The University Press of Kentucky

Film and History

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

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Film and History

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All-Stars and Movie Stars

Sports in Film and History

edited by Ron Briley, Michael K. Schoenecke, and Deborah A. Carmichael

Sports films are popular forms of entertainment around the world, but beyond simply amusing audiences, they also reveal much about class, race, gender, sexuality, and national identity. In All-Stars and Movie Stars, Ron Briley, Michael K. Schoenecke, and Deborah A. Carmichael explore the interplay between sports films and critical aspects of our culture, examining them as both historical artifacts and building blocks of ideologies, values, and stereotypes.

The book covers not only Hollywood hits such as Field of Dreams and Miracle but also documentaries such as The Journey of the African American Athlete and international cinema, such as the German film The Miracle of Bern. The book also explores television coverage of sports, commenting on the relationship of media to golf and offering a new perspective on the culture and politics behind the depictions of the world's most popular pastimes.

The first part of the book addresses how sports films represent the cultural events, patterns, and movements of the times in which they were set, as well as the effect of the media and athletic industry on the athletes themselves. Latham Hunter examines how the baseball classic The Natural reflects traditional ideas about gender, heroism, and nation, and Harper Cossar addresses how the production methods used in televised golf affect viewers. The second section deals with issues such as the growth of women's involvement in athletics, sexual preference in the sports world, and the ever-present question of race by looking at sports classics such as Rocky, Hoosiers, and A League of Their Own.

Finally, the authors address the historical and present-day role sports play in the international and political arena by examining such films as Visions of Eight and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. This important and unique collection illuminates the prominent role that sports play in society and how that role is reflected in film. Analysis of the depiction of sports in film and television provides a deeper understanding of the appeal that sports hold for people worldwide and of the forces behind the historic and cultural traditions linked to sports.

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The Tube Has Spoken

Reality TV and History

Julie Anne Taddeo and Ken Dvorak. foreword by Deborah A. Carmichael

Featuring ordinary people, celebrities, game shows, hidden cameras, everyday situations, and humorous or dramatic situations, reality TV is one of the fastest growing and important popular culture trends of the past decade, with roots reaching back to the days of radio. The Tube Has Spoken provides an analysis of the growing phenomenon of reality TV, its evolution as a genre, and how it has been shaped by cultural history. This collection of essays looks at a wide spectrum of shows airing from the 1950s to the present, addressing some of the most popular programs including Alan Funt’s Candid Camera, Big Brother, Wife Swap, Kid Nation, and The Biggest Loser. It offers both a multidisciplinary approach and a cross-cultural perspective, considering Australian, Canadian, British, and American programs. In addition, the book explores how popular culture shapes modern western values; for example, both An American Family and its British counterpart, The Family, showcase the decline of the nuclear family in response to materialistic pressures and the modern ethos of individualism. This collection highlights how reality TV has altered the tastes and values of audiences in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It analyzes how reality TV programs reflect the tensions between the individual and the community, the transformative power of technology, the creation of the celebrity, and the breakdown of public and private spheres.

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Why We Fought

America's Wars in Film and History

Peter C. Rollins and John E. O'Connor

Film moves audiences like no other medium; both documentaries and feature films are especially remarkable for their ability to influence viewers. Best-selling author James Brady remarked that he joined the Marines to fight in Korea after seeing a John Wayne film, demonstrating how a motion picture can change the course of a human life—in this case, launching the career of a major historian and novelist. In Why We Fought: America’s Wars in Film and History, editors Peter C. Rollins and John E. O’Connor explore the complexities of war films, describing the ways in which such productions interpret history and illuminate American values, politics, and culture. This comprehensive volume covers representations of war in film from the American Revolution in the 18th century to today’s global War on Terror. The contributors examine iconic battle films such as The Big Parade (1925), All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), From Here to Eternity (1953), and Platoon (1986), considering them as historical artifacts. The authors explain how film shapes our cultural understanding of military conflicts, analyzing how war is depicted on television programs, through news media outlets, and in fictional and factual texts. With several essays examining the events of September 11, 2001, and their aftermath, the book has a timely relevance concerning the country’s current military conflicts. Jeff Chown examines controversial documentary films about the Iraq War, while Stacy Takacs considers Jessica Lynch and American gender issues in a post-9/11 world, and James Kendrick explores the political messages and aesthetic implications of United 93. From filmmakers who reshaped our understanding of the history of the Alamo, to Ken Burns’s popular series on the Civil War, to the uses of film and media in understanding the Vietnam conflict, Why We Fought offers a balanced outlook— one of the book’s editors was a combat officer in the United States Marines, the other an antiwar activist—on the conflicts that have become touchstones of American history. As Air Force veteran and film scholar Robert Fyne notes in the foreword, American war films mirror a nation’s past and offer tangible evidence of the ways millions of Americans have become devoted, as was General MacArthur, to “Duty, honor, and country.” Why We Fought chronicles how, for more than half a century, war films have shaped our nation’s consciousness.

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