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Film, Theater, and Performing Arts

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America's Japan and Japan's Performing Arts

Cultural Mobility and Exchange in New York, 1952-2011

Barbara Thornbury

America’s Japan and Japan’s Performing Arts studies the images and myths that have shaped the reception of Japan-related theater, music, and dance in the United States since the 1950s. Soon after World War II, visits by Japanese performing artists to the United States emerged as a significant category of American cultural-exchange initiatives aimed at helping establish and build friendly ties with Japan. Barbara E. Thornbury explores how “Japan” and “Japanese culture” have been constructed, reconstructed, and transformed in response to the hundreds of productions that have taken place over the past sixty years in New York, the main entry point and defining cultural nexus in the United States for the global touring market in the performing arts. Thornbury crosses disciplinary boundaries in her wide range of both primary sources and published scholarship, making the book of interest to students and scholars of performing arts studies, Japanese studies, and cultural studies.

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American Audiences on Movies and Moviegoing

Tom Stempel

A unique perspective on half a century of American cinema -- from the audience's point of view. Tom Stempel goes beyond the comments of professional reviewers, concentrating on the opinions of ordinary people. He traces shifting trends in genre and taste, examining and questioning the power films have in American society. Stempel blends audience response with his own observations and analyzes box office results that identify the movies people actually went to see, not just those praised by the critics. Avoiding statistical summary, he presents the results of a survey on movies and moviegoing in the respondents' own words -- words that surprise, amuse, and irritate.

The moviegoers respond: "Big bad plane, big bad motorcycle, and big bad Kelly McGillis." -- On Top Gun "All I can recall were the slave girls and the Golden Calf sequence and how it got me excited. My parents must have been very pleased with my enthusiasm for the Bible." -- On why a seven-year-old boy stayed up to watch The Ten Commandments "I learned the fine art of seduction by watching Faye Dunaway smolder." -- A woman's reaction to seeing Bonnie and Clyde

"At age fifteen Jesus said he would be back, he just didn't say what he would look like." -- On E.T.

"Quasimodo is every seventh grader." -- On why The Hunchback of Notre Dame should play well with middle-schoolers

"A moronic, very 'Hollywoody' script, and a bunch of dancing teddy bears." -- On Return of the Jedi "I couldn't help but think how Mad magazine would lampoon this." -- On The Exorcist

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American Cinema 1890-1909

Themes and Variations

Edited by Andre Gaudreault

The essays in American Cinema 1890-1909 explore and define how the making of motion pictures flowered into an industry that would finally become the central entertainment institution of the world. Beginning with all the early types of pictures that moved, this volume tells the story of the invention and consolidation of the various processes that gave rise to what we now call "cinema."

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American Cinema and the Southern Imaginary

Deborah Barker

Employing innovations in media studies, southern cultural studies, and approaches to the global South, this collection of essays examines aspects of the southern imaginary in American cinema and offers fresh insight into the evolving field of southern film studies.
 
In their introduction, Deborah Barker and Kathryn McKee argue that the southern imaginary in film is not contained by the boundaries of geography and genre; it is not an offshoot or subgenre of mainstream American film but is integral to the history and the development of American cinema.
 
Ranging from the silent era to the present and considering Hollywood movies, documentaries, and independent films, the contributors incorporate the latest scholarship in a range of disciplines. The volume is divided into three sections: “Rereading the South” uses new critical perspectives to reassess classic Hollywood films; “Viewing the Civil Rights South” examines changing approaches to viewing race and class in the post–civil rights era; and “Crossing Borders” considers the influence of postmodernism, postcolonialism, and media studies on recent southern films.
 
The contributors to American Cinema and the Southern Imaginary complicate the foundational term “southern,” in some places stretching the traditional boundaries of regional identification until they all but disappear and in others limning a persistent and sometimes self-conscious performance of place that intensifies its power.

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American Cinema of the 1910s

Themes and Variations

Edited by Charlie Keil and Ben Singer

The essays in American Cinema of the 1910s explore the rapid developments of the decade that began with D. W. Griffith's unrivaled one-reelers. By the end of the decade, filmmaking had become a true industry, complete with vertical integration, efficient specialization and standardization of practices, and self-regulatory agencies.

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American Cinema of the 1920s

Themes and Variations

Edited by Lucy Fischer

In ten original essays, American Cinema of the 1920s examines the film industry's continued growth and prosperity while focusing on important themes of the era that witnessed the birth of the star system that supported the meteoric rise and celebrity status of actors including Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, and Rudolph Valentino while black performers (relegated to "race films") appeared infrequently in mainstream movies.

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American Cinema of the 1960s

Themes and Variations

Edited by Barry Keith Grant

The profound cultural and political changes of the 1960s brought the United States closer to social revolution than at any other time in the twentieth century. At the same time, American cinema underwent radical change as well. The studio system crumbled, and the Production Code was replaced by a new ratings system. Among the challenges faced by the film industry was the dawning shift in theatrical exhibition from urban centers to suburban multiplexes, an increase in runaway productions, the rise of independent producers, and competition from both television and foreign art films. Hollywood movies became more cynical, violent, and sexually explicit, reflecting the changing values of the time. In ten original essays, American Cinema of the 1960s examines a range of films that characterized the decade, including Hollywood movies, documentaries, and independent and experimental films.

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American Cinema of the 1970s

Themes and Variations

Edited by Lester Friedman

A smug glance at the seventies-the so-called "Me Decade"-unveils a kaleidoscope of big hair, blaring music, and broken politics-all easy targets for satire, cynicism, and ultimately even nostalgia. American Cinema of the 1970s, however, looks beyond the strobe lights to reveal how profoundly the seventies have influenced American life and how the films of that decade represent a peak moment in cinema history. Far from a placid era, the seventies was a decade of social upheavals. Events such as the killing of students at Kent State and Jackson State universities, the Watergate investigations, the legalization of abortion, and the end of the American involvement in Vietnam are only a few among the many landmark occurrences that challenged the foundations of American culture. The director-driven movies of this era reflect this turmoil, experimenting with narrative structures, offering a gallery of scruffy antiheroes, and revising traditional genre conventions.

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American Cinema of the 1980s

Themes and Variations

Edited by Stephen Prince

During the 1980s, American cinema underwent enormous transformations. Blockbusters like Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., and The Empire Strikes Back grabbed huge revenues for the studios. At the same time, the growth of home video led to new and creative opportunities for independent film production, resulting in many of the decade's best films. Both large- and small-scale filmmakers responded to the social, political, and cultural conditions of the time. Also during this time, Hollywood launched a long-awaited cycle of films about the Vietnam War, exploring its impact both at home and abroad. But science fiction remained the era's most popular genre, ranging from upbeat fantasies to dark, dystopic visions. Bringing together original essays by ten respected scholars in the field, American Cinema of the 1980s examines the films that marked the decade.

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American Cinema of the 1990s

Themes and Variations

Edited by Christine Holmlund

With the U.S. economy booming under President Bill Clinton and the cold war finally over, many Americans experienced peace and prosperity in the nineties. Digital technologies gained popularity, with nearly one billion people online by the end of the decade. The film industry wondered what the effect on cinema would be.The essays in American Cinema of the 1990s examine the big-budget blockbusters and critically acclaimed independent films that defined the decade. The 1990s' most popular genre, action, channeled anxieties about global threats such as AIDS and foreign terrorist attacks into escapist entertainment movies. Horror films and thrillers were on the rise, but family-friendly pictures and feel-good romances netted big audiences too. Meanwhile, independent films captured hearts, engaged minds, and invaded Hollywood: by decade's end every studio boasted its own "art film" affiliate.

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