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America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies, 2nd Edition

January 2009, ©2009, Wiley-Blackwell
America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies, 2nd Edition (EHEP001916) cover image

Description

America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality in the Movies, 2nd Edition is a lively introduction to issues of diversity as represented within the American cinema.
  • Provides a comprehensive overview of the industrial, socio-cultural, and aesthetic factors that contribute to cinematic representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality
  • Includes over 100 illustrations, glossary of key terms, questions for discussion, and lists for further reading/viewing
  • Includes new case studies of a number of films, including Crash, Brokeback Mountain, and Quinceañera
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

How to Use This Book xvi

Part I Culture and American Film 1

1 Introduction to the Study of Film Form and Representation 3

Film Form 3

American Ideologies: Discrimination and Resistance 6

Culture and Cultural Studies 12

Case Study: The Lion King (1994) 17

Questions for Discussion 20

Further Reading 20

2 The Structure and History of Hollywood Filmmaking 21

Hollywood vs. Independent Film 21

The Style of Hollywood Cinema 23

The Business of Hollywood 28

The History of Hollywood: The Movies Begin 30

The Classical Hollywood Cinema 34

World War II and Postwar Film 37

“New” Hollywood and the Blockbuster Mentality 40

Questions for Discussion 43

Further Reading 43

Further Screening 44

Part II Race and Ethnicity and American Film 45

Introduction to Part II: What is Race?

3 The Concept of Whiteness and American Film 51

Seeing White 52

Bleaching the Green: The Irish in American Cinema 56

Looking for Respect: Italians in American Cinema 60

A Special Case: Jews and Hollywood 65

Case Study: The Jazz Singer (1927) 68

Veiled and Reviled: Arabs on Film in America 70

Conclusion: Whiteness and American Film Today 76

Questions for Discussion 77

Further Reading 77

Further Screening 77

4 African Americans and American Film 78

African Americans in Early Film 78

Blacks in Classical Hollywood Cinema 82

World War II and the Postwar Social Problem Film 85

The Rise and Fall of Blaxploitation Filmmaking 88

Box: Blacks on TV 90

Hollywood in the 1980s and the Arrival of Spike Lee 90

Black Independent vs. “Neo-Blaxploitation” Filmmaking 93

New Images for a New Century – Or Not? 95

Case Study: Bamboozled (2000) 98

Questions for Discussion 100

Further Reading 100

Further Screening 101

5 Native Americans and American Film 102

The American “Indian” Before Film 103

Ethnographic Films and the Rise of the Hollywood Western 105

The Evolving Western 110

A Kinder, Gentler America? 115

Case Study: Smoke Signals (1998) 118

Conclusion: Twenty-First-Century Indians? 121

Questions for Discussion 122

Further Reading 122

Further Screening 122

6 Asian Americans and American Film 123

Silent Film and Asian Images 124

Asians in Classical Hollywood Cinema 126

World War II and After: War Films, Miscegenation Melodramas, and Kung Fu 130

Contemporary Asian American Actors and Filmmakers 134

Case Study: Eat a Bowl of Tea (1989) 140

Questions for Discussion 142

Further Reading 142

Further Screening 142

7 Latinos and American Film 143

The Greaser and the Latin Lover: Alternating Stereotypes 145

World War II and After: The Good Neighbor Policy 148

The 1950s to the 1970s: Back to Business as Usual? 152

Expanding Opportunities in Recent Decades 154

Conclusion: A Backlash Against Chicanos? 159

Case Study: My Family/Mi Familia (1995) 160

Questions for Discussion 163

Further Reading 163

Further Screening 163

Part III Class and American Film 165

Introduction to Part III: What is Class?

8 Classical Hollywood Cinema and Class 171

Setting the Stage: The Industrial Revolution 171

Early Cinema: The Rise of the Horatio Alger Myth 173

Hollywood and Unionization 178

Class in the Classical Hollywood Cinema 180

Case Study: The Grapes of Wrath (1940) 184

Conclusion: Recloaking Class Consciousness 186

Questions for Discussion 186

Further Reading 186

Further Screening 186

9 Cinematic Class Struggle After the Depression 187

From World War II to the Red Scare 187

From Opulence to Counterculture 191

Box: Class on Television 196

New Hollywood and the Resurrection of the Horatio Alger Myth 198

Case Study: Bulworth (1998) 204

Conclusion: Corporate Hollywood and Labor Today 204

Questions for Discussion 208

Further Reading 208

Further Screening 209

Part IV Gender and American Film 211

Introduction to Part IV: What is Gender?

10 Women in Classical Hollywood Filmmaking 217

Images of Women in Early Cinema 218

Early Female Filmmakers 222

Images of Women in 1930s Classical Hollywood 227

World War II and After 231

Case Study: All that Heaven Allows (1955) 234

Questions for Discussion 236

Further Reading 237

Further Screening 237

11 Exploring the Visual Parameters of Women in Film 238

Ways of Seeing 238

“Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” 242

Case Study: Gilda (1946) 250

Conclusion: Complicating Mulvey’s Arguments 253

Questions for Discussion 255

Further Reading 255

Further Screening 256

12 Masculinity in Classical Hollywood Filmmaking 257

Masculinity and Early Cinema 260

Masculinity and the Male Movie Star 262

World War II and Film Noir 267

Case Study: Dead Reckoning (1947) 272

Masculinity in 1950s American Film 274

Questions for Discussion 277

Further Reading 277

Further Screening 277

13 Gender in American Film Since the 1960s 278

Second Wave Feminism and Hollywood 278

Into the 1980s: A Backlash against Women? 283

Box: Women and American Television 284

A New Generation of Female Filmmakers 291

Case Study: The Ballad of Little Jo (1993) 296

Conclusion: Gender in the Early Twenty-First Century 296

Questions for Discussion 301

Further Reading 301

Further Screening 302

Part V Sexuality and American Film 303

Introduction to Part V: What is Sexuality?

