Chapter

Who Lost the Picture Show?

Barry Langford

in Post-Classical Hollywood

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780748638574
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671076 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638574.003.0008
Who Lost the Picture Show?

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In 1968, America appeared almost to be coming apart. It was a year in which dramatic and tragic events followed hard upon one another in an almost apocalyptic spiral. With the Tet Offensive still raging, Lyndon Johnson lost the New Hampshire presidential primary to Senator Eugene McCarthy, and Martin Luther King and John Kennedy's younger brother Robert Kennedy were shot dead. Little of this turmoil could have been guessed at from the major Hollywood films of 1968. Just as the Beats' subterranean cultural resistance to the culture of consumerism, conformity and Cold War erupted on to Main Street with the 1960s New Left and the counterculture, so the dissident strains of both gritty realism and modernist experimentation in late 1950s and early 1960s Hollywood cinema went mainstream. The cinema of the Hollywood Renaissance undertakes a performative critique of classic Hollywood's role in promoting ‘the American ruse’. This chapter examines politics, genre revisionism and allusionism, and endings of Hollywood Renaissance films during the period.

Keywords: Hollywood Renaissance; films; American ruse; politics; revisionism; allusionism; consumerism; conformity; New Left; counterculture

Chapter.  10709 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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