Movies About the Movies: Hollywood Reflected

Overview

Hundreds of Hollywood-on-Hollywood movies can be found throughout the history of American cinema, from the days of silents to the present. They include films from genres as far ranging as musical, film noir, melodrama, comedy, and action-adventure. Such movies seduce us with the promise of revealing the reality behind the camera. But, as part of the very industry they supposedly critique, they cannot take us behind the scenes in any true sense. Through close analysis of fifteen critically acclaimed films, ...

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Overview

Hundreds of Hollywood-on-Hollywood movies can be found throughout the history of American cinema, from the days of silents to the present. They include films from genres as far ranging as musical, film noir, melodrama, comedy, and action-adventure. Such movies seduce us with the promise of revealing the reality behind the camera. But, as part of the very industry they supposedly critique, they cannot take us behind the scenes in any true sense. Through close analysis of fifteen critically acclaimed films, Christopher Ames reveals how the idea of Hollywood is constructed and constructs itself. Films discussed: What Price Hollywood? (1952) A Star Is Born (1937) Stand-In (1937) Boy Meets Girl (1938) Sullivan's Travels (1941) In a Lonely Place (1950) Sunset Boulevard (1950) The Star (1950) Singin' in the Rain (1952) The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) Pennies from Heaven (1981) The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) The Player (1992) Last Action Hero (1993)

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Well written and thought-provoking." — Choice

"Offers a considerable degree of insight into the selected films.... Not only informative, but also written with a real enthusiasm for its subject." — Journal of Intercultural Studies

"This detailed, fascinating, and often sensitive book will send readers to the video store to see these works for the first time or to revisit them in a new light." — Library Journal

"Valuable for both its insights into the individual movies discussed as well as into broader issues dealing with Hollywood and with the film industry." — Louisville Courier Journal

Library Journal
Ames (English, Agnes Scott Coll.) sets the premise of his book in the introduction, claiming that Hollywood is a state of mind. If a film is set in Africa but made by a Hollywood studio, it is a Hollywood film, he argues, adding that "all films are about Hollywood, but some are explicitly set there." Ames divides his book into chapters that deal with specific types of stories set in Hollywood. Beginning with "Cautionary Tales," which features the 1934 version of A Star Is Born, he discusses actors and the allure of stardom. Later, he covers the movies' murder of writers, featuring Sunset Boulevard; the musical, detailing Singin' in the Rain; and comedy representations of the film industry and other themes. A total of 15 films are analyzed as essential to developing an understanding of how Hollywood is constructedand how it sees itself as being constructed. This detailed, fascinating, and often sensitive book will send readers to the video store to see these works for the first time or to revisit them in a new light. Highly recommended for all libraries, particularly academic, with serious film studies collections.Lisa N. Johnston, Sweet Briar College Lib., Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813109381
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 1/14/2008
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Hollywood Stories 1
1 Cautionary Tales 21
What Price Hollywood? (1932)
A Star Is Born (1937)
The Star (1952)
2 Singin' on the Screen 52
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
A Star Is Born (1954)
3 Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella 80
Sullivan's Travels (1941)
Pennies from Heaven (1981)
4 Screen Passages 108
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
Last Action Hero (1993)
5 No Business Like 137
Stand-In (1937)
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
6 Picturing Writers 164
Boy Meets Girl (1938)
In a Lonely Place (1950)
7 Offing the Writer 193
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
The Player (1992)
Epilogue: California Dreams 224
Appendix Film and Videotape Availability 227
Notes 228
Bibliography 238
Index 245
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