'I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore': how new Hollywood cinema criticised American society

Stears, Gareth (2007) 'I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore': how new Hollywood cinema criticised American society. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This dissertation is about New Hollywood: the group of films in the late '60s and early '70s that includes such masterpieces as Coppola's The Godfather (1971), Malick's Badlands (1973) and Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976). The focus will be on the unprecedented negativity of many New Hollywood films. A large number of films criticised American society and government or were pessimistic in general. I will show how they stand out against classical Hollywood; which is generally positive and patriotic. Firstly I examine the USA at this time, a country in turmoil. It was suffering from an economic recession, an unpopular war and a number of embarrassing political scandals. It was also a fragmenting country, with protest movements and the counterculture rebelling against societal values and unfair laws. The Hollywood film industry was also experiencing a great depression prior to this period, with big studios making losses and old formulas no longer attracting the kinds of audiences they used to. Then there were a series of successful films; Penn's Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Hopper's Easy Rider (1969) and others that came to be known as New Hollywood. They helped the industry stave off bankruptcy whilst being unlike anything Hollywood had produced before. In the final Chapter I will analyse Polanski's Chinatown (1974); which producer Robert Evans believes could not have been made at any other time in Hollywood history. I will explain how these difficult times in Hollywood and America were arguably the reason for this trend. The crises in America at the time made a lot of the public disillusioned. Hollywood was weakened and looking for ideas. The answer came from a number of radical directors whose often bleak films provided some of the hits the industry sorely needed.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:47
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:13
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/295

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