Hollywood's America / Edition 1

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Overview


American motion pictures still dominate the world market with an impact that is difficult to measure. Their role in American culture has been a powerful one since the 1930s and is a hallmark of our culture today. Though much has been written about the film industry, there has been very little systematic attention paid to the ideology of its creative elite. How does the outlook of that elite impact on the portrayals of America that appear on the screen? How do their views interact with the demands of the market and the structure of the industry to determine the product that is seen by mass audiences?Hollywood’s America is a marvelously rich and careful discussion of these questions. It combines a meticulous systematic content analysis of fifty years of top-grossing films with a history of the changing structure of the industry. To that mixture it adds an in-depth survey of Hollywood’s creative elite, comparing them to other leadership groups. The result is a balanced discussion of unique breadth and depth on a subject of national importance.Placing the film industry in the context of American society as a whole, the authors point out that Hollywood’s creative leadership impacts the larger society even as it is influenced by that society. The creators of films cannot remove themselves too far from the values of the audiences that they serve. However, the fact that films are made by a relatively small number of people, who, as the authors demonstrate, tend to share a common outlook, means that, over time, motion pictures have had an undeniable impact on the beliefs, lifestyles, and action of Americans.This study contributes to the debate over the role and influence of those who create and distribute the products of mass culture in the United States.The book also contains a devastating critique of the poststructuralist theories that currently dominate academic film criticism, demonstrating how they fail in their attempt to explain the political significance of motion pictures.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
An analysis of the social and political themes in motion pictures from 1946 to the present basing its methodology on the work of Harold Lasswell who theorized that key elites would concentrate on the creation and distribution of symbols for either knowledge or entertainment in the 20th century. Of course, Hollywood is the logical petri dish for testing such sociological theories and the authors offer original, non-Marxist, non-postmodern commentary on the history and politics of the motion picture industry, its leadership, and shifts in perspectives regarding the military, the police, violence, religion, class, gender, and minorities. The appendix supplies an interesting argument against poststructuralist theory aptly titled the "poverty of film theory." Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813329338
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Lexile: 1440L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 0.72 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Stephen Powers is a research associate at the Center for the Study of Social and Political Change at Smith College. David J. Rothman holds a Ph.D. in English with a concentration on Poetics from New York University. He teaches English at Western State College of Colorado, in Gunnison, and lives with his family in nearby Crested Butte. Stanley Rothman coauthor of American Elites (1996) among numerous books, is director of the Center for the Study of Social and Political Change and is Mary Huggins Gamble Professor of Government Emeritus at Smith College. Stephen Powers is a research associate at the Center for the Study of Social and Political Change at Smith College. David J. Rothman holds a Ph.D. in English with a concentration on Poetics from New York University. He teaches English at Western State College of Colorado, in Gunnison, and lives with his family in nearby Crested Butte. Stanley Rothman coauthor of American Elites (1996) among numerous books, is director of the Center for the Study of Social and Political Change and is Mary Huggins Gamble Professor of Government Emeritus at Smith College. Stephen Powers is a research associate at the Center for the Study of Social and Political Change at Smith College. David J. Rothman holds a Ph.D. in English with a concentration on Poetics from New York University. He teaches English at Western State College of Colorado, in Gunnison, and lives with his family in nearby Crested Butte. Stanley Rothman coauthor of American Elites (1996) among numerous books, is director of the Center for the Study of Social and Political Change and is Mary Huggins Gamble Professor of Government Emeritus at Smith College.
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Table of Contents

List of Tables
Preface
1 Studying Hollywood 1
2 Hollywood's History and the Politics of Motion Pictures 14
3 The New Hollywood Elite: A Profile 40
4 Hollywood Views the Military 81
5 Crime, Violence, and the Police 101
6 Religious Decline? 120
7 Hollywood's Class Act 138
8 The Politics of Gender 153
9 A New Deal for Minorities? 172
10 Box Office Hits: 1990-1994 188
11 Hollywood and the Moviemakers 195
App. A. The Poverty of Film Theory 217
App. B. The Interview Sample 251
App. C. The Movie Sample and Content Analysis 257
References 272
About the Book and Authors 287
Index 289
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