An Invention without a Future: Essays on Cinema

An Invention without a Future: Essays on Cinema

by James Naremore

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In 1895, Louis Lumière supposedly said that cinema is “an invention without a future.” James Naremore uses this legendary remark as a starting point for a meditation on the so-called death of cinema in the digital age, and as a way of introducing a wide-ranging series of his essays on movies past and present. These essays include discussions of authorship, adaptation, and acting; commentaries on Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Vincente Minnelli, John Huston, and Stanley Kubrick; and reviews of more recent work by non-Hollywood directors Pedro Costa, Abbas Kiarostami, Raúl Ruiz, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Important themes recur: the relations between modernity, modernism, and postmodernism; the changing mediascape and death of older technologies; and the need for robust critical writing in an era when print journalism is waning and the humanities are devalued. The book concludes with essays on four major American film critics: James Agee, Manny Farber, Andrew Sarris, and Jonathan Rosenbaum.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520279742
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 01/10/2014
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

James Naremore is Emeritus Chancellors' Professor of Communication and Culture, English, and Comparative Literature at Indiana University. His books include More Than Night, Acting in the Cinema, The Magic World of Orson Welles, The Films of Vincente Minnelli, and On Kubrick.

Table of Contents


Introduction: An Invention without a Future


Authorship, Auteurism, and Cultural Politics

The Reign of Adaptation

Notes on Acting in Cinema

Imitation, Eccentricity, and Impersonation in Movie Acting

The Death and Rebirth of Rhetoric


Hawks, Chandler, Bogart, Bacall: The Big Sleep

Uptown Folk: Blackness and Entertainment in Cabin in the Sky

Hitchcock and Humor

Hitchcock at the Margins of Noir

Spies and Lovers: North by Northwest

Welles, Hollywood, and Heart of Darkness

Orson Welles and Movie Acting

Welles and Kubrick: Two Forms of Exile

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

The Return of The Dead


James Agee

Manny Farber

Andrew Sarris

Jonathan Rosenbaum

Four Years as a Critic: 2007–2010

Works Cited


Customer Reviews