Hollywood and the Movies of the Fifties: The Collapse of the Studio System, the Thrill of Cinerama, and the Invasion of the Ultimate Body Snatcher--Television (Hardcover)

Hollywood and the Movies of the Fifties: The Collapse of the Studio System, the Thrill of Cinerama, and the Invasion of the Ultimate Body Snatcher--Television By Foster Hirsch Cover Image
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A fascinating look at Hollywood’s most turbulent decade and the demise of the studio system—set against the boom of the post–World War II years, the Cold War, and the atomic age—and the movies that reflected the seismic shifts

“The definitive book on 1950s Hollywood.” Booklist

“Lavish. . . insightful, rich, expansive, penetrating.”Kirkus

Hollywood in the 1950s was a period when the film industry both set conventions and broke norms and traditions—from Cinerama, CinemaScope, and VistaVision to the epic film and lavish musical. It was a decade that saw the rise of the anti-hero; the smoldering, the hidden, and the unspoken; teenagers gone wild in the streets; the sacred and the profane; the revolution of the Method; the socially conscious; the implosion of the studios; the end of the production code; and the invasion of the ultimate body snatcher: the “small screen” television.

Here is Eisenhower’s America—seemingly complacent, conformity-ridden revealed in Vincente Minnelli’s Father of the Bride, Walt Disney’s Cinderella, and Brigadoon, among others.

And here is its darkening, resonant landscape, beset by conflict, discontent, and anxiety (The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Asphalt Jungle, A Place in the Sun, Touch of Evil, It Came From Outer Space) . . . an America on the verge of cultural, political and sexual revolt, busting up and breaking out (East of Eden, From Here to Eternity, On the Waterfront, Sweet Smell of Success, The Wild One, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Jailhouse Rock).

An important, riveting look at our nation at its peak as a world power and at the political, cultural, sexual upheavals it endured, reflected and explored in the quintessential American art form.

About the Author

FOSTER HIRSCH is a professor of film at Brooklyn College and the author of sixteen books on film and theater, including Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King, The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir, and A Method to Their Madness: The History of the Actors Studio. He lives in New York City.

Praise For…

“Sweeping, winningly eccentric . . . a study that manages to be both personal and comprehensive. A lot more fun than Netflix and chill, especially as related by Hirsch’s photographic memory . . . a big, ambitious film history book, broad, sweeping and somehow still intimate survey.” —Chris Vognar, LA Times

“Entertaining . . . A celebration.” —Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal
". . . Teeming . . . fascinating detail . . . in which moviegoing is treated as an experience, of which the movie itself is only a part . . . . Hirsch praises many good and often overlooked films . . . and explores idiosyncratic genres, such as ancient-world epics and low-budget sci-fi. When Hirsch is passionate about a movie, such as Douglas Sirk’s “Imitation of Life,” his fervor is matched by eloquence and an eye for detail . . . He discusses the wider culture of the time, finding in fifties America “the seeds of the counterculture revolution that erupted in the late 1960s,” with movies as a vital part of that trend . . . a wide-ranging critical history that can uncontroversially celebrate the best of these movies as key works of modern art." —Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Hirsch reassesses many stereotypes about filmmaking in the 1950s, arguably the United States’ peak of social and political influence. Knowledgeable, astute, and sometimes provocative . . . remarkable.”—Frederick J. Augustyn, Jr., Library Journal
“A thorough account of a transformative era in Hollywood history . . . a panoramic scope . . . managing the difficult feat of being exhaustive without becoming exhausting. Cinephiles will want to dig into this.” Publishers Weekly
Product Details
ISBN: 9780307958921
ISBN-10: 0307958922
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: October 10th, 2023
Pages: 672
Language: English