Beyond Visual Aids: American Film as American Culture Author(s): Vivian C. Sobchack Source: American Quarterly, Vol. 32, No.
3 (1980), pp. 280-300 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2712451 . Accessed: 28/08/2013 10:40
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Johns Hopkins University Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to American Quarterly.
This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Wed, 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
BEYOND VISUAL AIDS: AMERICAN FILM AS AMERICAN CULTURE
VIVIAN C. SOBCHACK Southern IllinoisUniversity at Carbondale
and Studies is rather likestanding before theconfluence oftheMississippi withthenecessity of stepping Ohio Rivers.The observer is confronted is as integral wetat all. FilmStudies intotworivers at onceornotgetting ofFilmStudies; a partofAmerican Studies as American Studies is a part are so commingled meeting pointthatthe at their the separate currents A lookthrough theconvenwaters can no longer be clearly distinguished. StudiesAssociation and theSocietyfor tionprograms of theAmerican in CinemaStudiesrevealshow frequently converge thetwo disciplines Studies and Film andmethods.1 American their subject matter, interests, Studiesare differentiated by theirrespective goals and emphases;the is American former wouldpotentially all that theartand study (including all thatis film), whilethelatter wouldstudy artifact whichis American inthecase ofAmerican cultural, cinematic film, theaesthetic, (including, andhistorical thesimilarities experience). However, context ofAmerican Bothare unruly, their that thedisciplines sharefaroutweigh differences. of problems Bothare synthetic, and, as such,face similar broad,fluid. oftheir interdistheory, andthedemands legitimacy, scope,philosophy, As well,bothhavealwaysbeenhighly dependent upon nature. ciplinary
1 The Society forCinema Studies is the nationalorganization forscholars and teachersin Film Studies and the publisherof Cinema Journal. Membershipinformation may be obtainedfromthe Society's Secretary,Daniel J. Leab, at 121 E. 78thStreet,New York, New York 10021.
This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Wed, 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
42 on Wed. Press. intheMoviesis a sensitive tivepsycho-social films from exploration ofAmerican 1930-1963. Michael Wood. which featuresa range of articlesdemonstrating the approaches suggestedin this essay. New Jersey07101. edited by Peter C.91. It had Slipped My Mind" (New York: Basic Books. structuralism. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.New JerseyInstitute of Technology. bothofwhich deal with theWestern in itsliterary and cinematic forms as ritual artanimating themostenduring
Romantic links Imagination film to itsnineteenth-century ancesliterary and MichaelWood'sAmerica andsubjectry.cogent.thedisciplines merge. Salisbury. itis often impossible (andhappily unnecessary) totellthem apart. and hermeneutics. The Journal of Popular Film and Television fromthe Popular Culture Center.The Six-GunMystique(BowlingGreen.The disciplines of literature and popularculture have givenus
and history. Thus. psychoanalytic theory. each illuminating and providing a context forthe other.when thebest scholars in thetwo disciplines focuson American film as their subject. as one institution among Garth many.BowlingGreen State University. 1974). 31 (Winter1979). Literature/Film Quarterly.1. Maryland 21801. Ohio 43403. Ohio: Popular Press. anthropology. The Journalof Popular Film and Television. Within their work. phenomenology. such as the paradigms and modelscurrently provided by semiotics. and Will Wright's Six Guns and Societyis one of thefirst structural approaches to a film genreand its
2 LiteraturelFilmQuarterlycan be obtained from Salisbury State College. Studies popular culture.Film as American Culture
key works like JenniCalder's There Must Be a Lone Ranger and John American myths.c/o HistoryFaculty. There Must Be a Lone Ranger (London: Hamish Hamilton. The Spoken Seen: Film and the Romantic Imagination (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ.
This content downloaded from 147.2 Therehas also been an increasing number of impressive booksaboutfilm bythosewhoseinitial allegiance layoutside the cinema. Particularattention is also directedto the special "Film and AmericanStudies" issue of American Quarterly. Newark. America in theMovies.
Cawelti'sTheSix-Gun Mystique. and Film and History from The HistoriansFilm Commitee. Jowett's Film:TheDemocratic Artis a sociologists history of a mass medium in a mass society. Duringthe last decade therehas been increasing evidenceof concerned. 3 JenniCalder. Rollins.3 has givenus Ian Jarvie's Sociology an investigaMoviesand Society. and Film and History are all relativelynew journals whose
otherdisciplines fortheir methods and modelsof inquiry. BowlingGreen.and cinematically literate filmto scholarship relating American inliterature. John Cawelti.American film and American culture are considered mutually interdependent. Frank McConnell. or "Santa Maria. 1971). 1975). tionof the cinemaas a social phenomenon. Frank McConnell's The Spoken Seen: Film and the
pagesare regularly shared by scholars with diverse academicorigins and intellectual horizons. 1975). sociology.
American the Hollywood Image (New York: Ungar.: Scarecrow Press. Grant. Barry K. 5 Edmund Carpenter.. or documentaryfilmare seldom spoken of in this fashion.Anthropology and civilized forprimitive implications philosophical to ofa newapproach tothedevelopment significantly has also contributed studiesin Sol Worthand JohnAdair's both filmand ethnographic howpeople to discover theattempt records Through Navajo Eyes. Despite its action-
the Hollywood Image. O'Connor and MartinA. Westernsand musicals are genres.finally.4 American incontemporary changes parallel which forms variant Oh.and social forces shaping century.AmeriA. whereas narrative. filmis seen as the feature its pages.thislatter since1925as demonandtheDepartment ofDefense between Hollywood JohnE. Guts and Glory: Great American War Movies (Reading. ed. 1900-1942 (New York: Oxford Univ. 6 Thomas Cripps. HistorylAmericanFilm: Interpreting Robert Sklar.and Martin Andspecialmention confrontation. Slow Fade to Black: The Negro in American Films. and Stanley J.42 on Wed. intoilluminating films and historians Movie-Made must be made of Robert Sklar's pioneeringhistory. for example. of CaliforniaPress. What a Blow This Phantom Gave Me (New York: Holt. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.1973).1. N. 1900-1942 and its companionBlack Film as Genre. ranging genre film ignored ofa previously redemption LawrenceSuid's historical
of relations revealsthe history workcarefully packed title. Beyond Formula: AmericanFilm Genres (New York: Harcourt. GarthJowett. scholarin themeticulous haveresulted bothofwhich curiosity.1978).animated.5 and wideits rigor has lentfilm of history thediscipline And. 1977).cultural. Movies and Society (New York: Basic Books. Press.which so of cinematography themthe rudiments by teaching reality structure thattheymay serveas theirown ethnographers. 1970). 1975).
in Guts and Glory: Great American War Movies. Oh. the Hollywood America. The termgenre as used here and as commonlyapplied to filmdescribes the classification of filmson the basis of similarcontentas well as on similarities of formalstructure.91. Lawrence Suid. Jackson.economic. Stuart M. 1976). an introspective Phantom and imageand itsmagical photographic ofthemoving lateson thenature man. Film: The Democratic Art (Boston: Little. JohnE. 1977) and Black Film as Genre (Bloomington:Indiana Univ. Whata Blow This has shapedEdmundCarpenter's Anthropology specuwhich diary and provocative Gave Me.6 halfof the twentieth audiencesin the first American
I Ian Jarvie. Ohio: Pflaum. See. Solomon.J. Movie-Made America: A CulturalHistoryof American Movies (New York: Random House. Kaminsky American Film Genres: Approaches to a CriticalTheory of Popular Film (Dayton. Six Guns and Society: A Structural Study of the Western(Berkeley: Univ..1974). 1976). Press. and Winston. 1978). feature of over thirty history in the production strated crucialcollection of essays.282
ship of works like Thomas Cripps' Slow Fade to Black: The Negro in AmericanFilms.: Addison-Wesley. Mass. and
society. Film Genre: Theory and Criticism (Metuchen. Jackson's O'Connor. 1972).Through Rinehart Navajo Eyes: An Exploration in Film Communicationand Anthropology (Bloomington:Indiana Univ Press. films.Within nexus of ideological. Will Wright. Sol Worthand JohnAdair. brings Film: Interpreting can History/American
This content downloaded from 147. 1979).eds. 1975).Brown.
