Dreams & Dead Ends: The American Gangster Film

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Oxford University Press, Jan 1, 2003 - Performing Arts - 376 pages
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Dreams and Dead Ends provides a compelling history of the twentieth-century American gangster film. Beginning with Little Caesar (1930) and ending with Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead (1995), Jack Shadoian adroitly analyzes twenty notable examples of the crime film genre. Moving chronologically through nearly seven decades, this volume offers illuminating readings of a select group of the classic films - including The Public Enemy, D.O.A., Bonnie and Clyde, and The Godfather - thatbest define and represent each period in the development of the American crime film. Richly illustrated with more than seventy film stills, Dreams and Dead Ends details the evolution of the genre through insightful and precise considerations of cinematography, characterization, and narrative style. This updated edition includes new readings of three additional movies - Once Upon a Time in America, Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead, and Criss Cross - and brings this clear and lively discussion of the history of the gangster film to the end of the twentieth century.
  

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Contents

The Golden Age The Classic Gangster Film
29
Little Caesar 1930
36
The Public Enemy 1931
50
Dark Transformations The Descent into Noir
62
High Sierra 1941
68
The Killers 1948
80
The Genres Enllghtenment The Stress and Strain for Affirmation
104
Kiss of Death 1947
108
Kiss Me Deadly 1955
220
Contemporary Colorations The Modernist Perspective
236
Bonnie and Clyde 1967
244
Point Blank 1967
254
The Godfather 1972 The Godfather II 1975 and After
268
Toward the 21st Century Frenzies and Despairs
276
Once upon a Time in America 1984
285
Things to Do in Denver When Youre Dead 1995
293

Force of Evil 1948
119
Gun Crazy 1949
131
Going Gray and Going Crazy Disequilibrium and Change at Midcentary
145
DOA 1949
150
White Heat 1949
163
Focus on Feeling Seeing through the Fifties
176
Pickup on South Street 1953
186
99 River Street 1953 The Phoenix City Story 1955 The Brothers Rico 1957
196
Criss Cross One to Watch Over and Over
307
GangsterCrimeNoirPostNoir The Top 14
323
50 PostGodfather CrimeNoir Films Worth a Look
328
Aging Well 50 Vintage GangsterCrimeNoir Films
329
Notes
337
Selected Bibliography
355
Index
361
Copyright

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Page 4 - Meanings emerge whether deliberately or not about the nature of the society and the kind of individual it creates. By definition, the genre must shed light on either the society or the outcasts who oppose it, and by definition the gangster is outside, or anti, the legitimate social order. The gangster/crime film is therefore a way of gaining a perspective on society by creating worlds and figures that are outside it. Its basic situation holds that distinction, and the meanings it continues to produce...
Page 3 - The gangster film is a genre like pornography and the horror film, held in contempt socially and intellectually not because it may corrupt and not because it is artistically inferior to other kinds of film but because it realizes our dreams, exposes our deepest psychic urges The...

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About the author (2003)


Jack Shadoian is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts.

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