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Teenagers and Teenpics: The Juvenilization of American Movies in the 1950's Paperback – June 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Temple University Press; Rev Exp edition (June 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566399467
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566399463
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #878,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is a book especially aimed at film students and buffs, but it will appeal also to a wider audience. The facts are well-researched and heavily footnoted, but in spite of these scholarly trappings, Doherty manages to present a fascinating view of Hollywood's decision-making process and the evolution of "teenpics." It was the sheer numbers of the baby boomers that made adolescents an obvious target for the movie industry during the "economic desperation" of the television-tuned 1950s. Blackboard Jungle and Rebel Without a Cause were two of the most significant early teenpics. One introduced rock music and the other James Dean"It wasn't Dean's sex appeal that made him the movies' first authentic cult figure since Rudolph Valentino. It was his stance, his representative power as a teenager." Together the films spawned the "delinquent" movie. Whether art imitates life or vice versa, juvenile delinquency became an obsession in America and a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee investigation ended in harsh comments about teenpics, especially Blackboard Jungle , but the days when politics dictated movie content were over. Discussions on horror and "clean" teenpics and a filmography are included as well. Doherty is an assistant professor of humanities at Boston University. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Thomas Doherty is a wonderful film historian, as well as an astute cultural observer and a scholarly live wire. His account of Hollywood youth movies is as sensitive to the craziness of the marketplace as that of the movies themselves-smart, detailed, and near-definitive." --J. Hoberman, film critic, The Village Voice "Thomas Doherty's Teenagers and Teenpics, a fascinating study of Hollywood's response to the newly discovered youth market in the 1950s, felicitously brings together solid research, sensitive critical analysis, and an engaging writing style. Too long out of print, Doherty's book, which now brings the saga of 'teenpics' up to date, remains an indispensable guide to a significant aspect of American culture." --Michael Anderegg, author Orson Welles, Shakespeare, and Popular Culture "For an example of real scholarship in the field of cultural studies, one cannot do better than Thomas Doherty's Teenagers and Teenpics--an astute introduction to the 'juvenilization,' not just of Hollywood, but of America's post-war pop culture more generally." --James Miller, Director of Liberal Studies, New School University, and author of Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947-1977

More About the Author





A professor of American studies at Brandeis University, Thomas Doherty is a cultural historian with a special interest in Hollywood cinema. His undergraduate degree is from Gonzaga University, a small liberal arts college in Spokane, Washington, similar to Brandeis but with different religious holidays. After a two-year stint in the Peace Corps in South Korea, he entered graduate school at the University of Iowa, where he earned a Ph.D. in American studies in 1984. He came to Brandeis in 1990, after teaching in the division of humanities at Boston University. His most recent book is Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939 (2013), from Columbia University Press. He serves on the editorial board of Cineaste and edits the film review section for the Journal of American History. He and his wife, Sandra, a freelance editor and fierce Pittsburgh Steelers fan, live in Salem, Massachusetts.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Bowdoin Van Riper on October 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Classic 1950s films about teens like Blackboard Jungle and Rebel Without a Cause were the tip of a very large cinematic iceberg. Major studios and (especially) small-time independent production companies cranked out dozens of teen-oriented films a year: rock-and-roll films, juvenile-delinquent films, surfing films, high-school melodramas, hot-rod films, and science-fiction/horror films. Most of them were shot with low budgets, no-name casts, and tight schedules . . . and most of them fell somewhere between competently formulaic and jaw-droppingly awful. Teens were the most reliable movie-going audience in 1950s America, however, and even formulaic teenpics drew substantial audiences and turned respectable profits.

Thomas Doherty's Teenagers and Teenpics is, by far, the best book available on 1950s teenpics. It traces the changes in Hollywood, and the changes in the wider culture, that made them a viable genre, and breaks down each of the major teen subgenres that flourished in the 1950s. Doherty is more interested in analyzing the films than in cataloging them, to the book and reader's benefit. The book doesn't list every significant teen film of the era (or try) but it covers enough ground to clearly set the teenpics in the context of 1950s Hollywood and 1950s culture in general. The last chapter - the only one that breaks from this pattern - is, tellingly, also the weakest. Trying to survey the development of teenpics from the end of the fifties into the then-present day (late 1990s), it sacrifices insightful analysis for mere base-covering, and feels unsatisfying by comparison.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By steamduck43 on January 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a survey of teenage-oriented movies of the 50's. It is rather boring in spots, and has few pictures. There are better sources of information on the subject. Note: I am reviewing the book, not the dealer, whose service could not have been better.
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