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Being Hal Ashby Cover

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Being Hal Ashby

Life of a Hollywood Rebel

Nick Dawson

Hal Ashby (1929–1988) was always an outsider, and as a director he brought an outsider’s perspective to Hollywood cinema. After moving to California from a Mormon household in Utah, he created eccentric films that reflected the uncertain social climate of the 1970s. Whether it is his enduring cult classic Harold and Maude (1971) or the iconic Being There (1979), Ashby’s artistry is unmistakable. His skill for blending intense drama with off-kilter comedy attracted A-list actors and elicited powerful performances from Jack Nicholson in The Last Detail (1973), Warren Beatty and Julie Christie in Shampoo (1975), and Jon Voight and Jane Fonda in Coming Home (1979). Yet the man behind these films is still something of a mystery. In Being Hal Ashby: Life of a Hollywood Rebel, author Nick Dawson for the first time tells the story of a man whose thoughtful and challenging body of work continues to influence modern filmmakers and whose life was as dramatic and unconventional as his films. Ashby began his career as an editor, and it did not take long for his talents to be recognized. He won an Academy Award in 1967 for editing In the Heat of the Night and leveraged his success as an editor to pursue his true passion: directing. Crafting seminal films that steered clear of mainstream conventions yet attracted both popular and critical praise, Ashby became one of the quintessential directors of the 1970s New Hollywood movement. No matter how much success Ashby achieved, he was never able to escape the ghosts of his troubled childhood. The divorce of his parents, his father’s suicide, and his own marriage and divorce—all before the age of nineteen—led to a lifelong struggle with drugs for which he became infamous in Hollywood. And yet, contrary to mythology, it was not Ashby’s drug abuse that destroyed his career but a fundamental mismatch between the director and the stifling climate of 1980s studio filmmaking. Although his name may not be recognized by many of today’s filmgoers, Hal Ashby is certainly familiar to filmmakers. Despite his untimely death in 1988, his legacy of innovation and individuality continues to influence a generation of independent directors, including Wes Anderson, Sean Penn, and the Coen brothers, who place substance and style above the pursuit of box-office success. In this groundbreaking and exhaustively researched biography, Nick Dawson draws on firsthand interviews and personal papers from Ashby’s estate to offer an intimate look at the tumultuous life of an artist unwilling to conform or compromise.

Being Rita Hayworth Cover

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Being Rita Hayworth

Labor, Identity, and Hollywood Stardom

Adrienne L McLean

Who was Rita Hayworth? Born Margarita Carmen Cansino, she spent her life subjected to others' definitions of her, no matter how hard she worked to claim her own identity. Although there have been many "revelations" about her life and career, Adrienne McLean's book is the first to show that such disclosures were part of a constructed image from the outset. McLean explores Hayworth's participation in the creation of her star persona, particularly through her work as a dancer-a subject ignored by most film scholars. The passive love goddess, as it turns out, had a unique appeal to other women who, like her, found it extraordinarily difficult to negotiate the competing demands of family, domesticity, and professional work outside the home. Being Rita Hayworth also considers the ways in which the actress has been treated by film scholarship over the years to accomplish its own goals, sometimes at her expense.

The Bennetts Cover

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The Bennetts

An Acting Family

Brian Kellow

" The Bennetts: An Acting Family is a chronicle of one of the royal families of stage and screen. The saga begins with Richard Bennett, a small-town Indiana roughneck who grew up to be one of the bright lights of the New York stage during the early twentieth century. In time, however, Richard’s fame was eclipsed by that of his daughters, Constance and Joan, who went to Hollywood in the 1920s and found major success there. Constance became the highest-paid actress of the early 1930s, earning as much as $30,000 a week in melodramas. Later she reinvented herself as a comedienne in the classic comedy Topper , with Cary Grant.. After a slow start as a blonde ingenue, Joan dyed her hair black and became one of the screen’s great temptresses in films such as Scarlet Street . She also starred in such lighter fare as Father of the Bride . In the 1960s, Joan gained a new generation of fans when she appeared in the gothic daytime television serial Dark Shadows . The Bennetts is also the story of another Bennett sister, Barbara, whose promising beginnings as a dancer gave way to a turbulent marriage to singer Morton Downey and a steady decline into alcoholism. Constance and Joan were among Hollywood’s biggest stars, but their personal lives were anything but serene. In 1943, Constance became entangled in a highly publicized court battle with the family of her millionaire ex-husband, and in 1951, Joan’s husband, producer Walter Wanger, shot her lover in broad daylight, sparking one of the biggest Hollywood scandals of the 1950s. Brian Kellow, features editor of Opera News magazine, is the coauthor of Can’t Help Singing: The Life of Eileen Farrell . He lives in New York and Connecticut.

Best Years Cover

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Best Years

Going to the Movies, 1945-1946

Charles Affron and Mirella Jona Affron

Best Years shines light on a critical juncture in American history and the history of American cinemaùthe end of World War II (1945) and a year of unprecedented success in Hollywood's "Golden Age" (1946). This unique time provides a rich blend of cinema genres and typesùfrom the battlefront to the home front, the peace film to the woman's film, psychological drama, and the period's provocative new style, film noir. This book focuses on films that were famous, infamous, forgotten, and unforgettable, with big budget A-films, road shows, and familiar series share the spotlight.

