Juvenile actors and humanitarian sentiment in the 1940s
different countries – appeared and functioned in four Hollywood studio
pictures: Twentieth Century Fox’s suspense thriller The Pied
Piper (Irving Pichel, 1942), Universal’s romantic musical The
Amazing Mrs Holliday (Jean Renoir/Bruce Danning, 1943), RKO’s
comedian comedy Heavenly Days (Howard Estabrook, 1944) and RKO’s
family fantasy The Boy with Green Hair (Joseph Losey, 1948). I
explore how these
James Baldwin was a vocal critic of Hollywood, but he was also a cinephile, and his critique of film was not so much of the medium itself, but of the uses to which it was put. Baldwin saw in film the chance to transform both politics and art—if only film could be transformed itself. This essay blends readings of archival materials, literature, film, and print culture to examine three distinct modes in Baldwin’s ongoing quest to revolutionize film. First, I argue, literature served as a key site to practice being a filmmaker, as Baldwin adapted cinematic grammars in his fiction and frequently penned scenes of filmgoing in which he could, in effect, direct his own movies. Secondly, I show that starting in the 1960s, Baldwin took a more direct route to making movies, as he composed screenplays, formed several production companies, and attempted to work in both Hollywood and the independent film scene in Europe. Finally, I explore how Baldwin sought to change cinema as a performer himself, in particular during his collaboration on Dick Fontaine and Pat Hartley’s documentary I Heard It Through the Grapevine (1982). This little-known film follows Baldwin as he revisits key sites from the civil rights movement and reconnects with activist friends as he endeavors to construct a revisionist history of race in America and to develop a media practice capable of honoring Black communities.
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.
As a technology able to picture and embody the temporality of the past, cinema has become central to the mediation of memory in modern cultural life. The memory of film scenes and movies screens, cinema and cinema-going, has become integral to the placement and location of film within the cultural imagination of this century and the last. This book is a sustained, interdisciplinary perspective on memory and film from early cinema to the present. The first section examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The second section examines the politics of memory in a series of chapters that take as their focus three pivotal sites of national conflict in postwar America. This includes the war in Vietnam, American race relations and the Civil Rights Movement, and the history of marginality in the geographic and cultural borderlands of the US. The book explores the articulation of Vietnam. The final section concentrates on the issue of mediation; it explores how technological and semiotic shifts in the cultural terrain have influenced the coding and experience of memory in contemporary cinema. It considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory. The book also examines the stakes of cultural remembering in the United States and the means by which memory has been figured through Hollywood cinema.
In this chapter I want to explore,
within a context of culture and power, the complex relations between
memory and desire. 1 More
specifically, I want to connect 1980s Hollywood representations of
America’s war in Vietnam (what I will call
‘Hollywood’s Vietnam’) with George Bush’s
campaign, in late 1990 and early 1991, to win support for US involvement
Munich–Rome–Los Angeles, or ‘The last temptation of Ingmar Bergman’
commissioned Maddin and Sparks to do a live preview of the film on the
festival’s opening night.
The plot premise is that immediately after his 1956 success
at Cannes (nomination for the Palme d’Or and first prize for
poetic humour) with Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), Bergman was
enticed to Hollywood, where he was greeted by none other than Greta
Garbo herself. One enthusiastic commentator wrote:
Ron and Russell
Mael’s yarn of the famed film director leaving Sweden for
Hollywood is an
Film festivals and the revival of Classic Hollywood
narratives of institutionalised culture.
One topic of particular significance for Film Studies is
the revival at international film festivals of movies made during the
heyday of the Hollywood studio system – that is to say, the
recirculation of those films most commonly held to represent the popular
memory of commercial cinema itself. In this chapter, I want to explore
this subject by considering briefly the
memorialised past is increasingly dependent upon, and recycled within,
audiovisual representations such as those found in popular film. My aim
is to consider how 1990s Hollywood cinema has activated a selective,
revised sense of the past, and how memory approaches to film history are
able to analyse this. In particular, I will stress how popular cultural
memory is drawn upon as an aesthetic and commercial strategy of Hollywood
echo and pressure of the past as it is configured in
present-based struggles over the meaning of lived experience.
While the study of memory and film extends itself to a number
of national cinemas, with potentially different stakes in the form and
nature of cinematic remembrance, this volume takes Hollywood, and the
cultural history of the United States, as its principal focus of concern.
Notwithstanding the dominance of
years before the Swedish film industry became a
state-sponsored enterprise. 7 The analysis consists of three case studies
intended to illuminate a number of comparatively neglected issues while
also highlighting the wide-ranging impact of Bergman’s
film-related activities. The first case study concerns Bergman’s
situation in Sweden in the late 1950s, and the second Bergman’s
relationship with and views on the Hollywood film industry, as reflected
in his communication with his then-agents. The final case study probes