Mob Culture: Hidden Histories of the American Gangster Film

Overview

Sinister, swaggering, yet often sympathetic, the figure of the gangster has stolen and murdered its way into the hearts of American cinema audiences. Despite the enduring popularity of the gangster film, however, traditional criticism has focused almost entirely on a few canonical movies such as Little Caesar, Public Enemy, and The Godfather trilogy, resulting in a limited and distorted understanding of this diverse and changing genre.

Mob Culture offers a long-awaited, fresh ...

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2005 Hard cover Illustrated. ABSOLUELY BRAND NEW (gift quality)! ! /no dust jacket as issued/a small publisher's mark at bottom Glued binding. Paper over boards. Contains: ... Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Sinister, swaggering, yet often sympathetic, the figure of the gangster has stolen and murdered its way into the hearts of American cinema audiences. Despite the enduring popularity of the gangster film, however, traditional criticism has focused almost entirely on a few canonical movies such as Little Caesar, Public Enemy, and The Godfather trilogy, resulting in a limited and distorted understanding of this diverse and changing genre.

Mob Culture offers a long-awaited, fresh look at the American gangster film, exposing its hidden histories from the Black Hand gangs of the early twentieth century to The Sopranos. Departing from traditional approaches that have typically focused on the "nature" of the gangster, the editors have collected essays that engage the larger question of how the meaning of criminality has changed over time. Grouped into three thematic sections, the essays examine gangster films through the lens of social, gender, and racial/ethnic issues.

Destined to become a classroom favorite, Mob Culture is an indispensable reference for future work in the genre.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813535562
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2005
  • Pages: 326
  • Product dimensions: 6.56 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author


Lee Grieveson is the director of the graduate program in film studies at University College London and the author of Policing Cinema: Movies and Censorship in Early-Twentieth-Century America.

Esther Sonnet is a principal lecturer at the University of Portsmouth and has published numerous articles on contemporary film, gender, and sexuality.

Peter Stanfield is a senior lecturer in film studies at the University of Kent at Canterbury and the author of Hollywood, Westerns and the 1930s: The Lost Trail.

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Table of Contents

Gangsters and governance in the silent era 13
Why boys go wrong : gangsters, hoodlums, and the natural history of delinquent careers 41
Gang busters : the Kefauver crime committee and the syndicate films of the 1950s 67
Ladies love brutes : reclaiming female pleasures in the lost history of Hollywood gangster cycles, 1929-1931 93
A gunsel is being beaten : gangster masculinity and the homoerotics of the crime film, 1941-1942 120
Mother Barker : film star and public enemy no. 1 146
"Good evening gentlemen; can I check your hats please?" : masculinity, dress, and the retro gangster cycles of the 1990s 163
Waddaya lookin' at? : rereading the gangster film through the Sopranos 185
Black hands and white hearts : Southern Italian immigrants, crime, and race in early American cinema 207
"American as chop suey" : invocations of gangsters in Chinatown, 1920-1936 238
The underworld films of Oscar Micheaux and Ralph Cooper; toward a genealogy of the black screen gangster 263
Walking the streets : black gangsters and the "abandoned city" in the 1970s blaxploitation cycle 281
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