Between Dancing and Writing Cover

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Between Dancing and Writing

The Practice of Religious Studies

Kimerer LaMothe

This book provides philosophical grounds for an emerging area of scholarship: the study of religion and dance. In the first part, LaMothe investigates why scholars in religious studies have tended to overlook dance, or rhythmic bodily movement, in favor of textual expressions of religious life. In close readings of Descartes, Kant, Schleiermacher, Hegel, and Kierkegaard, LaMothe traces this attitude to formative moments of the field in which philosophers relied upon the practice of writing to mediate between the study of religion,on the one hand, and theology,on the other.In the second part, LaMothe revives the work of theologian, phenomenologist, and historian of religion Gerardus van der Leeuw for help in interpreting how dancing can serve as a medium of religious experience and expression. In so doing, LaMothe opens new perspectives on the role of bodily being in religious life, and on the place of theology in the study of religion.

Between Page and Screen: Cover

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Between Page and Screen:

Remaking Literature Through Cinema and Cyberspace

Kiene Brillenburg Wurth

Since the earlier twentieth century, literary genres have traveled across magnetic, wireless, and electronic planes. Literature may now be anything from acoustic poetry and oral performance to verbal--visual constellations in print and on screen, cinematic narratives, or electronic textualities that range from hypertext to Flash. New technologies have left their imprint on literature as a paper-based medium, and vice versa. This volume explores the interactions between literature and screenbased media over the past three decades. How has literature turned to screen, how have screens undone the tyranny of the page as a medium of literature, and how have screens affected the page in literary writing? This volume answers these questions by uniquely integrating perspectives from digital literary studies, on the one hand, and film and literature studies, on the other. "Page" and "screen" are familiar catchwords in both digital literary studies and film and literature studies. The contributors reassess literary practice at the edges of paper, electronic media, and film. They show how the emergence of a new medium in fact reinvigorates the book and the page as literary media, rather than signaling their impending death. While previous studies in this field have been restricted to the digitization of literature alone, this volume shows the continuing relevance of film as a cultural medium for contemporary literature. Its integrative approach allows readers to situate current shifts within the literary field in a wider, long-term perspective.

Bewitched Cover

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Bewitched

Walter Metz

A study of the sitcom Bewitched that examines its entire run to discover the show’s numerous interlocking themes, tensions, and innovations.

Beyond Casablanca Cover

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Beyond Casablanca

M. A. Tazi and the Adventure of Moroccan Cinema

Kevin Dwyer

In Beyond Casablanca, Kevin Dwyer explores the problems of creativity in the Arab and African world, focusing on Moroccan cinema and one of its key figures, filmmaker M. A. Tazi. Dwyer develops three themes simultaneously: the filmmaker's career and films; filmmaking in postcolonial Morocco; and the relationship between Moroccan cinema, Third World and Arab cinema, and the global film industry. This compelling discussion of Moroccan cinema is founded upon decades of anthropological research in Morocco, most recently on the Moroccan film sector and the global film industry, and exhibits a sensitivity to the cultural, political, social, and economic context of creative activity. The book centers on a series of interviews conducted with Tazi, whose career provides a rich commentary on the world of Moroccan cinema and on Moroccan cinema in the world. The interviews are framed, variously, by presentations of Moroccan history, society, and culture; the role of foreign filmmakers in Morocco; thematic discussions of cinematic issues (such as narrative techniques, the use of symbols, film as an expression of identity, and problems of censorship); and the global context of Third World filmmaking.

Beyond Dolby (Stereo) Cover

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Beyond Dolby (Stereo)

Cinema in the Digital Sound Age

Mark Kerins

Since digital surround sound technology first appeared in cinemas 20 years ago, it has spread from theaters to homes and from movies to television, music, and video games. Yet even as 5.1 has become the standard for audiovisual media, its impact has gone unexamined. Drawing on works from the past two decades, as well as dozens of interviews with sound designers, mixers, and editors, Mark Kerins uncovers how 5.1 surround has affected not just sound design, but cinematography and editing as well. Beyond Dolby (Stereo) includes detailed analyses of Fight Club, The Matrix, Hairspray, Disturbia, The Rock, Saving Private Ryan, and Joy Ride, among other films, to illustrate the value of a truly audiovisual approach to cinema studies.

Beyond Globalization Cover

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Beyond Globalization

Making New Worlds in Media, Art, and Social Practices

Edited by A. Aneesh, Lane Hall, and Patrice Petro

Does living in a globally networked society mean that we are moving toward a single, homogenous world culture? Or, are we headed for clashes between center and periphery, imperial and subaltern, Western and non-Western, First and Third World? The interdisciplinary essays in Beyond Globalization present us with another possibility—that new media will lead to new kinds of “worldmaking.”

This provocative volume brings together the best new work of scholars within such diverse fields as history, sociology, anthropology, film, media studies, and art. Whether examining the inauguration of a virtual community on the website Second Life or investigating the appropriation of biotechnology for transgenic art, this collection highlights how mediated practices have become integral to global culture; how social practices have emerged out of computer-related industries; how contemporary apocalyptic narratives reflect the anxieties of a U.S. culture facing global challenges; and how design, play, and technology help us understand the histories and ideals
behind the digital architectures that mediate our everyday actions.

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