American Cinema of the 1970s: Themes and Variations (Screen by Peter Lev, David Cook, Frances Gateward, Paula J. Massood,

By Peter Lev, David Cook, Frances Gateward, Paula J. Massood, Lester D. Friedman, Michael DeAngelis, Mimi White, Mia Mask, Glenn Man, Frank Tomasulo, Charles Maland

A conceited look on the seventies-the so-called Me Decade-unveils a kaleidoscope of massive hair, blaring tune, and damaged politics-all effortless objectives for satire, cynicism, and finally even nostalgia. American Cinema of the Nineteen Seventies, even if, seems past the strobe lighting fixtures to bare how profoundly the seventies have prompted American lifestyles and the way the movies of that decade characterize a top second in cinema historical past. faraway from a placid period, the seventies was once a decade of social upheavals. occasions resembling the killing of scholars at Kent country and Jackson kingdom universities, the Watergate investigations, the legalization of abortion, and the tip of the yankee involvement in Vietnam are just a number of among the landmark occurrences that challenged the rules of yank tradition. The director-driven video clips of this period mirror this turmoil, experimenting with narrative buildings, providing a gallery of scruffy antiheroes, and revising conventional style conventions. Bringing jointly ten unique essays, American Cinema of the Nineteen Seventies examines the variety of movies that marked the last decade, together with Jaws, Rocky, Love tale, Shaft, soiled Harry, The Godfather, Deliverance, The Exorcist, Shampoo, Taxi driving force, big name Wars, Saturday evening Fever, Kramer vs. Kramer, and Apocalypse Now. Lester D. Friedman is the Senior Scholar-in-Residence within the Media and Society software at Hobart and William Smith faculties and the writer of diverse books on movie.

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In other words, the prevailing industry conditions of economic crisis and the increasingly uneven and unpredictable success of films fostered unusual conditions. Together, these factors pushed the studios to invest in unprecedented levels of experimentation, with highly variable degrees of success, even while they continued to produce films within the standard mode. While plenty of films reveal countercultural interests and aesthetic innovations, many others cater to the mainstream in terms of style and story.

As I have documented, the end of the creative experiment arrived more or less by the middle of the decade, with occasional glimpses of its former glory appearing from time to time. With hindsight, this period, particularly until 1975, is something of an anomaly in Hollywood history, a wrinkle in time fashioned by a confluence of events that turned the world upside down and put the madmen—at least for a short time—in charge of the asylum. Yet, as Peter Biskind exclaims, it was “the last time it was really exciting to make movies in Hollywood, the last time people could be consistently proud of the pictures they made, the last time the community as a whole encouraged good work, the last time there was an audience that could sustain it.

Harry responds to the insistent harping on homosexual themes in Fitzgerald’s work by jumping on the seminar room table, spouting off-color limericks, and ultimately kissing the offending professor on the lips (a gesture of ambiguous impertinence that may inadvertently confirm the implications of the professor’s line of questioning) before going off to find his girlfriend. Mark (Mark Frechette), a central character in Zabriskie Point, is similarly poised between cynical alienation and engaged activism.

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