American filmshave forthe mostpartbeen abused or neglected by American Studies. as an interestingor entertaining garnish to themoresubstantial and traditional fareof research ahd pedagogy. film is regarded as irrelevant ortreated as a medium which scavenges primary works to create imitations or alterations ofthem. or ofpossible valuesolelyas an entertaining footnote tothemain business oftraditional scholarship.Film as American Culture
These important contributions to both AmericanStudies and Film Studiesweremadeby scholars who recognize thatthemedium and the culture are inextricably and significantly boundtogether.for the example.They have been considered of the same unworthy meticulous description anddetailed or historical afforded analysis poetry documents. Indeed. But farmore frequently film is regarded as little more than a visualaid.as rhetorical discourse. They have not enjoyedthe statusawardedthosearts.1. or their mimetic photographic surfaces. In literature. Perspectiveson the Study ofFilm (Boston: Little. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
I JohnStuartKatz.as literature. dialogueor narration. let alonerealized. in the primacy of the written word and from the casual attitude of those who treatit too familiarly.and on filmas communication. as interpreting history.thevalueofAmerican cinemato the history and lifeof American arts and letters is seen as primarily illustrative. as significant culture. Moviesare seen as revealing no morethanthey overtly say through the simplest aspectsof theirnarrative their development. If.91. Whether madeas fiction or document. Filmoften suffers from theprejudices of those who believe. it becomes obvious thatthe medium'srelevanceto American Studies as boththetextand thecontext culture and history ofAmerican has hardly been recognized. serious considerationof Americanfilmas Americanart. 1971). Thus.arand documents tifacts. This is a collectionof essays whichfocuses on filmstudyand education. andculture is inhibited bycommon attitudes whichpromote cinematic illiteracy.on film as an artand one of the humanities.Brown. as making history. onecontrasts common use of filmin bothresearch and teaching withthe synthetic inJohn Katz's Perspectives approaches suggested Stuart on theStudy of Film. film is also regarded as besidethepoint-of dubious use as either a primary document or an interpretation of American history andculture. rarely treated as history. Thus.environment. outsideof Film Studies. ideology. Most important. as history. history. scholarswho use filmin researchand teaching American Studies generally focuson content and ignore theforce lanofcinematic guageand form. and politics. films maybe treated as artifacts butthey are bythehistorian. criticism.42 on Wed. mosteasily"read" and illuminated by scholars trained inthecomplexities intheequivaofverbal butuntutored language lent complexities ofcinematic language.
This content downloaded from 147. In history.
10The creaky romances. (New York: Oxford Univ. someone attunedto the always apparenton the narrative visual and formalelementsof Berkeleytextsmight findthe filmideologically complex.R. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.9 most American movies have avoided the reflexiveness and distancing techniques so oftenfoundin European cinema. See. Feature Films on 8mm. Or so it firstappears. Except for the maverickcinema of the American underground. the uses of space and performers in the
8 Citizen Kane (Orson Welles. and strange. Dutton.and Videotape. Adams Sitney. see Tony Thomas and JimTerry. American films have rarelyannouncedtheirown complexity. 1975).. 1974). lavish spectacle. 11Lucy Fischer. StandishD. 1971).surrealvision of bodies in space are obvious in theirrejectionof the social reality choreographed outside the movie theater. 10See Andrew Bergman. 1973). Indeed. 1974) is also highlyrecommendedfor its provocativesummariesofjust how "alternative" cinema formand contentmay become. the reader is directedto James Limbacher. rpt.Visionary Film: The AmericanAvant-Garde1943-1978. studio. for example. Sixth Edition (New York: R.8 Untilrecently. Bowker. mosthave had a tendency to hide theirown devices. Learning cinematic language and film theoryhardly seems crucial to a discussion of Busby Berkeleymusicals as one formof cultural amusement in Depression America.1. and Art in Cinema: A Symposiumof the Avant-GardeFilm. Lawder. "The Image of Woman as Image: The Optical Politics of Dames. The CubistCinema (New York: New York Univ. 2-10. 9 The American avant-gardefilmmovementafterWorld War II was influencedby the artisticupheavals in Europe duringthe first-decadesof the century. and the periodicalsFilm Cultureand Millennium. see Sheld6n Renan. For example. 1941). 1967). New York: Arno Press. Instead theyhave opted foran illusionismwhich has been so successful thattechnique and form seem eitherinvisibleor simpleand undemanding of the viewer. if not unnecessary. For rentalinformation.with Busby Berkeley. Press." Film Quarterly. The Busby BerkeleyBook (New York: New York Graphic Society. ed.284
American Quarterly FILM LANGUAGE AND FILM THEORY
My intention has notbeen to suggestthatthissuperficial regardforfilm is purely willful. ed.2nd ed.Amos Vogel's Film as a Subversive Art (New York: Random House. Press. Since filmsare primary texts. P." As well. which has devoted itselfto testingthe boundaries of formas well as content. an exploitationnot level. 16mm. A formalanalysis of Berkeley's rhetoricaluse of the movingcamera (its acts of penetration and voyeurism)and his literalization of sexual metaphorscan illuminate the dance director's visual exploitationof women.Citizen Kane notwithstanding.30 (Fall 1976). Americanfilms have been the most technicallyand structurally seamless of national cinemas. 1979). An Introduction to theAmerican Underground Film (New York: EP.
This content downloaded from 147.42 on Wed. For a specifically Americanfocus. The need to "read" or "decode" mostAmericanfilmsoftenappears pretentious. 1968). by Frank-Stafiffacher (1947. back-stage plots. RKO.and year of release.We're in the Money: Depression America and Its Films (New York: Harper and Row. For a volumewhichpictorially conveys the lavish surrealism of Berkeley's work. they will be cited as such: notationprovidesthe director.91.
shiftsof angle.12 Althoughsuch an interpretation mightbe difficult to "prove" (involving formal and contentanalyses ofthefilms and historical and sociological research). 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.after textsand itis theability to read them all. sound of all kinds.42 on Wed. composition. Films.
12 It would be fascinating to screen a Berkeley musical like Dames (Berkeley. 1976). Butthis Cinematography similarity unreliable whichsoundlikewordsof our as thewordsof a foreign language own.such light. and uniformity. the German film recording and apotheosizingthe symmetry and styleof Nazi spectacle at the 1934 Nuremberg Rally.. their illusionof realismhas been so successfulthattheyseem opaque. tension-filled-sometimes dramatic-process of perceiving The ways in which filmsuse the rectangularspaces of the frame. quantity.Film as American Culture
dance numbersstressand value symmetry. The question whetherfilm actuallyhas or is a language is in constantdebate among filmscholars. Here it is meantto refer to the formalelementsand devices of filmwhichare used in and across givenworks. 14 Jurij Lotman. and the complementarity of all these or counterpoint elements presentedto the viewer make the need for cinematicliteracy obvious.13 Far too often. and superficially transparent American filmshave been dismissed or given only cursoryattention in American Studies.1936). JurijLotman identifiesthe problem which analysis of the cinematic image always entails: is as resembles theworld which we see. The illusion pretends prehension is created where no genuine comprehension exists.'4 integral. 1934) with Leni Riefenstahl'sTriumphof the Will (Riefenstahl.the hypothesis would probablynot have been articulatedto initiatesuch an inquirywere the scholar unaware of film language.Semioticsof Cinema. timethrough movement express meaning and attitudethroughlighting.Onlybyunderthecinema canwe be convinced but that itis nota slavish standing copyoflife.by Mark E.theirformand technique hidden by theirphotographic persuasiveness.color. MichiganSlavic Contributions (Ann Arbor: Univ.. mechanicalmovement.. offering up only content.construct and deconstruct and editing. One might advance the hypothesisthat Berkeleyfilmsvisualize a totalitarian aestheticresponsiveto the popular fororderand leadershipin the chaotic and uncertain yearning worldoutside the theater. perhaps the most valuable and clear overview of filmlanguage available. Suino.
