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Hollywood and the American Historical Film by J. E. Smyth

Hollywood and the American Historical Film


Hollywood and the American Historical Film by J. E. Smyth

This definitive interdisciplinary collection by leading scholars probes the theoretical and historical contexts of films made about the American past, from silent film to the present. The book offers a fresh assessment of studio era historical filmmaking and its legacy across a range of genres.


'Smyth has assembled a stellar cast of authors in a comparatively rare attempt to bring together expertise in both film scholarship and American history.' - Melvyn Stokes, University College London, UK 'This groundbreaking collection of essays redraws the parameters of the historical film, expanding it to include a wide range of films set in the past, notably comedies, westerns and melodramas. Dry debates about historical accuracy and authenticity are rejected in favour of case studies that seek an understanding of the power and pleasures that this genre holds. Written in a lively and accessible style, and harbouring a wealth of authoritative scholarship, it is bound to become a fixture of university courses and a landmark in its field.' - Mark Glancy, Queen Mary University of London, UK 'Hollywood and the American Historical Film explores the specifics as well as the methods whereby Hollywood offers up history to its audiences. Filled with succinct essays whether David Culbert'
s refreshing and concise re

-assessment of Birth of a Nation; Robert Sklar's investigation of the ways in which Hollywood films represent Hollywood as a changing industry, culminating with George Cukor's A Star is Born (1954); or J.E. Smyth's own look at Fred Zinnemann's Julia (1977) based on composite and fictive characters: this collection brings a new complexity to its topic. These essays are consistently fascinating, and refreshing in their sophisticated approaches.
Charles Musser, Yale University, USA

About the Author

J.E. SMYTH is Assistant Professor of History and Comparative American Studies at the University of Warwick, UK. She is the author of Reconstructing American Historical Cinema from Cimarron to Citizen Kane and Edna Ferber's Hollywood: American Fictions of Gender, Race and History, which won the Association of American Publishers' Prose Award for Media and Cultural Studies.

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Book Info

Publication date

9th December 2011


J. E. Smyth

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Palgrave an imprint of Palgrave Macmillan


272 pages


Film theory & criticism



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