Most helpful critical review
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A Baseline for Something Far Better
on November 22, 2010
This book seems most relevant when viewed as a sociology text than as a film text. The authors provide many good examples of films where images of race, class and gender are portrayed in support of what the authors call the "dominant ideology". They are very critical of Hollywood, taking the film industry to task for the many ways it has irresponsibly and carelessly used its power in film as well as the way it treated actors and employees.
However, this isn't a particularly enjoyable book to read. The book is from the viewpoint of the authors and few references cited as external support. There's a seemingly endless supply of example films, but no discussion with actual directors, writers or actors. What is *their* opinion and experiences? You know, the people who worked for these bloodsucking, sexist, racist and abusive studios? Furthermore, while I don't have a problem with using Sigmund Freud's work in either a crediting or discrediting role (the book does both), I would much rather see analysis from contemporary researchers and professionals. Citing Freud when applicable to films or views in his time is appropriate; citing him for a modern or clinical definition of fetishization seems inappropriate considering Freud's reputation for being occasionally wrong, nuts, or both.
With a little less dryness, fresher approaches and more supporting examples, this could be an outstanding work. As it stands right now, it's more like a highly polished version of someone's thesis.