This content downloaded from 147. And more mimeticfilmshave hardlyfaredbetter. In Semiotics of Cinema. 4.conformity. an activerecreation an inwhich into similarities anddifferences areassembled life.1. 13 I am using the term "film language" extremely loosely. fantastic. That whichis different of comto be identical. are primary whichis crucial (despite the bibliographic emphasisof thepresentessay). Warners. of Michigan Press.although theirsurfaces have been taken seriouslyas a mirror of the world. trans.91.
The Major Film Theories: An Introduction(New York: Oxford Univ. coversimilar thesetexts Although to Focus andAn Introduction bothCritical technology. Blumenberg. Gianetti'sUnderstanding
language. DudleyAndrew's offilm theory. analogous
Readings provides many selections from and Criticism: Introductory
Ibid. JamesMonaco. and it is impossible outside that
presentsthe and critically chronologically Film Theories:An Introduction
An IntroRead a Film. American 18 J. andVivian Sobchack Brown.GeraldMast and Marshall complement
Critical Focus: An Introductionto Film. language.: Critical Focus: An Introductionto Film (Belmont.theseintroductions intended Generally aesthetics.a specific ganizedinformation. DudleyAndrew. Thomas
This content downloaded from 147.91. Louis D. David Bordwell and Kristin Allan Casebier's Film AppreciaThompson's Film Art:An Introduction. Understanding Harcourt.
Language. Gianetti. 1977). a brief. 1976). 42.each serving are particularly of selectedtheory and criticism Cohen'sFilm Theory theother.andThomasSobchackandVivianC. theprocessand progress their respecisolating usefully thinkers.J. 94. in be found thanmight in approach and less idiosyncratic moreholistic M. Movies. Historyand Theoryof Film and Media (New York: Oxford Univ. Sobchack's within whichto context an historical duction to Film. Sobchack..: Addison-Wesley. 1976).1.1976). offilm a knowledge ground TheMajor J.
1980). How to Read a Film: The Art. Mass.42 on Wed.17And to provide one shouldalso becomeawareof language.whichavoids technical orcenterof complexly as a "concentrated of film vocativeoverview understanding yetnontechnical Next."'6 canbe obtained infilms arecombined andhowthey ofcinematic elements works on film availableintroductory at leastone ofthemany by reading tendto be as texts.Technology.. Press.286
As Lotman emphasizes: "Cinematic meaning is meaning expressed by the resources of cinematic language. Blumenberg's are Richard recommended tradeaesthetics. with film somedegreeoffamiliarity Lotman'sSemiotics by first reading perhaps. Film Art An Introduction and Kristin Thompson. influential ideasofcinema'smost in addressed questions tiveviewsofthoseontological andepistemological Two anthologies intheprimary works themselves. N. with and deals morethanothers film. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. and experimental ofdocumentary Filmspendsomesizeablespace on theaesthetics of and structure to Film is the onlytextto explorethe aesthetics and An Introduction genrefilms.AllanCasebier. 17 Ca. to Film(Boston:Little. Thisis bestaccomplished. 1975). proand provides language of Cinema. FilmAppreciation (New York: 1979).Louis D. Press. RichardM.: Movies (EnglewoodCliffs. 15 Studiesscholaris to achieveat least taskfortheAmerican The first and to achieveit quickly.18 a less orderly fashion to fine. David Bordwell Wadsworth. (Reading. Ibid. Prentice-Hall. AnIntroduction C. media intoother How toRead a Filmextends material. JamesMonaco's How to tion.
andGeorge Roy Hill'sSlaughterhouse-Five (adapted from Vonnegut's novel)arecertainly citedandoften praised. The nuance and subtlety foundin the filmversionsofDodsworthor Miss Lonelyheartsare forgottenfor theobviousandempty adaptations ofTheGreatGatsby. 1972). Fox. Warners. Film Theoryand Criticism:Introductory Readings. and Deliverance).91. adaptations enjoyedthe same statusas Classic Comics.Press. A basicknowledge offilm language andtheory willenablethe American Studiesscholarto consider film American in new relations to thosemorefamiliar.Bill Nichols. United Artists. (Erichvon Stroheim.Iffilm has beenconsidered adaptation ature.ElmerGantry (Richard Brooks. FILM AND ARTS AND LETTERS Most filmscholarship in American Studieshas concentrated on the medium's ofliterary litersources.1951).andJackClayton. Moby Dick (John United Huston. 1956). Paramount. 1959). 1974). 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. Moviesand Methods (Berkeley:Univ. Slaughterhouse-Five (George RoyHill.. Tragedy (Josef Paramount. Goldwyn.. Artists.adaptions ofSister Carrie. 1960). whileBill Nichols'Movies and Methodsoffers material which reflects themostrecent in ideological andformal thought 19 film theory andcriticism.Film as American Culture
those traditional andcontemporary theorists introduced byAndrew as the cinema'skey thinkers. 1949. 1977). and social and political history. MGM.42 on Wed.and compressing theleisurely and contemplative intoa offerings ofliterature twohourswhichstress quickand energetic actionat theexpenseofthe source'stheme andstructure (e.The Sound and theFury.1979). Dodsworth (William Wyler.g. divisions of American culture: artsand letters.Carrie(William Wyler. of California Press. however. Mostoftheliterary is scholar's energy. Paramount. 1924). American film is accused of diluting and vulgarizing American fiction by substituting the metaphoric withthe ridiculously concrete (e. Gatsby (Herbert Brenon. 1952). 20 Greed AnAmerica vonSternberg. thewhite whaleinHuston'sMobyDick). (New York:Oxford Univ.Donehue. it has been mostoften a secondary acderivative literature-one cordedneither independent status as literature (whether as adaptation or criticism "original"work)noras literary (as an interpretive of reading literature). 1959). von Sternberg's An AmericanTragedyand George Steven's
most film offiction have part(andnotalwaysundeservedly).1931) and A Place in the Sun (George Stevens. Elmer Gantry. 1926.Universal. if alwaysawkward. United TheGreat Artists. 1972).
This content downloaded from 147. 1936).TheSoundand theFury(Martin Ritt.1.Elliott Nugent. Paramount. spentchastising easy targets.
19Gerald Mast and Marshall Cohen. Paramount.g. Paramount.20 Forthe
McTeague). MissLonelyhearts (Vincent J.
2nded. Deliverance (John Boorman. Untilrecently. common practice amongliterary scholars has been to illustrate American fiction withfilm adaptations. Complexand provocative workslike von Stroheim's Greed (adapted fromNorris'
A Place intheSun (both adapted from theDreiser novel).
42 on Wed.Claude Edmonde Magny's The Age of the American Novel: The Film Aestheticof Fiction Between the Two Wars provides a different approach to the rela21 22 23 24
Robert Richardson. It not only examines filmin respect to.:Prentice Hall. onlytwo are adaptations of American fiction (The Grapesof Wrath and TheOx-Bow Incident).
