ISBN-10:
0275980545
ISBN-13:
9780275980542
Pub. Date:
09/30/2004
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie

Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie

by Eric Lichtenfeld

Hardcover

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Overview

For more than 30 years, the action movie has been the film genre that most represents Hollywood to the world, and represents the world to American audiences. Still, the action film has never received the critical attention it deserves. Studying its various trends and visual excesses, Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie traces the genre's evolution and sources to reveal how it has come to assume its place of prominence in American identity and American life. With scores of in-depth case studies—including films such as Dirty Harry, Death Wish, RoboCop, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Armageddon, and Spider-Man—author Eric Lichtenfeld draws on film analysis, production histories, critical responses, studio marketing, original filmmaker interviews, and considerations of the genre's weaponry itself.

No previous book has taken on this subject with such rigor, and few genre studies of any kind synthesize critical reaction, studio marketing and advertising, and filmmaker interviews. Moreover, the action genre has never been studied with the dedication that critics have devoted to other genres, such as the Western, film noir, and screwball and romantic comedies. Action Speaks Louder provides a fresh perspective on the history and craft of a category of films that are among cinema's most popular, ones that certainly represent the movies' most primal form of fun.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780275980542
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 09/30/2004
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

ERIC LICHTENFELD is a freelance writer who has contributed to film publications including Film Score Monthly, The Scenographer, and the Journal of the Art Directors Guild. He has worked in many areas of the film industry, including pre-production and marketing, and studied cinema at Wesleyan University and the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received his Master's degree.

Table of Contents


Foreword   Richard Slotkin     x
Acknowledgments     xiii
Introduction: A Little Violence Never Hurt Anyone     1
Prelude: 1971     9
"The Law's Crazy": The Vigilante and Other Myths     23
Automatons: Rise of the Killing Machines     60
Enter the Fists: The Body as the Weapon     96
Into the Jungle, Out of the Wasteland: Action in the Wild     125
Blowing Up All Those Familiar Places: Terror and the Confined Arena     159
Unmitigated Disasters: Old Formulas and the New Spectacle     190
Tomorrow's Heroes Today: Action Meets the Fantastic     244
Excelsior!: March of the Superheroes     286
Conclusion: Sifting Through the Rubble     332
Notes     345
Index     371

What People are Saying About This

Richard Donner

“I wish I had read this book before I started making my films.”

Steven E. de Souza

“Eric Lichtenfeld accomplishes the impossible, putting action films under the microscope without robbing them of their ability to startle and amuse us. His marriage of popcorn and the provocative produces what can only be called a roller-coaster read.”

From the Publisher

"Eric Lichtenfeld accomplishes the impossible, putting action films under the microscope without robbing them of their ability to startle and amuse us. His marriage of popcorn and the provocative produces what can only be called a roller-coaster read."—Steven E. de Souza, screenwriter, Die Hard

"I wish I had read this book before I started making my films."—Richard Donner, director, Superman: The Movie, the Lethal Weapon films, 16 Blocks

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