Film Quarterly: Forty Years―A Selection

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9780520216020: Film Quarterly: Forty Years―A Selection

During its forty years as a forum for scholars, filmmakers, critics, and film lovers, Film Quarterly has looked in depth at the most critical elements in the political, social, theoretical, and aesthetic history of the cinema. Once closely tied to Hollywood, the journal was investigated by the Tenney committee in 1946 and two of its board members came under fire from the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1951. After several metamorphoses, however, and with the dedicated participation of its editors, board members, and authors, the journal now stands as the oldest and most prominent journal in cinema studies, publishing film (and video and television) history, criticism, theory, analysis, interviews, and film and book reviews.

Spanning the 1950s to the 1990s, Film Quarterly: Forty Years—A Selection is a collaborative effort by the past and present editors and the editorial board to celebrate and illuminate the medium that has prompted so much thought and exchange during the journal's lifetime. From articles on documentary and genre to history and technology, narrative and the avant-garde, this carefully selected collection proposes groundbreaking theoretical models, fresh approaches to individual film classics, reassessments of filmmakers' bodies of work, and discussions of new films and technologies.

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Review:

Film Quarterly is one of the premier journals of cinema, offering commentary that has piqued both popular and academic interest. This selection, celebrating four decades of stunning writing, collects many of the periodical's highlights in a single volume. The bulk of the book contains pieces written during the 1980s and '90s. One might wish for more coverage from the early days, when the journal was called Films of the Quarter and featured pieces by Andrew Sarris, Pauline Kael, Dwight MacDonald, and Stanley Kauffmann, but Brian Henderson's introduction describes this period with sufficient enthusiasm and authority to make up for any lack of older articles. Noel Carroll and J.P. Telotte discuss Hollywood's recent tendency to combine the genres of science fiction and horror. Joseph McBride transcribes testimony by the controversial Stepin Fetchit--the black comedian whose stereotyped portrayals are considered by many to be an embarrassment today. In a piece called "The Critic As Consumer," Virginia Wright Wexman talks about the controversies that have exploded regarding Hitchcock's Vertigo. Elsewhere in the collection, you'll discover Leonard J. Leff on Citizen Kane; Linda Williams, David MacDougall, and Bill Nichols on the art of the documentary; a symposium on new technologies in film and video production; and round-table discussions of Thelma & Louise and Scott MacDonald's Confessions of a Feminist Porn Watcher. In short, there's something for film fans of every taste and disposition in this expansive and well-edited volume. --Raphael Shargel

About the Author:

Brian Henderson is Professor of Film at the State University of New York, Buffalo, and has been a member of the Film Quarterly editorial board since 1973. His books include A Critique of Film Theory (1980) and two volumes of screenplays by Preston Sturges. Ann Martin has been the editor of Film Quarterly since 1991. She has worked for The New Yorker and American Film magazine; she was also a member of the American Film Institute's Education Program, where she was the first Series Editor of the AFI Monographs.

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Published by University of California Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 0520216024 ISBN 13: 9780520216020
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Editor-Brian Henderson; Editor-Ann Martin
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