Flesh and Blood: The National Society of Film Critics on Sex, Violence, and Censorship

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9781562790769: Flesh and Blood: The National Society of Film Critics on Sex, Violence, and Censorship
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From Library Journal:

Since long before Robert Dole's condemnation of Hollywood, on-screen sex and violence as well as their companion issue, censorship, have been the focus of hot debate. Critics' views on these issues are often enlightening, and these two books present many thought-provoking perspectives on the artistic, historic, social, and cultural aspects of the subject?ultimately proving that there are no simple criteria on the cinematic front. Reviews and essays on individual films from such top-notch critics as Andrew Sarris and Judith Crist appear in Flesh and Blood. Representative of 25-plus years of film, scores of articles are grouped into various subtopics under the headings of "Flesh," "Blood," and "Censorship." A broad spectrum of opinions, linked by editor Keough's articles, examine some tough issues (AIDS, senseless brutality, exploitation of women, blasphemy, graphic sex, etc.) with approaches that range from scholarly to humanistic to satiric. Violent Screen, on the other hand, offers pithy reviews and articles solely from the engaging pen of Hunter (Dirty White Boys, LJ 10/15/94). He categorizes by genre, thus creatively organizing a virtual laundry list of sex and violence: film noir, outlaws, sexual obsession, horror, westerns, war, action-adventure, race, and domestic violence, to name a few. And many of the summary articles have provocative social/historical angles (e.g., "Changing Film Images of Vietnam"). Covering the gamut from Philadelphia to Rambo to Blue Velvet, both these works will delight cineaste and casual browser alike and either contains enough grist for several years of debate on the subject. Both are well recommended for circulating libraries with cinema collections.?Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, N.J.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

When it comes to films such as Reservoir Dogs and Blue Velvet, we've all heard the opinions of politicians eager for easy publicity. But what, asks this entertaining fifth collection from the National Society of Film Critics, do the medium's experts have to say? Editor and critic Keough includes everyone from Judith Crist to Roger Ebert commenting on films that touch upon controversy or censorship. Interpreting the art instead of counting the bodies, Morris Dickstein reads passion into the blood spatters of Raging Bull and Dave Kehr gracefully dissects George Romero's quest for the human soul. Many question the priorities of a rating board that finds films containing complex depictions of sexuality and violence, for example Henry and June and Bad Lieutenant, more censurable than blatantly exploitive ones such as Basic Instinct. Peter Travers and Andy Klein each explain the problematic politics of Motion Pictures Association of America and of the self-censoring production code, while Stuart Klawans identifies the economic motivations behind these cyclical campaigns for moral decency. Well intentioned but poorly executed, Keough's scattershot approach results in too much padding between direct hits. Articles on Orlando and The Piano are, strangely, grouped with reviews of woman-as-killer films in a section titled "Women on Top." Most effective are the longer pieces that reassess such milestones in the art/free speech debate as A Clockwork Orange, Midnight Cowboy and The Wild Bunch.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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