Catholics in the Movies

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9780195306576: Catholics in the Movies

Catholicism was all over movie screens in 2004. Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was at the center of a media firestorm for months. A priest was a crucial character in the Academy Award-winning Million Dollar Baby. Everyone, it seemed, was talking about how religious stories should be represented, marketed, and received. Catholic characters, spaces, and rituals have been stock features in popular films since the silent era. An intensely visual religion with a well-defined ritual and authority system, Catholicism lends itself to the drama and pageantry of film. Moviegoers watch as Catholic visionaries interact with the supernatural, priests counsel their flocks, reformers fight for social justice, and bishops wield authoritarian power. Rather than being marginal to American popular culture, Catholic people, places, and rituals are all central to the world of the movie.

Catholics in the Movies begins with an introductory essay that orients readers to the ways that films appear in culture and describes the broad trends that can be seen in the movies' hundred-year history of representing Catholics. Each chapter is written by a noted scholar of American religion who concentrates on one movie engaging important historical, artistic, and religious issues. Each then places the film within American cultural and social history, discusses the film as an expression of Catholic concerns of the period, and relates the film to others of its genre. Tracing the story of American Catholic history through popular films, Catholics in the Movies should be a valuable resource for anyone interested in American Catholicism and religion and film.

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About the Author:


Colleen McDannell is Sterling M. McMurrin Professor of Religious Studies and Professor of History at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She is the author of Picturing Faith: Photography and the Great Depression, Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America and Heaven: A History.

Review:


"Colleen McDannell has brought together an all-star cast of scholars to examine what happened when American Catholics went to the movies, what happened to them and to the movies. Movie screens were an extension of the streets and shrines of the American church, where Catholics struggling with the hard realities of American life encountered their deepest fears and wildest dreams. This fabulous book makes it clear that going to the movies was as formative of American Catholicism as going to church." --Robert Orsi, author of The Madonna of 115th Street and Thank You, Saint Jude


"Although the title of this collection is Catholics in the Movies>, it is in fact about so much more than Catholics and movies, encompassing a range of subjects that bear on religious life in US history including race and gender, immigration and sexuality, fear and power. McDannell and the other writers bring Catholic history to light, but they also illuminate a much wider cultural field with compelling, insightful results." --Gary Laderman, Chair and Professor, Department of Religion, Emory University


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Book Description Book Condition: New. Oxford University Press, 2008. 384p. Paperback. Colleen McDannell has brought together an all-star cast of scholars to examine what happened when American Catholics went to the movies, what happened to them and to the movies. Movie screens were an extension of the streets and shrines of the American church, where Catholics struggling with the hard realities of American life encountered their deepest fears and wildest dreams. This fabulous book makes it clear that going to the movies was as formative of American Catholicism as going to church. Robert Orsi, author of The Madonna of 115th Street and Thank You, Saint Jude (Publisher's information). Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 38392

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