This content downloaded from 147. has rarely Lastly. a film editor) whoinforms with personal vision tothedegree that thework. theopening discussion of adaptation and the and similarities differences the mediais extremely between worthwhile. cinema in its various forms to poetry. perhaps because they preserve the sanctityof the verbal text which is theirsource. However.the dramaticadaptation is also seen as primarily illustrative. 1977). Medium. Literature and Film (Bloomington: IndianaUniv. Film (Englewood andlasLiterature Cliffs.23 itclearlypositionsfilm narrative Although in relationto a literary model.uses of rhythm. John Harrington. performer.1968). becomesimprinted witha recognizable personal style. and as.and LiteraryArt. as a substitute forthe live performance of a drama which is somehow unaffected by the new form through which it is presented. particularliterary genres. The most widelyknown of these is George Bluestone's Novels Into Film: The Metamorphosis of Fiction Into Cinema. althoughmore respectable and less criticized. but also explores key aestheticand criticalissues undersuch chapterheadingsas "Authorshipand Auteurship.Film And/AsLiterature. Press.22 To date.91. N.film been consideredin its relationship to poetry. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.ofCalifornia NovelsIntoFilm(Berkeley: Press."24 "Message." There are.
Charge of the Light Brigade (TonyRichardson. UnitedArtists. or to the work of a particularliteraryfigure which has been adapted or influencedby the cinema. 1968)." and "Film's Literary Resources.One workwhichdoes considerfilm in relationto both poetryand drama (as well as to the novel) is Robert Richardson's Literatureand Film.1.The similarities thatfilmand drama share have led to a criticalneglectoftheirmostinteresting differences. the most diverse and imaginative approaches to the intersection of filmand literature appear in JohnHarrington'sexcellent anthology.25 Finallyavailable in English.288
Adaptationsof drama have fareda bit better-perhaps because there are fewer of them. of course. however initially derivative or collaborative. but most likely because of the general lack of cinematic knowledge which would enable the literary scholar to identifythe similar syntactical and ways of creatingmetaphorwhich link strategies. perhaps because they have a parallel mode of performancewithina determinatetime frame. Theterm auteur designates thedirector (or screenwriter. however. 25 George Bluestone. cinematographer. 1969). Univ. other useful workswhichtreatfilmand its relationship eitherto a singleliterary genre (most usually the novel). perhapsbecause films rarely "adapt" poems (Charge of the Light Brigade notwithstanding). Ofthe six films treated at length.J. it is the only available anthology which is theoretical in emphasis and extremely broad in scope.
In many selections. to accountfortheplannedideological choices within the normally opaque Hollywood cinema.
Faulkner's Intruderin the Dust: Novel Into Film (Knoxville: Univ. bookwas originally 27 BruceF.28 These anthologiesare particularly interesting not onlybecause theyfocus solely on Americanliterature (the firstranges fromCooper to Faulkner and the second fromCaldwell to Updike).26 And. 2. Faulkner and Film(New York:Ungar. York: Ungar.42 on Wed. Americanfilm existsas literature.The latter 28 Gerald The Classic American Novel and the Movies (New PearyandRogerShatzkin.91.Steinbeck.as well as actual criticalpractices-devoted to more general and theoretical concerns.Regina volumealso includes the screenplay.1977). The ModernAmericanNovel and theMovies (New York: Ungar. thatthe interested reader willfindthe mostpracticaland varied discussionsof individual worksand authors. Kawin. theeditorspointout significance thefollowing in the second volume (whichhas a chapteron "The Politics of Adaptation"): The act of demonstrating howa novelbecomesa film is morethanacademic In studying the exercise andformalist It is a toolfor curiosity. perhaps the most convenientcollectionsof materialdevoted to analyses of the Americannovel as it has been transformed intoAmericanfilmappear in Gerald Peary and Roger Shatzkin's The Classic American Novel and the Movies and its latercompanionvolume. 1977). Pearyand Shatzkin. of Tennessee Press.1978). Fadiman's narrowerstudy.trans.
Claude-Edmonde Magny. K. Fadiman. Kawin's Faulkner and Film and Regina K.Wideningthe of literature.
theTwo Wars.1.and Faulkner.1972). most recently. as penetrating and as ideological structures.29 Despite the emphasis on adaptation apparentin the abundance of refilmalso bornefromthe union of filmand literature.filmadaptacriticalintions are seen as autonomousaestheticworks. terpretations and signification oftheadaptiveprocess. search and criticism In its own language (aural and visual). Hemingway. Outside thejournal's pages.27 It is in Literature/Film Quarterly. her work explores the aesthetic interchange between filmtechnique and prose styleas it emerges in the fiction of Dos Passos. political analysis. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. we canbegin madealong film mazeofartistic decisions thewaytothefinal text. Faulknerhas been the subject of both Bruce F.however. 29 The Modern AmericanNovel.Film as American Culture
tionshipbetween the novel and cinema. 1978). but also because manyof the essays acknowledgetheadaptiveprocess as morethanthe complextransformation of one mediuminto another.Faulkner's Intruderin the Dust: Novel Into Film. The Age of the AmericanNovel: The Film Aestheticof Fic-
This content downloaded from 147.The by EleanorHochman tionBetween published in Francein 1948. (New York:Ungar.The ModernAmerican Novel and the Movies.
Rudolphand RobertAltman. 1949). 2. Peckinpah: The Western Films(Champaign: Univ.91. TheSearchers (Ford. "Sam Peckinpah: The SavageEye" in Jim Kitses'keyvolume. MGM. The work of John Ford (directorof tribution Stagecoach.Paramount. trans.290
treatstheverysame themesand motifs foundin moretraditionally literary genres. In additionto previously-cited thereare such diverse studiesas Diana literature. McBride andMichael John Ford (New Wilmington. 1979). Slotkin. Philip French's Westerns. BuffaloBill and theIndians. Consider. Americanfilmas the popular literature of a nation and cultureis equal to any formof written literature in its abilityto animate Americanmythology or to express overtly or symbolically thepreoccupations of Americanexperience.
This content downloaded from 147.Thereis a wealth ofmaterial on Ford. and Richard Slotkin. Serra Cary's The HollywoodPosse. See also Robert Warshow. of IllinoisPress.3' or. Warners.1962).RKO. Warners.
suggested byArthur Kopit'sstageplay. forexample. Millerand BuffaloBill and theIndians. Ballad of Cable Hogue (Peckinpah.139-73. 1975). or Sitting Bull's HistoryLesson) is as conscious and precise a criticof the Westernromance and its morality of styleas are RobertWarshow. Ballad of Cable Hogue. 1939). RegenerationThroughViolence: The Mythology of theAmericanFrontier(Middletown.United Artists. 1970). 31 Ride the High Country (Sam Peckinpah. United Forthescreenplay.A. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
."The Western: or theAmerican Filmpar excellence" and"The Evolution oftheWestern" inWhat is Cinema? Vol. whichrecordsthearrivalofdisplaced to cowboys in Hollywood around 1912and theirsubsequentcontributions the Hollywood range as actors and stuntmen.: Wes-
leyanUniv. and Jon Tuska's The Filmingof the West.1976).33 There are a variety of ways in which the Western addresses the myths whichit has helped to perpetuateand alter.42 on Wed. Horizons West: Anthony Mann. 1971).J.butfor see Joseph three ofthebestvolumes.The Wild Bunch(Peckinpah. see Alan Artists. Press. 140-57. BuffaloBill and theIndians.
