an essential history of one of the modern world's most complex and successful cultural institutions-Hollywood. Divided into three parts ("Classic Hollywood, 1927-1948," "Hollywood in Transition, 1949-1974," and "New Hollywood, 1975-2009"), A History of American Movies examines some of the most memorable works in cinematic history, including The General, Wings, Bringing Up Baby, Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, On the Waterfront, The Searchers, Psycho, West Side Story, The Godfather, Cabaret, Raging Bull, Rain Man, Toy Story, and Saving Private Ryan.

This is the only book that thoroughly treats Hollywood-and its most significant movies-simultaneously as an art, a craft, and a business. Monaco's approach provides unique insight into the workings of one of the most accomplished and successful art forms-the Hollywood feature films.

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Editorial Reviews

American Reference Books Annual (ARBA)
Paul Monaco has created an intriguing look at the history of the American movie industry and the movies it created….a comprehensive look at the fascinating development of American filmmaking from a nascent technology to a multi-billion dollar industry and culture-maker….Schools with active film studies departments or strong interest in film from other departments will find this work especially relevant for their circulating collection, if not for their reference collections.
May-August 2010 American Reference Books Annual
Paul Monaco has created an intriguing look at the history of the American movie industry and the movies it created….a comprehensive look at the fascinating development of American filmmaking from a nascent technology to a multi-billion dollar industry and culture-maker….Schools with active film studies departments or strong interest in film from other departments will find this work especially relevant for their circulating collection, if not for their reference collections.
Communication Booknotes Quarterly
A History of American Movies: A Film-by-Film Look at the Art, Craft, and Business of Cinema explains how the collaboration among screen-writers, directors, producers, actors, cinematographers designers, sound recorders, and mixers, editors, and production management teams "works." The complexity of movies as art, craft, and business is explained using Best Picture 'scar winners and American Film Institute "greatest" narrative feature films from the 1920s to the present.
Library Journal
Considering the films that won the Academy Award for Best Picture from 1927 to 2008 and the American Film Institute's "Greatest American Films" listed in 1996 and 2006, Monaco (cinema/video, Montana State Univ.; Understanding Society, Culture, and Television) has injudiciously divided American cinema into three eras—"Classic Hollywood (1927-48)," "Hollywood in Transition (1949-74)," and "New Hollywood" (1975 to the present). There are also sections about the founding of the studio system, a handful of classic silent films, and the coming of sound. For each era, Monaco attempts to encapsulate the genres, leading directors, dominant studios, and the best films. As he discusses the films, he proffers brief plot summaries, production background, and information about those involved in making the films, budgets, critical reviews (from which he liberally quotes), and public receptions. Verdict There is little here that has not appeared in a plethora of preceding works, and Monaco tends to write in clichés. Readers looking for an introduction to film history might instead turn to Robert Sklar's Movie-Made America: A Cultural History of American Movies.—Roy Liebman, California State Univ., Los Angeles

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810874343
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/16/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.11 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Monaco is professor of Cinema/Video at Montana State University. He is the author of Understanding Society, Culture, and Television (2000) and The Sixties: 1960-1969 volume in The History of American Cinema Series (2003).

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

Part I Classic Hollywood, 1927-1948

1 Establishing Hollywood 3

2 Early Synchronous Sound 23

3 Classic Hollywood Takes Form 43

4 Banner Years 59

5 Red, White, Blue, and Noir 83

6 Postwar Triumphs and Reversals 97

Part II Hollywood in Transition, 1949-1974

7 Postwar Unravelings 115

8 Declining Audiences and Initial Responses 141

9 Hollywood on the Ropes 161

10 Indications of Revival 179

11 Conglomerate Control, Movie Brats, and Creativity 195

Part III New Hollywood, 1975-2009

12 Origins of Hollywood Divided 217

13 Mixed Styles, Mixed Messages 233

14 Hollywood in the 1980s 245

15 New Hollywood Enters the Digital Age 273

16 Hollywood Enters the Twenty-First Century 313

Conclusion 335

Selected Bibliography 339

Index 341

About the Author 349

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