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The Death of Classical Cinema
Hitchcock, Lang, Minnelli
The Death of Classical Cinema
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Joe McElhaney - Author
SUNY series, Horizons of Cinema
Price: $95.50 
Hardcover - 269 pages
Release Date: October 2006
ISBN10: 0-7914-6887-9
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6887-6

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Price: $35.95 
Paperback - 269 pages
Release Date: October 2006
ISBN10: 0-7914-6888-7
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6888-3

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

A study of three classical filmmakers and the films they made at the cusp of the modernist movement in cinema.

The Death of Classical Cinema uncovers the extremely rich yet insufficiently explored dialogue between classical and modernist cinema, examining the work of three classical filmmakers—Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, and Vincente Minnelli—and the films they made during the decline of the traditional Hollywood studio system. Faced with the significant challenges posed by alternative art cinema and modernist filmmaking practices in the early 1960s, these directors responded with films that were self-conscious attempts at keeping pace with the developments in film modernism. These films—Lang’s The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, Hitchcock’s Marnie, and Minnelli’s Two Weeks in Another Town—were widely regarded as failures at the time and bolstered critics’ claims concerning the irrelevance of their directors in relation to contemporary filmmaking. However, author Joe McElhaney sheds new light on these films by situating them in relation to such acclaimed modernist works of the period as Godard’s Contempt, Fellini’s La dolce vita, Antonioni’s Red Desert, and Resnais’s Last Year at Marienbad. He finds that these modernist films, rather than being diametrically opposed in form to the work of Hitchcock, Lang, and Minnelli, are in fact profoundly linked to them.

“As McElhaney displays his knowledge of each director’s tendencies—both aesthetic and thematic—and their oeuvres, he makes on every page an argument for cinephilia in its best senses.” — Film International

“In terms of its ambitious scope, McElhaney’s book is perceptive, admirably detailed and broadly contextual in the very best sense of the word.” — Screen

“This is a brilliant work that restores my faith in film studies. McElhaney’s sweeping command of film history and theory, his nuanced formal analyses, and his stately and sustained argument result in a book that I already find indispensable in my own teaching.” — Scott Bukatman, author of Matters of Gravity: Special Effects and Supermen in the 20th Century

“A sharp, erudite, and sensitive mind, wholly committed to the cinema, is here at work. At a time when the idea of the film director as ‘auteur’ is making a comeback, McElhaney’s perspective will no doubt emerge as crucial for the necessary critical realignment between the performativity of Hollywood as a studio system and the achievements of its outstanding masters.” — Thomas Elsaesser, author of European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood

Joe McElhaney is Assistant Professor of Film Studies at Hunter College, The City University of New York.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Writing the History of Classical Cinema

1. Dr. Mabuse, The Cliché: The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse

2. Fascination and Rape: Marnie

3. Staging the Death of the Director: Two Weeks in Another Town

Conclusion: Or The Death of Cinema Is No Solution

Notes
Index



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