Connecticut in the Movies: From Dream Houses to Dark Suburbia

Connecticut in the Movies: From Dream Houses to Dark Suburbia

by Illeana Douglas
Connecticut in the Movies: From Dream Houses to Dark Suburbia

Connecticut in the Movies: From Dream Houses to Dark Suburbia

by Illeana Douglas


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Illeana Douglas has long been known for shining new light on forgotten films. Now the celebrated actress and film historian turns her focus to a heretofore unrecognized brand: the Connecticut movie! Told from the passionate perspective of the author who grew up here, and filled with behind-the-scenes stories as well as her own personal snapshots of the places where these films were made, Illeana takes the reader on a cinematic road trip through Hollywood history and Connecticut geography, bringing the breezy, intimate, knowledgeable writing style acclaimed by reviewers of her first book, I Blame Dennis Hopper (2015).

Illeanadefines how the perception of on-screen Connecticut, originally created in Hollywood, has shifted more than that of any other New England state over the decade and offers some surprising conclusions about just what it means to be a “Connecticut movie.”Films from Hollywood’s Golden Age, such as Theodora Goes Wild, Bringing Up Baby, and Christmas in Connecticut, presented Connecticut as an antidote to the metropolis—a place where you could find your true self. The slogan “Come to Peaceful Connecticut” not only led to Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, but to an exodus of urban moviegoers seeking their dream houses. In post-war America, Gentleman’s Agreement challenged Connecticut’s well-cultivated image, as did the suburban malaise of The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit, and contemporary takes on dark suburbia like The Swimmer,The Ice Storm, and RevolutionaryRoad. From Sherlock Holmes to Mystic Pizza to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; from horror in The Stepford Wives tohistorical in Amistad; picturesque in Parrish, to perverse in The Secret Life of An AmericanWife, theConstitution State has been the background for surprisingly over 200 feature films, yet these cinematic contributions have long gone unrecognized; until now. Connecticut in the Movies is not only a keepsake for denizens of the state, but a valuable resource for film buffs everywhere.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493075737
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 10/03/2023
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 82,260
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Illeana Douglas has starred in films like Cape Fear, To Die For, Grace of My Heart, and Ghost World, as well as in TVshows like Goliath, Shrill, Entourage, and Six Feet Under. Douglas is the granddaughter of two-time Academy Award–winning actor Melvyn Douglas. A classic film lover, she hosted Trailblazing Woman for Turner Classic Movies and participated in many film documentaries, including CNN: The Movies andKino Lorber’s Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers, which she also executive produced and hosted. Herfirst book, I Blame Dennis Hopper: And Other Stories from a Life Lived In and Out of the Movies was named Best Pop Culture book of the year in 2015 by Entertainment Weekly.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Illeana Douglas’s well-written and highly readable book about the state of Connecticut in the movies, from the silent era to modern times is sparked by her wit and warmth, her deep knowledge of movie history, the originality of her ideas, and her impeccable research. —Jeanine Basinger, author of Hollywood: The Oral History and A Woman’s View, chair of Film Studies, Wesleyan University “In Connecticut in the Movies, Illeana Douglas puts on her historian’s hat and takes readers on a compelling tour of her adopted state’s surprising, colorful, and sometimes dark history in cinema. Her adoration of the state, and the movies, leaps off of these pages—and it’s infectious.” —Ronan Farrow, Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist and New York Times best-selling author of Catch and Kill “What connects my favorite Barbara Stanwyck film to Sarah Jessica Parker’s most underrated movie, The Family Stone? The answer, I’ve discovered, is the Nutmeg State. Connecticut, it turns out, has a rich, engrossing cinematic history, brought to life by the best person for the job, Illeana Douglas. She left Hollywood during the pandemic and returned to Connecticut, where she grew up, bought a fixer-upper, much as Cary Grant and Myrna Loy—as Jim and Muriel Blandings—did in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Turns out, she also wrote her Dream Book.” —Ben Mankiewicz, host, Turner Classic Movies, correspondent, CBS Sunday Morning “The best sort of movie book feels like a well-curated time trip. Illeana Douglas is the ideal guide here: She loves movies, and she loves Connecticut. One of the great pleasures of Connecticut in the Movies is the way the author both recaps the film story and gives us the inside location lore with equal ease. Connecticut’s role in the history of the movies reaches back beyond Griffith, and Douglas—with roots in Hollywood as well as the Nutmeg State—is the perfect docent.” —Michael McKean, actor, Better Call Saul, The Mighty Wind, screenwriter, and musician “As an aspiring New Englander who wound up in Los Angeles, I greatly enjoyed going through this lively, fact-filled, well-written book. Douglas illustrates why and how Connecticut becomes a character in so many movies, from Bringing Up Baby to The Last House on the Left”. —Leonard Maltin, film critic, author, and historian “This book should come with a warning: Highly Addictive.” —Sydney Stern, author, The Brothers Mankiewicz “Connecticut in the Movies is Illeana Douglas’s brilliant deep dive into the Constitution State’s heretofore overlooked but voluminous role in American films”. —Alan K. Rode, film historian and author, Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film

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