Hollywood Spectatorship: Changing Perceptions of Cinema Audiences

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Overview

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Theoretical notions of the cinema spectator have been at the center of film studies and criticism over the last two decades. This book re-examines concepts of spectatorship in the light of historical accounts of audience reception exploring how historical audiences have talked about Hollywood movies, and the ways in which this word-of-mouth response has affected the reception of individual movies and Hollywood in general.
A range of international contributors examine issues as diverse as the history of historical reception studies, genre and cultural authority, audience and promotional discourses, and the degree to which the critical "talk" generated by institutions of censorship or government limited the interpretative possibilities available to audiences. The book also explores issues of race and spectatorship, including the way in which James Baldwin related to the image of Bette Davies on screen through the constraints of his own race and sexuality. Hollywood Spectatorship also looks at the modern spectator as a domestic connoisseur, how in the last decade s/he has become as much an auditor as viewer and how the arrival of new technologies has brought about a new "hyper-spectator" in effect challenging received notions of the spectator and reception.
Discussing a range of films including The Silence of the Lambs, Fantasia, All About Eve and On the Beach, Hollywood Spectatorship represents a challenging reassessment of the significance of spectatorship within film criticism and interpretation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780851708119
  • Publisher: BFI Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.76 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors
Preface
Introduction: Historical Hollywood Spectatorship 1
Pt. 1 Talking Pictures: The Reception of Hollywood
1 Writing the History of American Film Reception 19
2 Genre and the Audience: Genre Classifications and Cultural Distinctions in the Mediation of The Silence of the Lambs 33
3 Interpreting All About Eve: A Study in Historical Reception 46
4 The Fall and Rise of Fantasia 63
5 Changing Perceptions of the Movies: American Catholics Debate Film Censorship 79
6 Historical Spectatorship Around and About Stanley Kramer's On the Beach 91
Pt. 2 The Spectator Reviewed
7 'Green Like Me' 105
8 The Sonic Playground: Hollywood Cinema and its Listeners 121
9 The Contemporary Cinephile: Film Collecting in the Post-Video Era 132
10 Virtual Hollywood and the Genealogy of its Hyper-Spectator 152
Index 164
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