14 Heterosexuality, Homosexuality, and Classical Hollywood 309

(Hetero)Sexuality on Screen 309

(Homo)Sexuality in Early Film 311

Censoring Sexuality during the Classical Hollywood Era 314

Postwar Sexualities and the Weakening of the Production Code 319

Camp and the Underground Cinema 324

Case Study: The Celluloid Closet (1995) 326

Questions for Discussion 328

Further Reading 328

Further Screening 328

15 Sexualities on Film Since the Sexual Revolution 329

Hollywood and the Sexual Revolution 329

Film and Gay Culture from Stonewall to AIDS 331

The AIDS Crisis 336

Queer Theory and New Queer Cinema 339

Box: Queer TV 340

Case Study: Go Fish (1995) 347

Hollywood Responds to New Queer Cinema 347

(Hetero)Sexualities in Contemporary American Cinema 352

Questions for Discussion 354

Further Reading 354

Further Screening 355

Part VI Ability and American Film 357

Introduction to Part VI: What is Ability?

16 Cinematic Images of (Dis)Ability 363

Disabled People in Early American Film: Curiosities and Freaks 364

Romanticizing Disability in Classical Hollywood Melodramas 368

Disability in War Movies and Social Problem Films 370

Disability and the Counterculture 374

Case Study: Children of a Lesser God (1986) 378

A More Enlightened Age? 380

Questions for Discussion 384

Further Reading 384

Further Screening 384

17 Making Connections 385

Case Study 1: Queen Christina (1933) 386

Case Study 2: The Old Maid (1939) 388

Case Study 3: The Gang’s All Here (1943) 390

Case Study 4: A Patch of Blue (1965) 392

Case Study 5: Erin Brockovich (2000) 394

Case Study 6: 8 Mile (2002) 396

Case Study 7: Better Luck Tomorrow (2002) 398

Case Study 8: Saving Face (2004) 400

Case Study 9: Crash (2004) 402

Case Study 10: The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005) 404

Case Study 11: Brokeback Mountain (2005) 406

Case Study 12: Quinceañera (2006) 408

Glossary 410

Index 432

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Author Information

Sean Griffin is Associate Professor of Cinema and Television at Southern Methodist University.

Harry M. Benshoff is Associate Professor of Radio, Television, and Film at the University of North Texas.

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New To This Edition

This new edition is fully revised and updated. It includes a new chapter on the representation of disability in American film, and a new collection of updated case studies, including discussions of 8 Mile, Erin Brockovich, Crash, and Brokeback Mountain, among others.

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The Wiley Advantage

  • Provides a comprehensive overview of the industrial, socio-cultural, and aesthetic factors that contribute to cinematic representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality
  • Includes over 100 illustrations, glossary of key terms, questions for discussion, and lists for further reading/viewing
  • Includes new case studies of a number of films, including Crash, Brokeback Mountain, and Quinceañera
See More

Reviews

"Concluding each chapter are discussion questions and lists of further reading and relevant films. Particularly valuable are the 28 two-page case studies (e.g., of Lion King, Jazz Singer, Grapes of Wrath, Gilda, Celluloid Closet, Crash, Brokeback Mountain) scattered throughout. These analyze the films in terms of culture group. A model of sociological criticism and an invaluable tool (in classroom or library) for film students." (CHOICE, August 2009)

"America on Film is a different kind of film studies textbook. It's an invaluable resource for classes examining the politics of Hollywood." Ted Friedman, Associate Professor of Moving Image Studies, Georgia State University

“The authors do a remarkable job at presenting contexts for identifying and tracking the historical constructions of race, gender, class and sexuality … They successfully present a rich history, with references to hundreds of films.” Scope Journal

"America on Film provides a clear and expansive examination of the complexities of representation and identity in American cinema. I currently use Benshoff and Griffin's book in my introductory film class on multiculturalism, and I look forward to using this new edition." Vicki Callahan , University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

"In this era of diversity, American on Film is a great resource that clarifies critical concepts of inequality and illustrates how film representations can frame groups thus providing tools for thinking critically about the media we consume." Elizabeth Higginbotham, University of Delaware

"America on Film does what no other film textbook does: it takes its investigation of film beyond a study of form, production and exhibition, exposing how film functions as a powerful cultural agent for shaping American perceptions of race, gender, class and ability." Alison Landsberg, George Mason University

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America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies, 2nd Edition
ISBN : 978-1-4051-7055-0
472 pages
January 2009, ©2009
$52.95   BUY

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America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies, 2nd Edition
ISBN : 978-1-4443-2678-9
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June 2011
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