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Looking Past the Screen: Case Studies in American Film History and Method
     

Looking Past the Screen: Case Studies in American Film History and Method

by Jon Lewis, Eric Smoodin, Dana Polan, Shelley Stamp
 

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ISBN-10: 0822338211

ISBN-13: 9780822338215

Pub. Date: 10/22/2007

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

Film scholarship has long been dominated by textual interpretations of specific films. Looking Past the Screen advances a more expansive American film studies in which cinema is understood to be a social, political, and cultural phenomenon extending far beyond the screen. Presenting a model of film studies in which films themselves are only one source of

Overview

Film scholarship has long been dominated by textual interpretations of specific films. Looking Past the Screen advances a more expansive American film studies in which cinema is understood to be a social, political, and cultural phenomenon extending far beyond the screen. Presenting a model of film studies in which films themselves are only one source of information among many, this volume brings together film histories that draw on primary sources including collections of personal papers, popular and trade journalism, fan magazines, studio publications, and industry records.

Focusing on Hollywood cinema from the teens to the 1970s, these case studies show the value of this extraordinary range of historical materials in developing interdisciplinary approaches to film stardom, regulation, reception, and production. The contributors examine State Department negotiations over the content of American films shown abroad; analyze the star image of Clara Smith Hamon, who was notorious for having murdered her lover; and consider film journalists’ understanding of the arrival of auteurist cinema in Hollywood as it was happening during the early 1970s. One contributor chronicles the development of film studies as a scholarly discipline; another offers a sociopolitical interpretation of the origins of film noir. Still another brings to light Depression-era film reviews and Production Code memos so sophisticated in their readings of representations of sexuality that they undermine the perception that queer interpretations of film are a recent development. Looking Past the Screen suggests methods of historical research, and it encourages further thought about the modes of inquiry that structure the discipline of film studies.

Contributors. Mark Lynn Anderson, Janet Bergstrom, Richard deCordova, Kathryn Fuller-Seeley, Sumiko Higashi, Jon Lewis, David M. Lugowski, Dana Polan, Eric Schaefer, Andrea Slane, Eric Smoodin, Shelley Stamp

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822338215
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
10/22/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: The History of Film History / Eric Smoodin 1

I. Institutional Histories 35

The Beginning of American Film Study / Dana Polan 37

The Perfect Money Machine(s): George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Auteurism in the New Hollywood / Jon Lewis 61

II. Star Studies 87

Lois Weber and the Celebrity of Matronly Respectability / Shelley Stamp 89

Tempting Fate: Clara Smith Hamon, or, The Secretary as Producer / Mark Lynn Anderson 117

The Crafting of a Political Icon: Lola Lola on Paper / Andrea Slane 151

III. Regulation 167

Going Hollywood Sooner or Later: Chinese Censorship and The Bitter Tea of General Yen / Eric Smoodin 169

Plain Brown Wrapper: Adult Films for the Home Market, 1930-1969 / Eric Schaefer 201

IV. Reception 227

Ethnography and Exhibition: The Child Audience, The Hays Office, and Saturday Matinees / Richard deCordova 229

Dish Night at the Movies: Exhibitor Promotions and Female Audiences during the Great Depression / Kathryn H. Fuller-Seeley 246

“A Treatise on Decay”: Liberal and Leftist Critics and Their Queer Readings of Depression-Era U.S. Film / David M. Lugowski 276

V. Production 301

Murnau in America: Chronicle of Lost Films (4 Devils, City Girl) / Janet Bergstrom 303

The American Origins of Film Noir: Realism in Urban Art and The Naked City / Sumiko Higashi 353

Bibliography 381

Contributors 397

Index 401

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