Budd Boetticher.1969).ofCalifornia Press.:
Series(Bloomington: Indiana Univ. forthatmatter. 1973). Place. Owen Wister. (Bloomington: IndianaUniv. 1976). which interprets the films of the '50s and '60s from a socio-political perspective. or SittingBull's HistoryLesson." inTheImmediate Experience (New York:Atheneum. Miller (Robert Altman. Warners.Warners. "Movie Chronicle: The Westerner.Press.AndreBazin. She Worea YellowRibbon (Ford. The Western Films ofJohnFord (Secaucus. N. 1976). 32 The Shootist (Don Siegel. 1969). 1973). Robert Altman (who made McCabe and Mrs.1. andPaul Seydor.and Andrew The JohnFord Movie Mystery Sdr-ris. byHugh Gray (Berkeley: Univ.135-54. 1975).Andre Bazin. and The Searchers). She Worea YellowRibbon. Guthrie. 1971).Conn. or A.Cinema One
CitadelPress. the cinema's conto the mythof the West. which provoca30Stagecoach (John Ford. and The WildBunch). orSitting Bull'sHistory Lesson(Altman. 1956).B. 33 McCabe and Mrs.30Sam Peckinpah(directorof Ride the High Country. Indeed.Sam Peckinpah: Studies of AuthorshipWithin the Western. JohnWayne (the iconic Westerner fromhis kineticyouthin "B" movies to his cancer-ridden old age in The Shootist)32is as important to Western mythology as the work of Ned Buntline. J.See Chapter 4. andRichard S.1971).
York: Da Capo Press. Indians(New York:Bantam Books. Press.
Press. the other elitist. This paradox is covertlydramatizedand resolved in the gangster a genre film. and essays. see Stephen
Mamber. Salesmen(Albert and David Maysles. and Gen.1975). Jesse James. short stories. Smile(Ritchie.. poems. United Artists. 1972). Eugene Rosow. TheBad NewsBears(Ritchie. George Armstrong Custer. and work-oriented. Born to Lose: The Gangster Film in
America (New York: Oxford Univ.
This content downloaded from 147.ColinMcArthur. Dreamsand Dead
Ends: The American GangsterlCrimeFilm (Cambridge: MIT Press. Paramount. and The Bad News Bears). like novels.
Cinema One Series(New York:Oxford Univ.structure.and JackShadoian.TheFilming ofthe West(New York: Doubleday. pragmatic.social. 1972). The Hollywood Posse: The Story of a Gallant Band of Horsemen Who Made Movie History (Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Robert Warshow has cogentlyobserved the gangster's rise and fall as a very Americantragedyof success. for instance. see JackNachbar.34 As well as animating familiar Americanmythology. Cinema Verite in America: Studies in UncontrolledDocumentary (Cambridge:
MIT Press. Warners. literally littlemen gutsyand smartenough to make theirway to thetop of an illegal.1. Americanfilms also moregenerallyprovidea literature whichexplores (withvarying degrees of transparency)pervasive American preoccupations. N. TheCandidate (Ritchie. and the genre's thematicsignificance and visual iconography has attracteda good deal of fascinating scholarship. Focus on theWestern (Englewood Cliffs. Robinson and JamesCagney.J.42 on Wed. 1974).1977). See also Diana Serra Cary.Jon Tuska. Smile. plays.Film as American Culture
tivelyincorporatesthe developmentaland economic history of the genre withdiscussions of such legendaryfigures as Billy the Kid.but corporate.1969).the major theme of directorMichael Ritchie (DownhillRacer." in TheImmediate Experience (New York: Atheneum. Wright's Six Guns and Society. "The Gangster as Tragic Hero. 1977). 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. American films have both covertlyand overtlyconfronted the tensions inherentin our concept of personal success and its paradoxical suspension of two contradictory impulses-one democratic. ed. 1975).
36 Downhill Racer(Michael Ritchie.1974).Press.ethical.As a formof Americanliterature.1976). 1978).In addition. Philip French.127-33. Westerns:Aspects of a Movie Genre.For an excellent discussion of American cinema verit6 in general and of the Maysleses in particular. 1969). CinemaOne
Series (New York: Viking. Paramount 1976).and reward-oriented. 1971). and Kitses' Horizons West.35 Personal success in Americanfilmhas also been treatedovertly-as. fora fineselection of essays on the Western.individualistic. or in the unsettling look at a team of door-to-door cinema veritW Bible salesmen in documentaristsAlbert and David Maysles' Salesmen.91. whichflourished in the early 1930sand made iconic figures of Edward G. filmsare a medium throughwhich stories are told and the moods and images of America given shape and specificarticulation.36 Thus.:PrenticeHall. The Candidate. 35 See Robert Warshow. filmsreflectin a deceptivelyeffortless and dreamimagery whichis part way the nightmare
34 See Calder'sThere Must Be a Lone Ranger and Cawelti'sThe Six-Gun Mystique. Underworld USA.
N. Sex. independent film (terms used both synonymouslyand to distinguish nuances of formal.littlespecificattention whichthe motionpictureshares withpainting. usually (although.aided by the plentiful sketches and photographsprovided in a volume like Caligari's
37 Barbara Deming.therelationship betweenfilm and othervisual and design arts has been largelyignored. rpt. and The Shadow of an Airplane Climbs the Empire State Building: A World Theoryof Film (New York: Doubleday. RunningAway from Myself:A Dream Portraitof America Drawn fromthe Films of the 40's (New York: Grossman.
A Battock.experimental. 1973). Psyche. Etcetera in the Film (New York: Horizon Press. thatwhile there has been some interestin the styles and use of design and architecture withinHollywood films.J.It is telling.S.
CriticalAnthology (New York: Dutton. coland effects sculpture.the Dream.rpt. 1970).rpt.P.not always) isolatingthe art director fromvisual traditions and influencesin thecultureof whichhe is a part. and architecture.It is finally leftto thereader. ed. The Essential Cinema: Essays on the Films in the Collection of Anthology Film Archives.1975). Except forhistorical and studies of the American avant-garde.
New York: Simon and Schuster. 1969). Visionary Film. Adams Sitney's Visionary especiallyusefulin thiscontextas it draws parallelsbetweentheromantic and romanfilmmakers and structural concerns of Americanavant-garde tic American poetry and abstract expressionist American painting.40 Otherwise.39 However.91. Vachel Lindsay speaks of filmas sculpture-in-motion. Cited earlier. 1970). 40 TheArt Picture (1915. structural.38 on film and literature are abundant. tion). The ThreeFaces of the Film: The Art. and makes specificcomparisonsbetween filmsand works of fineand plastic art.1. Hallucination oftheir original publication: MagicandMyth oftheMovies(1947.the onlybook-length as a literaryone) was originallypublished in 1915. VachelLindsay. 1969). In The Art of the Moving Picture. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.ed. theCult (1960. (1944.292
of our aesthetic and culturalheritage-a precious quality of the cinema appreciatedin Barbara Deming's RunningAway From Myself:A Dream Portraitof America Drawn fromthe Films of the 40's.South Brunswick.1967)and Sitney. and architecture-in-motion.underground. 1970). NewYork:Simon andSchuster.
38 See. outside of some briefdiscussion in works whichfocus on film of film as a fineart(as well consideration aesthetics. 37and in all of the odd but often precisely appropriate somnambulent film criticism of ParkerTyler.the scant literature thereis tends to emphasize the mechanicsof set designor its history. 1967). TheNewAmerican Cinema: Sitney. Film is lage.rpt..the While scholarshipand criticism and critical same cannotbe said offilm and finearts.: A.forinstance.techniques. NewYork:Liveright. oftheMoving
This content downloaded from 147. in order TheHollywood Parker Tyler.Alsosee Gregory
Press. ideologicalemphases and means of produchas been paid to those impulses.42 on Wed.happily. Barnes.. 1 (New York: New York Univ. painting-in-motion.
.. Hall. Potter.
