While the anti-establishment rebels of 1969's Easy Rider were morphing into the nostalgic yuppies of 1983's The Big Chill, Seventies movies brought us everything from killer sharks, blaxploitation, and disco musicals to a loving look at General George S. Patton. Indeed, as Peter Lev persuasively argues in this book, the films of the 1970s constitute a kind of conversation about what American society is and should be—open, diverse, and egalitarian, or stubbornly resistant to change.
Examining forty films thematically, Lev explores the conflicting visions presented in films with the following kinds of subject matter:
Hippies (Easy Rider, Alice's Restaurant)
Cops (The French Connection, Dirty Harry)
Disasters and conspiracies (Jaws, Chinatown)
End of the Sixties (Nashville, The Big Chill)
Art, Sex, and Hollywood (Last Tango in Paris)
Teens (American Graffiti, Animal House)
War (Patton, Apocalypse Now)
African-Americans (Shaft, Superfly)
Feminisms (An Unmarried Woman, The China Syndrome)
Future visions (Star Wars, Blade Runner)
As accessible to ordinary moviegoers as to film scholars, Lev's book is an essential companion to these familiar, well-loved movies.
Prolific literature, both popular and scholarly, depicts America in the period of the High Cold War as being obsessed with normality, implicitly figuring the postwar period as a return to the way of life that had been put on hold, first by the Great Depression and then by Pearl Harbor.
Demographic Angst argues that mandated normativity—as a political agenda and a social ethic—precluded explicit expression of the anxiety produced by America’s radically reconfigured postwar population. Alan Nadel explores influential non-fiction books, magazine articles, and public documents in conjunction with films such as Singin’ in the Rain, On the Waterfront, Sunset Boulevard, and Sayonara, to examine how these films worked through fresh anxieties that emerged during the 1950s.
In the 1920s, as American films came to dominate Mexico's cinemas, many of its cultural and political elites feared that this "Yanqui invasion" would turn Mexico into a cultural vassal of the United States. In Making Cinelandia, Laura Isabel Serna contends that Hollywood films were not simply tools of cultural imperialism. Instead, they offered Mexicans on both sides of the border an imaginative and crucial means of participating in global modernity, even as these films and their producers and distributors frequently displayed anti-Mexican bias. Before the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, Mexican audiences used their encounters with American films to construct a national film culture. Drawing on extensive archival research, Serna explores the popular experience of cinemagoing from the perspective of exhibitors, cinema workers, journalists, censors, and fans, showing how Mexican audiences actively engaged with American films to identify more deeply with Mexico.