Dirty Words and Filthy Pictures

Dirty Words and Filthy Pictures: Film and the First Amendment

Dirty Words and Filthy Pictures: Film and the First Amendment by Jeremy Geltzer

PN 1995.62 .G45 2015

“From the earliest days of cinema, scandalous films such as The Kiss (1896) attracted audiences eager to see provocative images on screen. With controversial content, motion pictures challenged social norms and prevailing laws at the intersection of art and entertainment. Today, the First Amendment protects a wide range of free speech, but this wasn’t always the case. For the first fifty years, movies could be censored and banned by city and state officials charged with protecting the moral fabric of their communities. Once film was embraced under the First Amendment by the Supreme Court’s Miracle decision in 1952, new problems pushed notions of acceptable content even further.

Dirty Words & Filty Pictures explores movies that changed the law and resulted in greater creative freedom for all. Relying on primary sources that include court decisions, contemporary periodicals, state censorship ordinances, and studio production codes, Jeremy Geltzer offers a comprehensive and fascinating history of cinema and free speech, from the earliest films of Thomas Edison to the impact of pornography and the Internet. With incisive case studies of risqué pictures, subversive foreign films, and banned B-movies, he reveals how the legal battles over film content changed long-held interpretations of the Constitution, expanded personal freedoms, and opened a new era of free speech. An important contribution to film studies and media law, Geltzer’s work presents the history of film and the First Amendment with an unprecedented level of detail.”
– publisher description


Life Moves Pretty Fast

Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned From Eighties Movies (And Why We Don’t Learn Them From Movies Anymore) by Hadley Freeman

PN 1993.5 .U6 F75 2016

“In Life Moves Pretty Fast, Hadley Freeman interviews the producers, directors, writers and stars of cult classics to discover how John Hughes found Molly Ringwald, how the friendship between Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi influenced comedy, and how Eddie Murphy made Americans believe that race can be transcended – and much, much more. Looking back on this cinematic world, she considers how the changes between movies then and movies today say so much about society’s expectations of women, young people, and art – and explains why Pretty in Pink should be put on school syllabuses immediately.

Funny, fascinating, and insightful, Life Moves Pretty Fast is a truly rigorous, heartfelt tour of some of the best-loved movies ever made.”
– publisher description

Charlie Chaplin: A Brief Life

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin: A Brief Life by Peter Ackroyd

PN 2287 .C5 A48 2014

“He was the very first icon of the silver screen and remains one of the most recognizable of Hollywood faces, even a hundred years after his first film. But who was the man behind the mustache? What drove the artist who not only directed the films but held the camera and acted in front of it?

Peter Ackgroyd turns the spotlight on Chaplin’s often controversial life as well as on his classic films, from his humble theatrical beginnings in music halls to his winning an honorary Academy Award. Everything is here: the glamour of his golden age, the murky scandals of the 1940s, and his eventual exile in Switzerland. This masterly brief biography offers fresh revelations about one of the most familiar faces of the last century and brings the Little Tramp vividly to life.”
– publisher description

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise by Chris Taylor

PN 1995.9 .S695 T39 2014

“In 1973, a young filmmaker named George Lucas scribbled some notes for a far-fetched space-fantasy epic. More than forty years and $37 billion later, Star Wars-related products outnumber human beings, a stormtrooper army spans the globe, and “Jediism” has become a religion in its own right. Lucas’s creation has grown into far more than a cinematic classic; it is, quite simply, one of the most lucrative, influential, and interactive franchises of all time. Yet until now the complete history of Star Wars – its influences and impact, the controversies it has spawned, its financial growth and long-term prospects – has never been told.

In How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, veteran journalist Chris Taylor traces the series from the difficult birth of the original film through its sequels, the franchise’s death and rebirth, the prequels, and the preparations for a new trilogy. Taylor provides portraits of the friends, writers, artists, producers, and marketers who labored behind the scenes to turn Lucas’s idea into a legend. He also jousts with modern-day Jedi, tinkers with droid builders, and gets inside Boba Fett’s helmet, all to find out how Star Wars has attracted and inspired so many fans for so long.

Since the first film’s release in 1977, Taylor shows, Star Wars has conquered our culture with a sense of lightness and exuberance, while remaining serious enough to influence politics around the world and spread a spirituality that appeals to religious groups and atheists alike. Controversial digital upgrades and critically savaged prequels have actually made the franchise stronger than ever. Now, with a new set of savvy bosses holding the reins and Episode VII on the horizon, it looks like Star Wars is just getting started.