41 L&on Barsacq. of socialrelations.41 Architecture of the motionpicturepalace has fareda bitbetter." Screen Education." a syllabusfiledwiththe National Faculty of the American Studies Association.N. 36. Caligari's Cabinet and OtherGrandIllusions: A History ofFilm Design.or people.Why not. 1976). 1969). Dennis Sharp. all filmsare constituted through images (both visual and aural). trans." Film Comment.42 on Wed. .91. 44 Richard Collins. "An Acre of Seats in a Garden of Dreams. The PicturePalace And OtherBuildingsfor the Movies (New York: F. The fictionfilm. only images chosen by is not as superfluous. by whom. No matter what theirform. FILM AND HISTORY As one Britishcriticappreciates. 27-58. we have to enquire how its discourses are produced and consumed. The Best RemainingSeats: Golden Age of the Movie Palace (New York: C. 1961). whatrelation do theybear to human bothas theexpression of that activity of it?44 and as an informant activity Americanfilmdoes not merelyhave a history-it also is history. 32-51. See also Elliott Stein.
This content downloaded from 147.therefore.1. See also Mary Corliss and Carlos Clarens. "Designed for Film: The Hollywood Art Director." Film Comment. howdo the whatplace do they have in thetotality worlds thesediscourses construct represent and interpret thematerial world. Brown.by Michael Bullock. Films are traces of specific momentsin specificspaces mediatedby humanbeingswho are always culture-bound. finally.look at the composition of space in urban filmsin relationto major architectural styles fromLouis Sullivan to Louis Kahn. in orderto understandthe history of filmand the significance of film to history (as well as to nationalculture). 42 Ben M. Hall's The Best Remaining Seats and Dennis Sharp's The Picture Palace. ed.Movies are a continuous inscription and interpretation of American experience through time and in the world.unreliable. "Films and Regional Culture:Units forStudywithFilms and ThematicMaterial. by ElliottStein (Boston: New York Graphic Society/Little. 22 (Spring 1977). See Kenneth Hey. 1954). to integrate filmdesign withart history. and those images are. or at a filmlike On the Waterfront in relation to paintings from theAsh Can School or to theworkofBen Shahn and RobertRauschenberg?43 This is an area in whichAmericanStudies is well able to enrich Film Studies. Columbia. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. as an innovativecolleague suggested. Praeger.at least receiving overt treatment in Ben M. as the casual observermight uninformative nor is the documentary think. 43 On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan. 15 (March-April 1979). 14 (May-June 1978). "Revaluations.A.Film as American Culture
Cabinet and Other Grand Illusions.42 The challenge still remains: to relatethe visual worldof filmto canvas and architecture in the culture.
1971). The New Hollywood: American Movies in the '70s (New York: Thomas Y. Maland. as it is in Robert Sklar's Movie-Made America. or Arthur F. 1975). N. N. The Rise of the American Film. 1936-1941.294
as inherentlyhistorical or objective. 1976). Charles Higham's The Art of the American Film." ed. 31 (Spring 1979). It would be just as relevantto the mediumand its developmentto directthe readerto industrial and technological histories such as Tino Balio's anthology. 1921-1947 (New York: Teachers College Press.J.. American Visions: The Films of Chaplin. Ford. The American Film Industry(Madison: Univ. Antitrust in the Motion Picture Industry:Econo'mic and Legal Analysis (1960. James Monaco.48 Anotherassumptionunderlying all these recommendations is just as important to
45 See. Lawrence Alloway's Violent America: The Movies 1946-1964. Dissertationson Film (New York: Arno Press. presentthemselvesto the historianfor dual service: they are both historicaldocumentsand interpretive histories. It mightseem.How theyare to be used depends not only upon the historian'sfamiliarity withfilmlanguage. and Welles. Allen. forexample. Charles J. to bringthingsup to date. Michael Conant. The Power. The Journalof the University Film Association. Readings in the Social Historyof theAmerican Motion Picture (Rutherford.The Movies (New York: Oxford Univ. Capra. McClure. Press. 1979). ViolentAmerica: The Movies 19461964 (New York: Museum of Modern Artand New York GraphicSociety. Axel Madsen. and the special issues on economic and technologicalhistory recently offered by Cinema Journaland Journalof the University Film Association. Hollywood 1920-1970 (Cranbury. Lewis Jacobs' excellent The Rise of the AmericanFilm and. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
This content downloaded from 147. Axel Madsen's The New Hollywood or JamesMonaco's AmericanFilm Now. 1977).S.: A.47Or the emphasis could be shiftedto social history. Arthur F. Michael Conant's extraordinary Antitrust in the Motion Picture Industry. Lawrence Alloway. 1973) 46 Frank Cowie. 18 (Spring1979). 1975). The Artof the AmericanFilm (New York: Doubleday. but also upon certainmethodologicalchoices and underlying assumptionsabout the nature of filmand its history.S. A Critical History. Barnes. 48 Sklar.One is thatthe history of Americanfilm is primarily a historyof significant artistsand significant films. McClure's anthology. by Douglas Gomeryand RobertC." ed.91. forexample. an eminently reasonable recommendation thatthe readerbegin withone of the generalhistoricalsurveysof American filmsuch as Peter Cowie's Hollywood 1920-1970. ed.45 All films. 1977) and RichardDyer MacCann.Cinema Journal. by JeanneThomas Allen. AmericanFilm Now: The People. 1973).1.The Movies: An American Idiom. Movie-Made America. of Wisconsin Press. whether fiction or documentary. 1978).: Fairleigh Dickenson Univ. The Movies: An AmericanIdiom. withan Essay: ExperimentalCinema in America.J. Crowell. Press. 47 Tino Balio. Lewis Jacobs.42 on Wed. The People's Films: A Political Historyof U. The AmericanFilm Industry. Economic and Industry Historyof the AmericanFilm. 1971).46Despite the worth of the volumes themselves. The Mohey. "Economic and TechnologicalHistory. Government Motion Pictures (New York: Hastings House.thisrecommendation is based on some questionableassumptions. rpt New York: Arno Press. Charles Higham.
5' In the lattervolume.if any. The DocumentaryTradition. need be maderbetween newsreels.42 on Wed. in no need of world filmhistoryto provide a contextwithin whichuniquelyAmericaneventscan be seen as unique and American.ed.91. (New York: W. and Suid. 1977). "Flashback: Films and History.. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.1." Cultures.if it is any more historically usefulor instructive to understand American inWorldWarI orWorldWar involvement II through analyses of the history. And "Flashback: Films and History" (an entirespecial issue of Cultures) containsa collectionof provocativetheoreticalessays on history whose and world cinema. 1974). theHollywood AmericanHistory/American Film: Interpreting Image. The Historianand Film (New York: Cambridge Univ.in additionto reading several of thehistories mentioned above. documentaries. Memo on the Movies: War Propaganda 19141939 (Norman: CooperativeBooks. Dissertationson Film (New York: Arno Press.: Hayden Books. Press. Non-Fiction Film Theory and Criticism. 1979). On war in featurefilms. and as a means of interpreting and teachinghistory. historicalfactor. 1975). production. 2 (1974). Non-FictionFilm Theoryand Criticism(New York: Dutton. Guts and Glory.Film as American Culture
consider (and possibly reject): thatthe studyof Americanfilmhistory is an isolationistenterprise. Norton. The American Newsreel 1911-1967 (Norman: Univ. The Historian and Film is a general "manifesto" recognizing filmas raw material.J. see Thomas William Bohn. War Movies (New York: Castle Books. 50 On newsreels and documentaries.1976). Press. of Oklahoma Press.Documentary:A Historyof the Non-FictionFilm (New York: Oxford Univ. and receptionof newsreels and documentariesor through analyses of featurefilmsmade duringand about those wars. Lewis Jacobs. 51 AmericanHistory/American Film. Winifred Johnston. Propaganda on Film: A Nation at War (Rochelle Park.
