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Fyne | McFarland Medley McFarland Medley: A Review Essay by RJ. Fyne, Kean University of Mew Jersey Founded in 1979, McFarland & Company, located in the picturesque town of Jefferson, North Carolina, has grown into one of the nations leading scholarly and reference book publishers. Year after year, this top-rated company spearheaded by an energetic editorial board promotes new titles in such diverse fields as literature , history, international studies, baseball, the Civil War, library science, women's studies, and, of course, film. With more than 1,100 books in print (out of the 1,600 published), McFarland's performing arts series is well known, both inAmerica and abroad. Its reputation, without question, is gold-plated. Each year, dozens of McFarland's work—they release approximately 180 titles annually—receive their well-deserved accolades. Recent books, such as William F. O'Neil's The King ofSwat, Tadeusz Piotrowski's Poland's Holocaust, and Edward Winter's Capablanca, have picked up awards for academic excellence. Other listings—Sanford Berman's Prejudices and Antipathies, Peter C. Bjarkman's Baseball with a Latin Beat, and Rosemarie Skaine's Power and Gender—are also blue ribbon winners. As for film studies, McFarland really coruscates in this field. Why wouldn't they? All of their selections are first-class research accomplishments. Here is a rundown of recent titles that belong in every academic library. For starters, Michael S. Shull's excellent study, Radicalism in American Silent Films, 1909-1929: A Filmography and History takes a hard look at Hollywood's portrayal of labor radicals, heartless capitalists, socialist idealists, and warring Bolsheviks during an explosive twenty-year period. This was a time of tremendous upheaval when me incipientfilm industry, unknowingly, became an influential factor in kneading American culture. With over 100 production companies turning out thousands of featurelength titles and shorts on every conceivable subject, one thing seemed certain. A new media—for better or worse—was altering , influencing, and changing society's perceptions. Selecting 436 silent films, Dr. Shull examines Hollywood's amorphous portrayal of radical movements both at home and abroad. Early selections such as The Voice ofthe Violin (1909), The Egg Trust (1910), ? Martyr to His Cause (1911), The High Cost ofLiving (1912), and Bobby 's Bum Bomb (1913)—all made before World War I—depicted in one way or another, the unsavory qualities associated with exploitation. Otherpictures warned of Russian treachery: The Nihilists (1914), Princess Romanoff (1915), and The Cossack Whip (1916). After the Great War, silent photodramas such as The Dwell Place of Light (1920), Potash and Perlmotter (1923), and Steel Preferred (1925) reiterated the ongoing working man's struggle. Saving the best for last, this research classifies all 436 titles according to a 64-word bias index. Coding terms, such as agitators , Bolshevism, bombs, decadence, Greenwich Village, Mad Russian, Marx, nihilism, scabs, and veteran, elaborate both theme and content. This section—it really is the icing on the cake— elucidates each picture's point of view. As with his other monumental study, Hollywood War Films, Dr. Shull has, once again, squirreled himself in the Library of Congress' dimly-lit carrels watching hundreds of 80-year-old reels. Good for him. He has given us a wonderful book about an important part of cinema history. What were the leftist issues in the early twentieth-century ? Look no further than Radicalism inAmerican SilentFilms. Examining another era of American history, Mark S. Reinhart's Abraham Lincoln on Screen: A Filmography ofDramas and Documentaries Including Television, 1903-1998, scrutinizes more than 150 motion pictures, documentaries, and television productions that featured America's sixteenth president . Beginning with Uncle Tom's Cabin (1903), where Lincoln , a Christ-like bearer of compassion, offers the protagonist a deathbed blessing and concluding with the irreverent Secret Diary ofDesmond Pfeiffer—a television series that caricatured the commander-in-chief as ajust-for-laughs bumbling sex-crazed oaf burdened with a sexually frustrated wife—Mr. Reinhart's research examines the media's vacillating interpretations of the republic's first photographed chief executive pointing out the many discrepancies, inconsistencies, anachronisms, and misinformation found in dozens of titles. A real gem, this book unleashes both barrels at those directors who, either directly or unknowlingly, fabricated...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9922
Print ISSN
0360-3695
Pages
pp. 80-84
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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