American Cinema of the 1950s: Themes and Variations

Front Cover
Murray Pomerance
Rutgers University Press, 2005 - Performing Arts - 287 pages

From cold war hysteria and rampant anticommunist witch hunts to the lure of suburbia, television, and the new consumerism, the 1950s was a decade of sensational commercial possibility coupled with dark nuclear fears and conformist politics. Amid this amalgamation of social, political, and cultural conditions, Hollywood was under siege: from the Justice Department, which pressed for big film companies to divest themselves of their theater holdings; from the middleclass, whose retreat to family entertainment inside the home drastically decreased the filmgoing audience; and from the House Un-American Activities Committee, which was attempting to purge the country of dissenting political views. In this difficult context, however, some of the most talented filmmakers of all time, including John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Vincente Minnelli, Nicholas Ray, and Billy Wilder produced some of their most remarkable work.

Bringing together original essays by ten respected scholars in the field, American Cinema of the 1950s explores the impact of the cultural environment of this decade on film, and the impact of film on the American cultural milieu. Contributors examine the signature films of the decade, including From Here to Eternity, Sunset Blvd., Singin' in the Rain, Shane, Rear Window, and Rebel Without a Cause, as well as lesser-known but equally compelling films, such as Dial 1119, Mystery Street, Suddenly, Summer Stock, The Last Hunt, and many others.

Provocative, engaging, and accessible to general readers as well as scholars, this volume provides a unique lens through which to view the links between film and the prevailing social and historical events of the decade.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Movies and Landscapes
23
Movies and the New Faces of Masculinity
43
Movies and the Paradox of Female Stardom
65
Movies and Our Secret Lives
89
Movies and the Walls of Privacy
115
Movies and Growing Up Absurd
134
Movies and the Crack of Doom
155
Movies and the Search for Proportion
177
Movies and Allegories of Ambivalence
201
Movies and the Racial Divide
222
Select Academy Awards 19501959
245
Contributors
265
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information