Violence in American Cinema

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First Published in 2001. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The influence of various forms of media on American culture for good or ill has traditionally prompted debate. The issues are often complex, requiring a broad study of cultural perspectives as a whole as well as of historical events, psychological and sociological factors, and creative processes. In Media Messages, Holtzman (communication, Webster Univ.) looks at the development of film, TV, and pop music, studying their significance in creating opinions and role models with regard to race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. She analyzes numerous possibilities for specific viewer reaction--and their accompanying formation of personal standards and norms. Countless examples from each genre will resonate in some way for every reader, and questionnaires throughout help individuals explore his or her own values, definitions, beliefs, and perspectives. A vast amount of historical and media research is synthesized into thought-provoking and instructive material. Those with an interest in society and the media will find this quite appealing, and it will serve as an excellent text for college-level communications programs. Violence and American Cinema is a collection of scholarly essays united by the theme of onscreen violence--its characteristics, history, impact, and relationship to society. Slocum (assistant dean, NYU) provides an excellent introductory piece that examines the interpretations and boundaries of violence, representative critical responses to the issue, and various historical factors--paving the way for the pieces that follow. Eminent authors and scholars such as Richard Maltby, Peter Kramer, Phyllis Frus, and Terri Ginsberg provide detailed information and fresh perspectives on numerous facets of the subject--from American styles of violence to violence in slapstick comedy, Westerns, domestic settings, historical contexts, and urban milieus. They offer thoughtful insights on an art form that has become an integral part of our culture and its reflection of and relationship to one of society's major concerns. This will be of special interest to film scholars and related academic audiences.--Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
In his introduction, Slocum (New York University) points out that although violent media is a hot-button issue in public discourse, violence is traditionally a secondary concern of film criticism. The 12 essays in this pioneering volume consider topics such as comic violence and the emergence of classical Hollywood cinema; violence in the film western; black violence as cinema; documenting domestic violence in American films; and Holocaust film criticism. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415928106
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Series: AFI Film Readers Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,249,906
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

J. David Slocum is Assistant Dean in the Graduate School for the Arts and Science at New York University, where he teaches cinema studies.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Introduction: Violence and American Cinema: Notes for an Investigation, J. David Slocum; I. Historicizing Hollywood Violence; 1. Violence and Film, William Rothman; 2. The Violence of a Perfect Moment, Leo Charney; 3. Violence American Style: The Narrative Orchestration of Violent Attractions, Marsha Kinder; II. Revisiting Violent Genres; 4. "Clean Dependable Slapstick": Comic Violence and the Emergence of Classical Hollywood Cinema, Peter Kramer; 5. The Spectacle of Criminality, Richard Maltby; 6. Murder's Tongue: Identity, Death, and the City in Film Noir, Paul Arthur; 7. Violence in the Film Western, Lee Clark Mitchell; 8. Passion and Acceleration: Generic Change in the Action Movie, Rikke Schubart; III. Hollywood Violence and Cultural Politics; 9. Black Violence as Cinema: From Cheap Thrills to Historical Agonies, Ed Guerrero; 10. Documenting Domestic Violence in American Films, Phyllis Frus; 11. Splitting Difference: Global Identity Politics and the Representation of Torture in the Counterhistorical Dramatic Film, Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg; 12. Holocaust Film Criticism and the Politics of Judeo-Christian Phenomenology, Terri Ginsberg; Contributors; Index
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