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Movies and American Society, 2nd Edition

Movies and American Society, 2nd Edition

Steven J. Ross

ISBN: 978-0-470-67364-5

Jan 2014, Wiley-Blackwell

416 pages

Select type: Paperback

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The second edition of Movies and American Society is a comprehensive collection of essays and primary documents that explore the ways in which movies have changed—and been changed by—American society from 1905 to the present.

  • Each chapter includes an introduction, discussion questions, an essay examining the issues of the period, primary documents, and a list of further reading and screenings
  • Includes a new chapter on “American Film in the Age of Terror” and new essays for Chapter 9 (“Race, Violence, and Film”) and Chapter 13 (“Hollywood Goes Global”), as well as updated Reading and Screenings sections
  • Discusses all the major periods in American film history from the first nickelodeons to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the globalization of Hollywood
  • Demonstrates the unique influence of movies on all aspects of American culture, from ideology, politics, and gender to class, war, and race relations
  • Engaging and accessible for students, with jargon-free essays and primary documents that show social practices and controversies as well as the fun and cultural influence of movies and movie-going

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Preface ix

Preface to the First Edition x

Source Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction: Why Movies Matter 1

1 Going to the Movies: Early Audiences 14

Introduction to Article 14

“The Celluloid Stage: Nickelodeon Audiences” by Richard Butsch 15

Documents 32

Introduction to Documents 32

“The Nickel Madness” by Barton W. Carrie 32

Report of Censorship of Motion Pictures and of Investigation of Motion Picture Theatres of Cleveland by Robert O. Bartholomew 38

“House Fly Panics Pittsburgh Movie Audience” 40

Readings and Screenings 41

2 Heroes and Heroines of Their Own Entertainment: Progressive-Era Cinema 43

Introduction to Article 43

“Front Page Movies” by Kay Sloan 44

Documents 58

Introduction to Documents 58

“The Social Uses of the Moving Picture” by W. Stephen Bush 59

“Los Angeles Socialist Movie Theater” 62

Readings and Screenings 64

3 The Rise of Hollywood: Movies, Ideology, and Audiences in the Roaring Twenties 66

Introduction to Article 66

“Fantasy and Politics: Moviegoing and Movies in the 1920s” by Steven J. Ross 67

Documents 91

Introduction to Documents 91

“The Deluxe Picture Palace” by Lloyd Lewis 92

“Petting at the Movies” by E. J. Mitchell 94

“The Actor’s Part” by Milton Sills 95

Readings and Screenings 98

4 Who Controls What We See? Censorship and the Attack on Hollywood “Immorality” 100

Introduction to Article 100

“Hollywood Censored: The Production Code Administration and the Hollywood Film Industry, 1930–1940”
by Gregory D. Black 101

Documents 123

Introduction to Documents 123

Quotes from Censorship of the Theater and Moving Pictures edited by Lamar T. Beman 123

Readings and Screenings 129

5 Confronting the Great Depression: Renewing Democracy in Hard Times 130

Introduction to Article 130

“The Recreation of America: Hybrid Moviemakers and the Multicultural Republic” by Lary May 131

Documents 160

Introduction to Documents 160

Responses to Edward G. Robinson’s “Declaration of Democratic Independence” 161

Readings and Screenings 163

6 Alternatives Cinemas: Movies on the Margins 165

Introduction to Article 165

“Others’ Movies” by Thomas Cripps 166

Documents 185

Introduction to Documents 185

“The Negro and the Photo-Play” by Oscar Micheaux 185

“‘The Symbol of the Unconquered,’ New Play” 187

“Some New American Documentaries: In Defense of Liberty” by John H. Winge 188

Readings and Screenings 191

7 Seeing Red: Cold War Hollywood 193

Introduction to Article 193

“Hollywood and the Cold War” by John Belton 194

Documents 214

Introduction to Documents 214

FBI Report, “Communist Political Influence and Activities in the Motion Picture Business in Hollywood, California” 215

“The Waldorf Statement,” Issued by the Association of Motion Picture Producers 219

Readings and Screenings 220

8 Eisenhower’s America: Prosperity and Problems in the 1950s 222

Introduction to Article 222

“The Fifties” by Leonard Quart and Albert Auster 223

Documents 242

Introduction to Documents 242

“Teen Idol: Hedda Hopper Interviews James Dean” 243

Reviews of Rebel Without a Cause 246

Readings and Screenings 249

9 Race, Violence, and Film: From the Blaxploitation Era of the 1960s to the “Hood-Homeboy” Movies of the 1990s 252

Introduction to Article 252

“Black Violence as Cinema: From Cheap Thrills to Historical Agonies” by Ed Guerrero 253

Documents 269

Introduction to Documents 269

Variety Reports Reactions to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? 269

“Blaxploitation Movies: Cheap Thrills That Degrade Blacks” by Alvin F. Poussaint 271

Readings and Screenings 274

10 Vietnam and the Crisis of American Power: Movies, War, and Militarism 277

Introduction to Article 277

“Vietnam and the New Militarism” by Michael Ryan and Douglas Kellner 278

Documents 300

Introduction to Documents 300

Correspondence Regarding the Making of The Green Berets 300

“Platoon Marks ‘End of a Cycle’ for Oliver Stone” by Sean Mitchell 302

“Reunion: Men of a Real Platoon” by Jay Sharbutt 306

Readings and Screenings 308

11 Reagan’s America: The Backlash Against Women and Men 310

Introduction to Article 310

“Fatal and Fetal Visions: The Backlash in the Movies” by Susan Faludi 311

Documents 333

Introduction to Documents 333

Equal Rights Amendment, 1972 334

“A Backlash Manifesto” by Phyllis Schlafly 334

“A New Stereotype: The Crazy Career Woman” by Richard Cohen 338

Readings and Screenings 339

12 American Film in the Age of Terror: The Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq 342

Introduction to Article 342

“Limited Engagement: The Iraq War on Film” by Susan L. Carruthers 343

Documents 358

Introduction to Documents 358

“Why Iraq War Films Fail” by Tom Streithorst 359

“Total Receipts and Production Costs for Films About Afghanistan and Iraq” by John Markert 362

Readings and Screenings 363

13 Hollywood Goes Global: The Internationalization of American Cinema 365

Introduction to Article 365

“Why Hollywood Rules the World, and Whether We Should Care” by Tyler Cowen 366

Documents 382

Introduction to Documents 382

Testimony Before Congressional Hearings on Television Broadcasting and the European Community 383

“Global Box Office Climb Continues in 2011” 385

Readings and Screenings 386

Index 389