Looking Past the Screen: Case Studies in American Film History and Method

Looking Past the Screen: Case Studies in American Film History and Method

By: Jon Lewis (editor), Eric Smoodin (editor)Paperback

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Film scholarship has long been dominated by textual interpretations of specific films. Looking Past the Screen advances a more expansive American film studies in which cinema is understood to be a social, political, and cultural phenomenon extending far beyond the screen. Presenting a model of film studies in which films themselves are only one source of information among many, this volume brings together film histories that draw on primary sources including collections of personal papers, popular and trade journalism, fan magazines, studio publications, and industry records.Focusing on Hollywood cinema from the teens to the 1970s, these case studies show the value of this extraordinary range of historical materials in developing interdisciplinary approaches to film stardom, regulation, reception, and production. The contributors examine State Department negotiations over the content of American films shown abroad; analyze the star image of Clara Smith Hamon, who was notorious for having murdered her lover; and consider film journalists' understanding of the arrival of auteurist cinema in Hollywood as it was happening during the early 1970s. One contributor chronicles the development of film studies as a scholarly discipline; another offers a sociopolitical interpretation of the origins of film noir. Still another brings to light Depression-era film reviews and Production Code memos so sophisticated in their readings of representations of sexuality that they undermine the perception that queer interpretations of film are a recent development. Looking Past the Screen suggests methods of historical research, and it encourages further thought about the modes of inquiry that structure the discipline of film studies. Contributors. Mark Lynn Anderson, Janet Bergstrom, Richard deCordova, Kathryn Fuller-Seeley, Sumiko Higashi, Jon Lewis, David M. Lugowski, Dana Polan, Eric Schaefer, Andrea Slane, Eric Smoodin, Shelley Stamp

About Author

Jon Lewis is a professor in the English department at Oregon State University. His books include Hollywood v. Hard-Core: How the Struggle over Censorship Saved the Modern Film Industry as well as Whom God Wishes to Destroy: Francis Ford Coppola and the New Hollywood and The New American Cinema, both also published by Duke University Press. Eric Smoodin is a professor of American studies and director of film studies at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of Regarding Frank Capra: Audience, Celebrity, and American Film Studies, 1930-1960, also published by Duke University Press, and Animating Culture: Hollywood Cartoons from the Sound Era.


Acknowledgments ix Introduction: The History of Film History / Eric Smoodin 1 I. Institutional Histories 35 The Beginning of American Film Study / Dana Polan 37 The Perfect Money Machine(s): George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Auteurism in the New Hollywood / Jon Lewis 61 II. Star Studies 87 Lois Weber and the Celebrity of Matronly Respectability / Shelley Stamp 89 Tempting Fate: Clara Smith Hamon, or, The Secretary as Producer / Mark Lynn Anderson 117 The Crafting of a Political Icon: Lola Lola on Paper / Andrea Slane 151 III. Regulation 167 Going Hollywood Sooner or Later: Chinese Censorship and The Bitter Tea of General Yen / Eric Smoodin 169 Plain Brown Wrapper: Adult Films for the Home Market, 1930-1969 / Eric Schaefer 201 IV. Reception 227 Ethnography and Exhibition: The Child Audience, The Hays Office, and Saturday Matinees / Richard deCordova 229 Dish Night at the Movies: Exhibitor Promotions and Female Audiences during the Great Depression / Kathryn H. Fuller-Seeley 246 "A Treatise on Decay": Liberal and Leftist Critics and Their Queer Readings of Depression-Era U.S. Film / David M. Lugowski 276 V. Production 301 Murnau in America: Chronicle of Lost Films (4 Devils, City Girl) / Janet Bergstrom 303 The American Origins of Film Noir: Realism in Urban Art and The Naked City / Sumiko Higashi 353 Bibliography 381 Contributors 397 Index 401

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780822338215
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 400
  • ID: 9780822338215
  • ISBN10: 0822338211

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