Vincente Minnelli: The Art of Entertainment

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Widely known for innovative films like Meet Me in St. Louis, An American in Paris, and The Band Wagon, Vincente Minnelli also directed classic film comedies like Father of the Bride and Designing Woman, and melodramas such as The Bad and the Beautiful and Some Came Running. Though his work is beloved by filmmakers and audiences alike, Minnelli has nonetheless received very little critical attention in English. Vincente Minnelli: The Art of Entertainment remedies this imbalance, offering the first-ever comprehensive and scholarly examination of Minnelli’s career within a variety of discourses and methods.

Bringing together a number of previously uncollected and untranslated essays by some of the most important scholars and critics in North America, Australia, and Europe, Vincente Minnelli: The Art of Entertainment places Minnelli’s cinema in its rightful position at the forefront of film history. In essays written over the last five decades, as well as a number of new essays commissioned especially for this volume, contributors consider Minnelli from a number of perspectives from auteurism to genre studies and psychoanalysis to close textual analysis. The volume is divided into four chronological sections, Minnelli in the 1960s: The Rise and Fall of an Auteur; The 1970s and 1980s: Genre, Psychoanalysis, and Close Readings; The 1990s: Matters of History, Culture, and Sexuality; and Minnelli Today: The Return of the Artist. An introduction by Joe McElhaney addresses the history of the reception of Minnelli’s films, situating this reception within larger questions of film theory, criticism, and aesthetics.

Too often dismissed as little more than a stylist dependent on the resources of the studio system and the structures of genre, Vincente Minnelli deserves a second look from serious film scholars. Vincente Minnelli: The Art of Entertainment demonstrates the remarkable and sustained rigor of Minnelli’s vision and will appeal to students and teachers of film studies as well as fans of Minnelli’s work.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Vincente Minnelli's long directing career included films ranging from Cabin in the Sky to Meet Me in St. Louis and An American in Paris, but in his lifetime he didn't receive the popular acclaim enjoyed by many others in the industry. Two new books offer well-deserved tributes to his artistic accomplishments. Levy (film, Univ. of California Los Angeles; Cinema of Outsiders: The Rise of American Independent Film) provides an engrossing and carefully researched biography of Minnelli, tracing his life and career from his work at the Radio City Music Hall and on Broadway to his decades-long involvement in film. With keen insight and tasteful honesty, Levy examines Minnelli's productions and his relations with the actors and others involved in them, weaving these components into a life story that includes a marriage to Judy Garland, friendships with the Gershwins and other notables, and an intricately complex personal life.

The anthology edited by McElhaney (film studies, Hunter Coll.; The Death of Classical Cinema: Hitchcock, Lang, Minnelli) is a stimulating complement to Levy's biography. Written over several decades by a selection of respected international scholars, the thoughtful and educational essays included in this broad work range over Minnelli's career but concentrate on analyzing his artistic development. They address, e.g., the director's settings, musical scenes, and psychological subtexts as well as his treatment of historical material. The result is a valuable addition to the literature of film history and aesthetics. Both volumes are excellent resources and enjoyable reads that should be welcome additions to circulating libraries andlarge academic film collections.
—Carol J. Binkowski

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Joe McElhaney is associate professor of film studies at Hunter College/City University of New York. He is the author of The Death of Classical Cinema: Hitchcock, Lang, Minnelli and Albert Maysles.
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