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Art, authorship and activism
Authors: Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

This book charts and analyses the work of Oliver Stone – arguably one of the foremost political filmmakers in Hollywood during the last thirty years. Drawing on previously unseen production files from Oliver Stone’s personal archives and hours of interviews both with Stone and a range of present and former associates within the industry, the book employs a thematic structure to explore Stone’s life and work in terms of war, politics, money, love and corporations. This allows the authors both to provide a synthesis of earlier and later film work as well as locate that work within Stone’s developing critique of government. The book explores the development of aesthetic changes in Stone’s filmmaking and locates those changes within ongoing academic debates about the relationship between film and history as well as wider debates about Hollywood and the film industry. All of this is explored with detailed reference to the films themselves and related to a set of wider concerns that Stone has sought to grapple with -the American Century, exceptionalism and the American Dream, global empire, government surveillance and corporate accountability. The book concludes with a perspective on Stone’s ‘brand’ as not just an auteur and commercially viable independent filmmaker but as an activist arguing for a very distinct kind of American exceptionalism that seeks a positive role for the US globally whilst eschewing military adventurism.

Open Access (free)
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

the times and was symptomatic of a country clamping down on any alternative history. However, speculative and beyond easy confirmation these thoughts may have been, they still encapsulated something that Stone had been trying to say about the public accountability of corporate media organisations, and the undue influence (sought or unsought) of government in what gets reported, since he had first locked horns with the media nearly two decades previously. Corporations –​private and public –​their activities, and their tenuous accountability were stalking the back

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Open Access (free)
Bryony Dixon

so-called ‘golden age’ of British cinema in the 1940s, but we tend go straight on to the 1960s and its ‘New Wave’ films. There is a vague sense of cosiness about the 1950s commercial films which were produced by the Rank machine or lacklustre government-sponsored ventures. A sense of mounting irrelevance resulted in the Angry Young Men/Free Cinema backlash, which is often strangely attributed to the

in British cinema of the 1950s
Open Access (free)
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

Thomas Anderson, Darren Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan and the Coen brothers, he still extended his artistic reach, consolidating himself both as a filmmaker that producers and production crews alike are keen to work with, and as a totem for a range of Left-​ leaning causes and critiques marshalled against the government and media. Indeed, while the veneration of the Hollywood establishment reduced, Stone’s auteur brand –​strengthened ironically enough by his political credentials –​actually increased in some overseas territories. Nevertheless, the commercial environment

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Open Access (free)
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

much of his career. In other words, his interest in developing a broader political critique of recent American history had found its initial register with Salvador. The film’s release may have been restricted, but it did pique the interest of some who remained ignorant of the US administration’s efforts to support regimes in Central America that were considered friendly to American interests, while engaging in subversion towards those governments that were perceived as hostile. Unfortunately –​both for the film’s backers and those who wanted the issues aired

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Open Access (free)
Yale’s Chronicles of America
Roberta E. Pearson

machinations of Reds, or Bolsheviks, or anarchists, or strikers that were said to be menacing the Republic. The perceived threat to national values escalated during the immediate post-World War One years, the years of high profile industrial disputes and the Red Scare, responded to by elites in government and industry with both violence and the violation of civil rights. Labour supported the government’s war

in Memory and popular film
Open Access (free)
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

greater indictment of the busted bankers and degenerate drug cartels. Certainly, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps offered a tale of betrayal, vengeance and redemption in the wake of the 2008 financial crash; but it barely scratched the surface of the minutiae of short-​selling and mortgage-​backed securities any more than the original Wall Street had got to grips with insider trading. So while the public continued to nurse grievances about the 2008 financial meltdown and the beggaring of government resources to fix the problem, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps was held

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Open Access (free)
Pat Jackson’s White Corridors
Charles Barr

work of the various wartime service units. With the end of the war, the demand for such films had, as we have seen, tailed off, to the dismay of the left-leaning documentary loyalists who hoped that a Labour government would make imaginative use of them to promote its social agenda. Instead, Labour acquiesced in the contraction of official film sponsorship and in the

in British cinema of the 1950s
Open Access (free)
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

technique for their own careers. From Michael Moore and Eugene Jarecki, to Errol Morris and Alex Gibney, contemporary documentary-​ makers owe much to Stone’s cinematic construction of images and ideology. Indeed, the ambitions of these fellow documentarians –​expressed notably in Fahrenheit 9/​11 (Michael Moore, 2004) and Fog of War (Errol Morris, 2003; both released after Comandante) –​ ran parallel to Stone’s own desire for greater government accountability. Yet in the same way that a new and In t r od u ctio n distinctive style emerged in Stone’s drama, so he moved

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Open Access (free)
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

collaboration from officials within the Salvadoran government had been withdrawn. After Daly’s confirmation of the support for Salvador, Stone opted to shoot that picture first, as previously planned, in Mexico. Upon completion, he moved directly on to Platoon in early 1986, with a return to the Philippines and a training camp for the actors. Supervised by Marine Captain Dale Dye, actors Charlie Sheen (Private Chris Taylor), Tom Berenger (Staff Sergeant Bob Barnes) Willem Dafoe (Sergeant Elias Grodin) and their colleagues spent two weeks living in the jungle, and at the end

in The cinema of Oliver Stone