Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling

University of Chicago Press
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In 1913, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and theorist Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) experienced powerful visions, often terrifying. However, seeing their great potential value, he found ways to encourage further visions and fantasies. Over many years, he recorded his experiences in a series of small journals, added commentaries and transcribed them, using calligraphy and illuminations, into a large, red, leather-bound volume, commonly known as The Red Book. Jung never published the Liber Novus, as he called this pivotal part of his oeuvre, and left no instructions for its final disposition, and it therefore remained unpublished until recently.

The large format, leather-bound volume of The Red Book Hours complements the facsimile edition and English-language translation of The Red Book, published in 2009, and draws out insights into Jung’s affinity with art as a means of personal insight. Psychologist and multimedia artist Jill Mellick documents copious research into Jung’s choices regarding media and technique and his careful design of environments in which he could experience creative processes and allow unconscious content to flow forth. Her unlikely journey includes explorations of memory, serendipity, and science. A stunning interplay of texts and images includes magnifications of the wildly colorful and intricately detailed sketches from The Red Book and a selection of Jung’s own pigments, never seen until now, The Red Book Hours presents a more comprehensive picture than ever before of the foundational psychoanalyst’s experience and expression of his rich inner world.
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About the author

David Bordwell is the Jacques Ledoux Professor Emeritus of Film Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. With Kristin Thompson, he is coauthor of Film Art: An Introduction and Film History: An Introduction and the blog Observations on Film Art, which can be found at http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Oct 2, 2017
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Pages
592
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ISBN
9780226487892
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / General
Performing Arts / Film / General
Performing Arts / Film / History & Criticism
Performing Arts / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris, and Roger Ebert were three of America’s most revered and widely read film critics, more famous than many of the movies they wrote about. But their remarkable contributions to the burgeoning American film criticism of the 1960s and beyond were deeply influenced by four earlier critics: Otis Ferguson, James Agee, Manny Farber, and Parker Tyler. Throughout the 1930s and ’40s, Ferguson, Agee, Farber, and Tyler scrutinized what was on the screen with an intensity not previously seen in popular reviewing. Although largely ignored by the arts media of the day, they honed the sort of serious discussion of films that would be made popular decades later by Kael, Sarris, Ebert and their contemporaries.

With The Rhapsodes, renowned film scholar and critic David Bordwell—an heir to both those legacies—restores to a wider audience the work of Ferguson, Agee, Farber, and Tyler, critics he calls the “Rhapsodes” for the passionate and deliberately offbeat nature of their vernacular prose. Each broke with prevailing currents in criticism in order to find new ways to talk about the popular films that contemporaries often saw at best as trivial, at worst as a betrayal of art. Ferguson saw in Hollywood an engaging, adroit mode of popular storytelling. Agee sought in cinema the lyrical epiphanies found in romantic poetry. Farber, trained as a painter, brought a pictorial intelligence to bear on film. A surrealist, Tyler treated classic Hollywood as a collective hallucination that invited both audience and critic to find moments of subversive pleasure. With his customary clarity and brio, Bordwell takes readers through the relevant cultural and critical landscape and considers the critics’ writing styles, their conceptions of films, and their quarrels. He concludes by examining the profound impact of Ferguson, Agee, Farber, and Tyler on later generations of film writers.

The Rhapsodes allows readers to rediscover these remarkable critics who broke with convention to capture what they found moving, artful, or disappointing in classic Hollywood cinema and explores their robust—and continuing—influence.
Hollywood moviemaking is one of the constants of American life, but how much has it changed since the glory days of the big studios? David Bordwell argues that the principles of visual storytelling created in the studio era are alive and well, even in today’s bloated blockbusters. American filmmakers have created a durable tradition—one that we should not be ashamed to call artistic, and one that survives in both mainstream entertainment and niche-marketed indie cinema. Bordwell traces the continuity of this tradition in a wide array of films made since 1960, from romantic comedies like Jerry Maguire and Love Actually to more imposing efforts like A Beautiful Mind. He also draws upon testimony from writers, directors, and editors who are acutely conscious of employing proven principles of plot and visual style. Within the limits of the "classical" approach, innovation can flourish. Bordwell examines how imaginative filmmakers have pushed the premises of the system in films such as JFK, Memento, and Magnolia. He discusses generational, technological, and economic factors leading to stability and change in Hollywood cinema and includes close analyses of selected shots and sequences. As it ranges across four decades, examining classics like American Graffiti and The Godfather as well as recent success like The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, this book provides a vivid and engaging interpretation of how Hollywood moviemakers have created a vigorous, resourceful tradition of cinematic storytelling that continues to engage audiences around the world.
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