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Bold! Daring! Shocking! True: A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959 Paperback – October 11, 1999


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Bold! Daring! Shocking! True: A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959 + Mental Hygiene: Better Living Through Classroom Films 1945-1970
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (October 11, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822323745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822323747
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,236,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Eric Schaefer's readable history of exploitation movies begins with a description of what the genre ain't--the rabid "nudie pics" of Russ Meyer (Faster, Pussycat, Kill! Kill!) and the drecky, knowing arthouse flicks made by Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey (Andy Warhol's Dracula). Though these camp movies are sometimes labeled "exploitation," they do not exactly fit Schaefer's definition. For him, exploitation is the brand of movie that puts nudity and antisocial behavior up on the screen in the name of civic-mindedness and healthy social conscience--and with a wink. Between 1919 and 1959, sexual hygiene and antidrug movies with kicky, lascivious titles such as No Greater Sin (1939), Call Girls (1959), Nudist Land (1937), and Paroled from the Big House (1938) traveled through the country outside regular theater chains, advertising themselves as "shocking" yet educational. The posters didn't slouch either. No Greater Sin promised viewers, "You'll gasp, you'll wince, you'll shudder... so powerful, many will faint!" Schaefer argues that studying the films tells us cartloads about the way Puritanical America grappled with complex issues like premarital sex, drugs, infidelity, and alternative lifestyles. And he may be right: by 1959, audiences had begun turning to European films like And God Created Woman, films that treated exploitation movie subjects legitimately. The story of a lost culture, Bold! Daring! Shocking! True! is finally an archaeology of the immediate past that throws our present incoherence about sex, public-mindedness, virtue, and immediate gratification into high and sometimes hilarious relief. With priceless historical black-and-white photographs. --Lyall Bush

From Library Journal

The "classic" exploitation film of the silent to postwar eras was made cheaply with glaringly poor production values by a small independent firm, was independently distributed and usually shown in theaters not affiliated with the majors, and generally featured a forbidden topic. The genre was created when the major studios began to realize the economic advantages of some sort of self-censorship; what Hollywood would no longer put on the screenAsex, drug use, venereal disease, prostitution, and nudityAthe exploitation filmmakers would. With minuscule budgets and no identifiable stars, the exploitation film maker only had the lure of the forbidden to get people into the theater. The first half of this book looks at the mechanics of the films; production, distribution, advertising, and exhibition differed greatly from Hollywood norms. The second half examines the major catagories of exploitation films. A good look at a neglected topic; for academic and larger public libraries.AMarianne Cawley, Charleston Cty. Lib., SC
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Schaefer's style is soo easy to read too.
ENTJohns
True!, the classic exploitation film was produced between 1919 and 1959.
mrliteral
Anybody with a serious interest in film should read this book.
Michael Favareille

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Michael Favareille on November 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have read many books & articles on exploitation films as well as viewing many of the films mentioned in Eric's book. THE BOOK IS WELL RESEARCHED. The chapters about censorship & distribution/marketing were the most interesting. Eric gives an excellent example of what cuts were required for a specific film for both the Chicago & the Ohio censorship boards (the Ohio board being much stricter), & mentions about how the same film was handled for the different markets. Detailed descriptions of many films are provided(& this is about the only book that mentions about exploitation films during the silent era). This is also the only book that I have seen that mentions about the ultra-low budgets(including dollar amounts)of these films. Anybody with a serious interest in film should read this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ENTJohns on October 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Yes, the book is exquisitely researched; it offers more. For those with an interest in the close past, Schaefer examines the time through its rejection/acceptance of these films. The book is worth purchasing for its pictures alone (if you don't like words). If you like films, well, naturally you will want it.
If you are one of those persons who just likes knowing "stuff"; if you enjoy _Longtitude_ or the _The Professor and the Madman_ then you will find this book entertaining.
The subject matter is both tillitating and important. The films encapsulate both the desires and the anxieties of the time; gratuitious scenes of sex tempered with doctor's warnings of veneral disease. What a wonderful juxtaposition of the double standards of the time.
Schaefer's style is soo easy to read too.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tosh Berman/TamTam Books on November 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
In Eric Schaefer's beautifully designed and illustrated book, Bold! Daring! Shocking! True! A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959, you get the full history of the exploitation film genre, a genre that concentrates on shocking the viewer and making money in the process. In language that is brutally simplistic, and images that don't require second-guessing, exploitation films deliver the darkest fantasy of American culture along with its moral. Schaefer discusses the writing, production, and distribution of these films and profiles some filmmakers. He presents details on such exploitation masterpieces as Road to Ruin, Modern Motherhood, One Way Ticket to Hell, and The Wages of Sin.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Hans J. Wollstein on December 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
The author of this book, Eric Schaefer, is an associate professor and, frankly, reads like one. With that said, Bold! Daring! is probably the most important book on the American screen published in recent times. The author eminently explains not only how exploitation movies, the step children of the Golden Era film industry, came to be but, more importantly, why. Using a liberal dose of both contemporary and modern sources, Schaefer eminently describes the rise and fall and rise again of a genre not as easily dismissed as previous works would have us believe. BOLD! DARING! SHOCKING! TRUE quite simply fills an important gap in our knowledge of society in general and the film industry (with stress on INDUSTRY) in particular. Anyone owning a copy of, say, REEFER MADNESS, will wish to view it again for more than the accustomed camp value.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Chris Luallen on February 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Eric Schaefer is a professor of visual and and media arts at Emerson College who developed an interest in exploitation films while writing his master's thesis. He defines the "exploitation film" as being the often lurid "educational" movies that were released by small time film makers between 1919-1959. Sex hygiene and anti-drug propaganda were the most typical themes, though vice, gangs and "exotic" cultures were also part of the genre. The films are often characterized by their attempts to titillate the audience while claiming to be preaching against social evils.

Much of the first half of the book is devoted to describing the production techinques, marketing and commercial appeal of these films. Film makers and hardcore cinema junkies will probably be intrigued. But this portion of the book held little interest for me. I did, however, enjoy the chapter on censorship. It discussed Hollywood history and how exploitation films developed as a sort of "alternative cinema" following the implementation of production codes by the the Hays Office in the 1920's - which censored much of the sex and other taboo topics out of the big studio movies of the era.

The second part of the book is a lengthy chronicling of dozens of these exploitation films. I enjoyed reading about the various story lines, actors and directors, though it did get a bit repetitive at times.

Schaefer is a decent writer and this book largely suceeds in its scholarly intentions. But one should remember, before purchasing, that this is an academic work directed towards a specific audience - devoted exploitation film fans, movie makers and film students. I, as someone with a more casual interest in these types of movies, was hoping for a more accessible book that covered a wider range of cult films. The appendix does serve as a good resource for the directors and films covered. It was this part of the book that I found most useful.
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