This content downloaded from 147.49One can legitimately question. 1976).and featurenarrativefilmsas cinematicdocuments? Is one form of filmany less mediatedthananother?If. An Historical and Descriptive Analysis of the "Why We Fight" Series. 1976). 1939-1970 (New York: Arno Press.The DocumentaryTradition. W. The problemof interpretation whichthecinemaposes to thehistorian is also considerable. recentamong the previouslymentioned anthology. itquicklybecomes apparentthattheline dividing factual films and fictionfilms is sometimes barely visible.and Lewis Jacobs' chronologically-arranged collection. Russell Earl Shain. N. one historian
49Erik Barnouw. What sort of documentis filmand what does it document? What distinctions. Paul Smith. forinstance..50 Such issues are raised and answered in several works of crucialimportance forresearchand to the historian who would use film most them pedagogicalpurposes. 1974).ed.historical evidence. An Analysisof MotionPicturesAbout WarReleased bytheAmericanFilm Industry. Richard Meram Barsam. 1939). one specifically seeks out works like Erik Barnouw's Documentary:A Historyof the Non-Fiction Film. 1978). Althoughit focuses primarily on the documentary. Richard Meram Barsam's anthology.see Tom Perlmutter. and RichardMaynard. Raymond Fielding. 2nd ed.
. of documentary Given the equal historicalsignificance period or area scholars are able to approach a particular interdisciplinary and the withall of cinema (the films of Americanpoliticalor social history literature)at their disposal. right. 1933). see Robert L.F. M&traux. who was most responsiblefor its politicsand the course of America in those years.We're in theMoney.Cultures. Althoughset in the otherpowers disarmvoluntarily a wealth of materialabout the historian future. 246.52 and featurefilms. For more on the film. in the United Consider.Howrevivedby an unseen angel Gabriel to become a ever. and finally world peace by demandingthat foreignwar debts be recalled and that or face obliteration.he plays in office of theeconomic misery contemptuous he is fatallyinjuredin an automobileaccident of his own making.Along withall the traditional Roosevelt's first through film like Gabriel visual materialusuallyconsultedon theperiod. McConnell. 2 (1974). fromthe end of the Hoover administration and written term. and settingup a ruthlesspolice force public whichgunsdown uncooperativemobsters.a feature document." trans.a playboy-bachelor. In this film.the 1933filmoffers And Gabriel is as relevantto a studyof the 1930sas Pare its own period.each having and useful ofgenres. MGM. each one different array andpresentation ofselection to follow itsownprinciples ifnottheduty.William Randolph Hearst. 110-20." Cinema Journal. poetsandauthors requirements contradictory It is an is nota fabulous unicorn.the filmwas takenseriouslyby the public despite its bizarre through promises of political paplot.but in the hearta combinationof Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.is elected Presidentof the United States. thepoliticaland economic turmoil States in the early 1930s.15(Spring1976).7-26. document cal accounts.1941. he is miraculously benevolentand absolute dictator-tactically a Hitler. Oblivious or simply until aroundhim.forexample.
This content downloaded from 147. he solves America's problemsby declaringa national emergency. by M.He createsjobs through achieves worksprograms (thistwo years priorto the W.).1.adjourningCongress. we mustabandonthe naive and dangerous adaptedto thepreciseand which is simply document 'uniquegenre"of film ofhistoriofscientists."Notes on a GeneralTheoryof theFilm Document. 53 Gabriel Over the White House (GregoryLaCava. of historical material. "The Genesis and Ideology of Gabriel Over the WhiteHouse.91. and AndrewBergman. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. teachers. Before his borrowed time is up.For and telling Over the WhiteHouse can also be a legitimate one thing.influenced For another. tronage.P. production.296
aim is to develop a theoryof the filmdocumentaddresses a major issue when he states: thatthereis a assumption .42 on Wed. Thecinematographic the in itsownway.A.53
Film as American Culture
Lorentz's The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936).54 This briefelaborationof the possibilitieswhich filmsand filmscholarship offer the social and politicalhistorian is meantto be suggestive. a "scripted" explorationof HUAC from1943-1951. 1977). 1932).The scholarly literature.and the 1951 hearings." Gordon Kahn's Hollywood on Trial is a contemporaneousaccount of the hearings.and ThoughtControl in the U. Censorshipof the Movies: The Social and Political Controlof a Mass Medium (Madison: Univ.91. Also separate volumesofthe Paine Fund Series have been reprinted by Arno Press. Art and Prudence: A Study in Practical Philosophy(1937. or James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. photographs by Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange. 1974). offers a guide to the selectionof particular filmsor kinds of films thehistorian might look at. Red Dust (Victor Fleming. Richard S.42 on Wed. is a fascinating compilationof transcripts froma Hollywood conferenceheld in July of 1947-three months priorto the official startof the
54 Paul W. fortitles. Randall. a chronologicalpresentation of the 1947 hearings. both in directionand scope. rpt.New York: ArnoPress. of MichiganPress. 1967). lookingperhaps at Ira H.and JohnCogley's Reporton Blacklisting. Adler in Art and Prudence: A Study in Practical Philosophy.One could approach a thematicstudyof censorshipin the United States in a similarway. Jeffrey MortonPaine. Facey's The Legion of Decency (which began its period of influencein 1933). forexample. Censorshipand theLaw (Ann Arbor:Univ. Censorshipand theLaw and RichardS. The Legion of Decency: A Sociological Analysisof theEmergenceand Developmentof a Social Pressure Group.Movies. New York 10016. Dissertationson Film (New York: Arno Press. and at representative films ranging from a sophisticated silent work like von Stroheim'sFoolish Wives and the pre-Production Code Red Dust (with Jean Harlow and Clark Gable) to the present. MGM. 1968).A. New York. Randall's Censorshipof theMovies. as well as its detailedand negativecritiqueby Mortimer J.S. Carmen. 1921).with an appendix which considers the content of films made by the "Unfriendly Ten. 3 Park Avenue.There is a greatdeal of materialavailable. Fucey.Universal.thediffering emphases of Paul W. Screeningperiod filmscan be a heuristic enterprise thatstretches farbeyondthe illustrative service whichfilmshave usually provided the historian.1.Hollywood Films of the 1930s. MortimerAdler.labor strikes. and Jeffrey Morton Paine's The Simplificationof American Life.writeArno Press. Foolish Wives (Erich von Stroheim.
This content downloaded from 147. but particularly through interesting are Alvah Bessie's Inquisitionin Eden. 55 Ira H. There are. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.55 Or one could approach a specific subject like the House Un-American Activities Committee film. which in 1933 publishedthe resultsof behavioral research into the influenceof movies on American children. Carmen's Movies. And there are primary documentssuch as the Payne Fund Studies. The Simplification of American Life: Hollywood Films of the 1930's (New York: Arno Press. 1978). of Wisconsin Press.
for example. 1948) and High Noon (Fred Zinnemann.S.New York: Arno Press. Kahn.
