Amid the turbulence of political assassinations, the civil rights struggle, and antiwar protests, American society was experiencing growing affluence and profound cultural change during the 1960s. The film industry gradually redirected its energies, resulting in a distinctive break from traditional business and stylistic practice and emergence of a new "cinema of sensation." Feature films became faster-paced and more graphic, the antihero took his place alongside the classic Hollywood hero, and "downer" films like Midnight Cowboy proved as popular as those with upbeat fare. Paul Monaco gives a sweeping view of this exhilarating decade, ranging from the visceral sensation of Bonnie and Clyde, to the comic-book satire of Dr. Strangelove, to the youthful alienation of The Graduate.
Nowhere was the cultural upheaval of the 1960s more dramatically expressed than in the motion picture industry. Groundbreaking films such as The Wild Bunch, Dr. Strangelove, and Easy Rider marked a sharp contrast to the predominately tame, conventional fare of the previous decade. Monaco (cinema and video, Montana State Univ.) skillfully delineates this transformation. While the big studio system faded, the old downtown movie theaters and outdoor drive-ins were gradually replaced by a proliferation of multiplexes owned by corporate conglomerates. Adherence to the time-honored Hollywood "Production Code" significantly relaxed, resulting in more sexually frank films, such as Blow-Up and I Am Curious (Yellow), and an increase in screen violence, exemplified by Bonnie and Clyde. The author provides detailed analyses of the technical aspects of filmmaking innovations and advances in editing, such as the jump-cuts and fast/slow motion so effectively used in A Hard Day's Night. He also explores the changes in soundtrack music, caused by the termination of studios' in-house orchestras, and the disappointments of the avant-garde film genre. Highly recommended for cinema collections. Richard W. Grefrath, Univ. of Nevada Lib., Reno Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Monaco (cinema/video, Montana State U., Bozeman) examines the over- arching issues of this tumultuous period, such as competition with other leisure activities, transformation of the theater, changes in production, the arrival of conglomerates, as well as the transformations of elements standard to the media: camera shots, screen size, editing techniques, production codes, and popular types in actors and actresses. The book includes chapters by Richard Barsam (film studies, Hunter College CUNY) and Walter Metz (motion pictures, MSU, Bozeman) on non-fiction and avant-garde, respectively. Illustrated with many b&w photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Paul Monaco is Professor of Cinema/Video at Montana State University, Bozeman. Among his books are Understanding Society, Culture, and Television (1998) and Ribbons in Time: Movies and Society since 1945 (1987). He has twice received Fulbright fellowships to Germany.