An energetic, fast-moving account of this creative and commercial phenomenon, How Star Wars Conquered the Universe explains how a filmmaker’s fragile dream beat out a surprising number of rivals and gained a diehard, multigenerational fan base – and why it will be galvanizing our imaginations and minting money for generations to come.”
– publisher description

Pixar’s Boy Stories

Pixar's Boy Stories

Pixar’s Boy Stories: Masculinity in a Postmodern Age
by Shannon R. Wooden and Ken Gillam

PN 1995.9 .M34 W66 2014

“Since Toy Story, its first feature in 1995, Pixar Animation Studios has produced a string of commercial and critical successes including Monsters, Inc.; WALL-E; Finding Nemo; The Incredibles; Cars; and Up. In nearly all of these films, male characters are predominantly featured, usually as protagonists. Despite obvious surface differences, these figures often follow similar narratives toward domestic fulfillment and civic engagement. However, they are also hypermasculine types whose paths lead to postmodern social roles more revelatory of the current “crisis” that sociologists and others have noted in boy culture.

In Pixar’s Boy Stories: Masculinity in a Postmodern Age, Shannon R. Wooden and Ken Gillam examine how boys become men and how men measure up in films produced by the animation giant. Offering counterintuitive readings of boy culture, this book describes how the films quietly but forcefully reiterate traditional masculine norms in terms of what they praise and what they condemn. Whether toys or ants, monsters or cars, Pixar’s males succeed or fail according to the “boy code,” the relentlessly policed gender standards rampant in American boyhood.

Structured thematically around major issues in contemporary boy culture, the book discusses conformity, hypermasculinity, social hierarchies, disability, bullying, and an implicit critique of postmodern parenting. Unprecedented in its focus on Pixar and boys in its films, this book offers a valuable perspective to current conversations about gender and cinema. Providing a critical discourse about masculine roles in animated features, Pixar’s Boy Stories will be of interest to scholars of film, media, and gender studies and to parents.” – publisher description

Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait

Vivien Leigh

Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait by Kendra Bean

PN 2598 .L46 B43 2013

“Vivien Leigh’s mystique was a combination of staggering beauty, glamour, romance, and genuine talent displayed in her Oscar-winning performances in Gone With the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire. For more than thirty years, her name alone sold out theaters and cinemas the world over, and she inspired many of the greatest visionaries of her time: Laurence Olivier loved her; Winston Churchill praised her; Christian Dior dressed her.

Through both an in-depth narrative and a stunning array of photos, Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait presents the personal story of one of the most celebrated women of the twentieth century, an engrossing tale of success, struggles, and triumphs. It chronicles Leigh’s journey from her birth in India to prominence in British film, winning the most-coveted role in Hollywood history, her celebrated love affair with Laurence Olivier, through her untimely death at age fifty-three in 1967.

Author Kendra Bean is the first Vivien Leigh biographer to delve into the Laurence Olivier Archives, where an invaluable collection of personal letters and documents ranging from interview transcripts to film contracts to medical records shed new insight on Leigh’s story. Illustrated by hundreds of rare and never-before-published images, including those by Leigh’s “official” photographer, Angus McBean, Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait is the first illustrated biography to closely examine the fascinating, troubled, and often misunderstood life of Vivien Leigh: the woman, the actress, the legend.” – publisher description

Moments That Made the Movies

Moments That Made the Movies

Moments That Made the Movies by David Thomson

PN 1995 .T463 2013

“It’s rare that a critic writing about a series of moments on film has the opportunity to simultaneously show them to his readers. But in Moments That Made the Movies, with its dynamic combination of text and image, David Thomson has done just that. Whether focusing in on one scene, or even a few seconds of celluloid, his book finds and displays uniquely revealing moments in a wide-ranging roster of films. As the author writes, “there are surprises, offbeat choices, perhaps even capricious or provocative selections, as well as plenty of films that you might have guessed would be included – though not always with the moments you anticipated.” Thomson’s memorable choices range from the silent era to the last decade, from Katharine Hepburn and Orson Welles to Brad Pitt and the Coen brothers, and include:

  • Pandora’s Box
  • M
  • Bringing Up Baby
  • Gone With the Wind
  • The Shop Around the Corner
  • Casablanca
  • Tokyo Story
  • The Night of the Hunter
  • The Searchers
  • Psycho
  • The Exterminating Angel
  • Pierrot le Fou
  • Blow-Up
  • Bonnie and Clyde
  • The Godfather
  • Chinatown
  • The Shining
  • When Harry Met Sally . . .
  • A History of Violence
  • Zodiac. . . plus dozens more.

The excitement of Moments’ dynamic visuals will be matched only by the discussions it incites, as readers revisit their own list of memorable movie moments and then re-experience the films – both those included on Thomson’s list and those from their own – as never before.” – publisher description