A History of the American Film

Overview

Musical / 9m, 6f / Various Sets
A hilarious take off on American films, especially from the 1930s through the 1970s. The principals play a variety of characters. There is a Cagney Bogart Dean Brando type-- and a Fonda Stewart Peck Perkins type. The women, too, are types-- basically Bette Davis, Loretta Young and Eve Arden. The parts they play are wild parodies from many Hollywood genres; a silent tearjerker, slum idyll, gangster epic, courtroom melodrama, chain gang social ...
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Overview

Musical / 9m, 6f / Various Sets
A hilarious take off on American films, especially from the 1930s through the 1970s. The principals play a variety of characters. There is a Cagney Bogart Dean Brando type-- and a Fonda Stewart Peck Perkins type. The women, too, are types-- basically Bette Davis, Loretta Young and Eve Arden. The parts they play are wild parodies from many Hollywood genres; a silent tearjerker, slum idyll, gangster epic, courtroom melodrama, chain gang social justice thriller, screwball comedy, Busby Berkeley backstage musical, war propaganda canteen musical-- not to forget "Casablanca," "Citizen Kane" and a variety of minor genres.
"Christopher Durang has written one of the funniest, zaniest, most entertaining plays of the last decade...What we see is the American way of life reflected through a distortion mirror...It's true that Durang has serious points to make...but this is no message play, thank goodness. Most everything in it is pure, unadulterated, uproarious fun....[Durang's] witty comedy about the movies is a splendid, constantly surprising treat."
- Stanley Eichelbaum, San Francisco Examiner
"A grand popular entertainment. A significant act of film criticism as well as wise social commentary. Mr. Durang has the waggishness of four Marxes and the malice of Jonathan Swift. Through the history of the American film, we see a history of America - the turn from patriotism to cynicism, from optimism to sensationalism...The clown-sharp company of comic actors strikes precisely the correct stance - total conviction and not camp...A History of the American Film is an A-movie, a glorious montage of myth-America.
- Mel Gussow, The New York Times
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Editorial Reviews

Village Voice
The special gifts Durang brings to this work, apart from a sharp eye for genre parody are a sense of the misguided way we watch movies - making stars, ignoring the character in favour of the actor, wallowing in the kitschier moments - and an equally lethal sense of how Hollywood played on our sentimentalities by using the actor and the kitsch forms to put junky ideas across
New York Times
Authentic, inspired and possessed comedy ... A very funny carnival.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780573680892
  • Publisher: Samuel French, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/11/2010
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 4.80 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

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