This content downloaded from 147. JohnCogley. although its focus generallytends to emphasize on-screenimages of women. More narrowly
56 Alvah Bessie. black films.filmmakers. Mead.N. Black Films and Film-Makers:A Comprehensive Stereotypeto Superhero (New York: Dodd. 1975). New York: Arno Press.BrandonFrench's On the their on-screenimages.J. which ThoughtControlin the U. rpt. while Karen Kay and Gerald Peary's criticalanthology. oftenat presence in the production the expense of consideringtheiroff-screen historyof American cinema. 57 Cripps. Daniel J.Women and the Cinema. American women. Leab's From Sambo to Superspade: The Black Experience in Motion Pictures. (1947.298
hearings-to discuss the possibilityof an "unwarrantedintrusion"into creativeprocesses.: Scarecrow Press. Force of Evil (AbraittmPolonsky. 1976). Inquisitionin Eden (New York: Macmillan.see.57 The literaturein Women's Studies is comparably rich. Molly Haskell's From Reverence to Rape and Marjorie Rosen's Popcorn Venus trace the history of female stereotypesin American movies. Black Films and anthology.56 is already recconnectionbetweenfilmand social history The integral in groups withinAmericansociinterested ognized by those particularly politicallyand economically. Blacks in Black and White:A Source Book on Black Films (Metuchen. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. Lindsay Patterson's singularand fascinating Film-Makers.. Toms. rpt. Sampson. White. Film's immensepopularity. Gordon Kahn. provides a complementary and as well as women performers rangeof essays on women filmmakers focused.its abilityto perpetuateand altercultural stereotypes. Henry T. Mulattoes. Mulattoes.1. Report on Blacklisting(1956. rpt. From Sambo to 1976).ed. 1977). 1973). Mammies and Bucks .but also filmswhich workby artistsdirectly on the hearings and on thebehaviorof those can be read as a commentary who supportedor repudiatedHUAC. . Coons..Blacks in Black and performers.42 on Wed. Coons. . . Donald Bogle.New York: GarlandPress. Slow Fade to Black and Black Film as Genre. The readeris also directedto Donald Bogle's Toms. 1965).Thomas Cripps' key contributions and alternaof both mainstream pation of black Americansin the history tive American cinema (Slow Fade to Black and Black Film as Genre) have been previouslycited. . For films on the hearings. 1976). Sampson's highlyuseful source book on and artisans. and Native to researchon the particiAmericans. Hollywoodon Trial: The Storyof the Ten Who Were Indicted (1948. 1976).its graphic historical evidence of social attitudes-all of these factorshave been the object of examinationby scholars lookingat the experiences of black Americans.91.A. Relevant filmswould include not only the industry's involvedin the proceedings. and Henry T. 1952). from Anthology Lindsay Patterson. (New York: Viking. commentindirectly Warners. ety who suffer its subtlepowers of persuasion. Mammies and Bucks . Superspade: The Black Experience in Motion Pictures (Boston: Houghton Mifflin.United Artists.
Tuska. Brandon French." Quarterly Review of Film Studies.On the Verge of Revolt: Womenin the AmericanFilms of the Fifties(New York: Ungar. Marsden. Karen Kay and Gerald Peary.91. thefilecontains not only a wide-ranging but also a selectionof bibliography films thatspanbothtimeand stereotypes. book-length studies oftheNativeAmerican andfilm are an interesting Hollywood Gospeloffers multi-media to thedual approach oftheAmerican stereotypes Indian as noblesavageandvicious primitive. 1972).P. Kennedy Center. National Education Services.P. American Film Institute.RosemaryRibich Kowalski's annotated literature on women inthecinema as performers. Rinehart and Winston. Women and the Cinema: A CriticalAnthology(New York: E. Silet'sThePretend Gretchen Indians:Images of the Native Americansin the Movies bringstogether theiralready stillrare.. Film noir is also characterizedby its dark visual styleand tawdrysituations and characters. Womanand Film: A Bibliography (Metuchen.Although idiosyncratically arranged. GretchenM. 56-74. 1976). Popcorn Venus: Women. themostcritical material on Hollywood's limited of distinct of NativeAmericans. Silet. Press. Bataille. Unfortunately.The OnlyGood Indian . and theAmericanDream (New York: Avon. The Filmingof the West and French. critics. Silet and GretchenM.N. From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Womenin theMovies (New York: Holt.1. Movies. . The Hollywood Gospel (New York: Drama Book Specialists.. The Womenand Film: A Bibliography is also recommended forits citationsof
considerable research on thesubject. Batailleand CharlesL. AnnKaplan'sWomen inFilm Noirrigorously deconstructs theimage ofwoman as itappearsina group of filmsidentified withthe post-war 1940sand early 1950s. Marjorie Rosen. E. RosemaryRibich Kowalski. and as well as on imagesof womenin film. M.58 scholars.See also Charles L. Dutton. Womenin Film Noir (London: BritishFilm Institute. Information on other areas of interest can also be requested. 1973).Film as American Culture
an exploration Verge ofRevoltpresents ofthechanging screen images of dissatisfied women during the1950s.1978). 59 Ralph and Natasha Friar..P.Interested readers theSyllabus Bankof should contact FilmInstitute's theAmerican National andrequest Educational Services in Popular the impressive "Course File: Images of Native Americans Film" prepared by JackNachbarand MichaelT. andE. filmmakers.C. Ralph Friarand Natasha Friar's The OnlyGood Indian . someofwhich has appeared infilm ofJonTuska's TheFilming periodicals.59 vision However. 20566. 1974). Large portions of theWestand Philip French'sWesterns (bothpreviously cited)are also extremely useful.42 on Wed.D.P. 2 (February 1977).: Scarecrow Press. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. 1977). 1980).J. its homogenization and bastardization itsmanipulation ofstereotypical cultures. Westerns.60 and feature documentary
58 Molly Haskell. 1978). The Pretend Indians: Images of the Native Americans in the Movies (Ames: Iowa State Univ. Ann Kaplan.
This content downloaded from 147.is tobe found inperiodicals which arenotthefocus thepresent essay. images(however sympathetic) to suitAnglo of needs. "The Indian in the Film: A CriticalSurvey. 60 Writeto Syllabus Bank. Bataille and Charles L. Washington.
R. Bowker Company (New York: R. Weber.The New Film Index: A Bibliography of Magazine Articlesin English.RetrospectiveIndex to Film Periodicals 1930-1971 (New York: R.. Gerlachand Lana Gerlach. 1973). JohnC. MotionPicturesFromtheLibrary of Congress Paper PrintCollection 1894-1912 (Berkeley: Univ. 1975).1.The cinemadoesn't just illustrate buthas been and is American and institution It art. inorder to raise the film textbeyondits usual statusas a visual aid. to say thatwithout does not seem too strong the inclusionof film. These are thechallenges which facetheAmerican Studiesscholar and which must be met.: Fairleign Dickinson Press.Kemp R. K. Film Study: A Resource Guide (Rutherford. (New York: R. Bowker. 1967). 1977).history. politics. rev. And one a pleasure shouldsee a great many films.P. Olga S. Perry.R. American Studiesis notstudying America. Niverand Bebe Bergsten. I hopeitis obviousthat thewaysin which FilmStudies withAmerican can profitably interact Studiesare so plentiful as to provokebothexcitement and caution inthescholar whowoulddojusticeto thedemands ofboth.R. culture. Educational Film Locator of the Consortiumof University Film Centers and R.42 on Wed. Hall. Hall.1975). One must learn a newlanguage. and Christopher Wheaton.One must digest therelevant literature oftwofields. N. "Dutton. ed. 1978).300
At thispoint. as wellas a charge.61
61 A selection of helpfulreferenceworks are Linda Batty. eds.J. NorthAmerican Film and Video Directory:A Guide to Media Collections and Services. Linda Harris Mehr.R. 1930-1970 (New York: E. 1975). Frank Manchel. Bowker. RichardDyer MacCann and Edward S. Motion Pictures.Primary Cinema Resources (Boston: G.The CriticalIndex (New York: Teachers College Press.
This content downloaded from 147. from 1895to thepresent. Television and Radio: A Union Catalogue of Manuscript and Special Collections in the WesternUnited States (Boston: G. 28 Aug 2013 10:40:46 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. 1976).91.K. of CaliforniaPress. 1974). a newwayofseeing andreading. Bowker.