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Blood, Guns, and Testosterone: Action Films, Audiences, and a Thirst for Violence
     

Blood, Guns, and Testosterone: Action Films, Audiences, and a Thirst for Violence

by Barna William Donovan
 

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Since the early days of film, the representation of masculinity has changed considerably. In the beginning, men instinctively knew right from wrong. They rode to the rescue and saved the day in the nick of time to the admiration and gratitude of society. But over the decades, heroes have evolved from being larger than life and infallible to being cynical, washed up,

Overview

Since the early days of film, the representation of masculinity has changed considerably. In the beginning, men instinctively knew right from wrong. They rode to the rescue and saved the day in the nick of time to the admiration and gratitude of society. But over the decades, heroes have evolved from being larger than life and infallible to being cynical, washed up, unwanted outsiders. Violent content in these films also "evolved"—from fistfights and gunplay to brutal attacks and nuclear explosions—repeatedly ramping up in frequency, intensity, and graphic depictions. But there is more to a violent film genre than violence, and Blood, Guns, and Testosterone: Action Films, Audiences, and a Thirst for Violence brings an entirely new understanding to the nature of such entertainment. In this book, Barna William Donovan examines masculinity and violence in action and adventure films and discusses how the most ardent fans of the genre incorporate this controversial form of entertainment into their lives. Donovan argues that far from becoming violent, the fans of the action film look at the genre as an artistic rumination on the nature of violence, good and evil, and the ever-changing definitions of manhood. At their very best, or most interesting at least, these films may even reflect on the nature of violence, on human nature, on aggression, and how a self-reflexive, moral society can deal with violence. And since so much of the violence of the world has always been perpetrated by men, action films—more often than not—are contemplations of the complicated meaning of manhood. In addition to fans of the genre, Blood, Guns, and Testosterone will appeal to scholars of film, history, popular culture, gender studies, and audience research.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Film-school students will no doubt embrace the book for its detailed analysis of the tropes of the genre. Overall it’s a solid, well-researched study.
Participations: The International Journal of Audience and Reception Studies
This fascinating book makes a substantial contribution to our knowledge and understanding of audiences for one area which has been substantially under-researched: the tradition of action films from the 1960s onwards....[We] found this a really valuable contribution to the field of audience research,, and highly recommend it.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810872622
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
12/16/2009
Pages:
280
Sales rank:
1,349,061
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Barna William Donovan is professor of communication at Saint Peter's College. He is the author of The Asian Influence on Hollywood Action Films (2008).

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