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Sklar has brought his classic and comprehensive study up-to-date with the addition of four new chapters that examine the revolutionary developments in film since 1975. Movie-Made America is an introduction to the world of film and a grand work of cultural criticism that examines film not only as an art form but also considers its influence on virtually every aspect of our society. In the new material, Sklar examines the 1970s as a period not only of cinematic innovation, but of a critical and analytical approach to national institutions rarely seen in American film making. The revival of B-movie culture in the 1980s became a defining aspect of popular culture, whose roots, Sklar argues, lay in a reaction against the present: the nation's military defeat and withdrawal from Vietnam, and a perception of contemporary society characterized by divisiveness, selfishness, and hedonism.
Examining the films of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and others, Sklar shows how they sought to resurrect Depression and World War II era myths and dreams by drawing on narratives and characters from the last era of ideological coherence and common belief. Sklar also examines the emergence of independent film making in the ’80s and ’90s, spawning the production of films by minority filmmakers and innovative and controversial directors such as Oliver Stone, Spike Lee, and David Lynch.
“The history of the American movie, combining social history, economics, and a precise and effective sense of film criticism.”—Frank Friedel, Harvard University
“One of the best popular works we have in the field of media ecology....There is hardly a single question regarding the transforming power of movies that [Sklar] leaves untouched.”—Neil Postman