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matter –​as with many of his considerations of America’s past –​was never just about cinema as history, nor the responsibilities of the filmmaker to history. JFK was about the true nature of political and historical enquiry, about the best ways of communicating alternative or counter-​mythic tales of the recent past and/​or the lost and impenetrable state of society. Stone’s champions in this regard –​critics and colleagues such as Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) head Richard Heffner –​always have known that what he wanted to do was not test the resolve

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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concepts and concerns about love. However, critics such as Barry Langford have not been slow to note the pejorative associations of ‘melodrama’.9 The historicisation of melodrama through genre, suggests Langford, impedes our ability to acknowledge these markers –​not as a failure of cinema’s realist instincts, but as a distinct, deliberate and coexistent form of cinema. One-​dimensional characterisations and obvious narrative contrivances may not necessarily point to a failure of psychological expression as a way to impart meaning for the viewer. Instead, different means

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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techniques showcased in JFK and Natural Born Killers among others were eschewed for a more pared-​down palate, visible in the cinéma vérité style of the Castro documentaries and the pedagogic techniques of presentation used in Untold History. It added up to an auteurist instinct that was almost covering its artistic tracks. Indeed, post-​Sarris, post-​structuralism and variants thereof, more recent assessments of auteurism have given added emphasis to the commercial aspects of a director’s brand. Undoubtedly, this has been a strong dimension in Stone’s story too. By the

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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subsequent huge public embrace of the film –​and what, to a significant degree, has remained understated in later assessments of Stone –​was the importance of Salvador as a companion piece to Platoon in the overall narrative of his career. Stone had grabbed people’s attention with his visceral depiction of war, testified to by reports of veterans leaving cinemas in tears, having been so affected by the Vietnam he presented on-​screen (Figure 3). Moreover, the enormous financial success of the film moved Stone into a different league in Hollywood. What was less well

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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3 Money Introduction In Wall Street:  Money Never Sleeps, the banks have taken over Gekko’s job. I was shocked when I went back to this in 2010. In Wall Street, Gekko had been the outsider, the inside trader guy, the thief, the blackmailer –​and that’s what the banks do now. In the old days the banks would never have done that, it was considered immoral, but by 2010 the whole thing had shifted because of deregulation.1 By the time Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps hit cinemas in September 2010, banking, the financial markets and capitalism in general had all

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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cinematic critiques including Reds (Warren Beatty, 1981), Missing (Costa Gavras, 1982), Silkwood (Mike Nichols, 1983), and of course Stone’s own Salvador (1986), Platoon (1986) and Wall Street. By the time that Natural Born Killers arrived in cinemas, US audiences were more likely to be savouring The Bodyguard (Mick Jackson, 1992), Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993), Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994) and The Lion King (Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, 1994). Only in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994), fêted by the Academy with a Oscar for Best Screenplay and six

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Consumerism and alienation in 1950s comedies

cinema found a winning formula in the Doctor , Norman Wisdom and Carry On series, which were rooted in a rhetoric of consensus: ‘Uneven, loose or non-existent at the level of narrative, these films depended on the mise-en-scène of particular, isolated sequences which were paced specifically to create and deliver a sense of audience communality.’ 5 However, there is a

in British cinema of the 1950s

Pavilion also displayed a brief history of the new medium. Cinemas around the nation featured seasons of classic British filmmaking. The exhibitions themselves also used film as a tool for expressing concepts and processes that could not easily be displayed. So film was not only a medium for the exposition of ideas within the Festival of Britain exhibitions, it also contributed to the entertainment on offer

in British cinema of the 1950s
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The early British films of Joseph Losey

cinema in comparison with the panache of Hollywood and the passion of Europe, I was stunned by the film’s makeover of Bogarde as a great screen character actor, and mesmerised by a Harold Pinter screenplay that seemed to set new standards for film writing in Britain. (Even a line like ‘I’m afraid it’s not very encouraging, Miss, the weather forecast,’ as delivered by an insinuating Bogarde to a

in British cinema of the 1950s
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The Admirable Crichton and Look Back in Anger

T HERE IS NO doubt that British theatre has been very important to the development of British cinema, and – the input of television in general and Channel 4 in particular notwithstanding – it remains so, as a quick glance at the number of film adaptations from stage plays from the 1980s and early 1990s testifies. This is clearly the case in the 1950s, not least because a great many

in British cinema of the 1950s