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American Audiences on Movies and Moviegoing Hardcover – January 25, 2001

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Critic Pauline Kael has said, "I had trouble dating because I often disagreed about the quality of a movie." Movies have that kind of intimacy for some people. In this book, ordinary people talk back to the screen, describing early movie-going memories (dating back to 1948), family nights at the drive-in, growing up with movies in the early days of television, and loving and hating movies in the 1960s. (Hitchcock's Psycho shocked and titillated audiences with its psychological complexity in 1960, which opened the way for other controversial films.) Other topics include the always popular subject of sex in the cinema, the influence of VCRs, coping with movie pests in the multiplexes, and our changing response to films as we age. Lively, divergent reactions to classics and box-office hits are also included. Responses were gathered by questionnaire. Some contributors expand our knowledge of movies, while others, like the guy who was turned on by watching dancing girls writhe before the Golden Calf in The Ten Commandments, seem more than a bit silly. Kael writes that "mediocre pop art is a lot more fun than failed high art, and it's more fun to write about." This book isn't a major contribution to film literature on the level of Kael's criticism, but it deserves its place in in-depth film collections.DStephen F. Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"A refreshing antidote to dry statistical summary, Stempel's entertaining tome offers a different perspective on a half-century of American cinema."―American Cinematographer

"A highly charming and provocative study of audiences."―American Studies

"Deflates 'artistic' opinions about directors by using box-office grosses and audience response as a measuring rod."―Choice

"A sprawling look at the last fifty years of American movies and how audiences responded to them."―Cineaste

"Does something that most academically oriented cinema-related books don't: he gets in touch with the magic of the movies."―Creative Screenwriting

"Obligatory reading for serious film goers and film makers alike. Written with charm and style, this book gives the audience perspective on movies as no other book has done. Insightful."―David Brown

"A fascinating glimpse into history."―Express Books

"In drawing our attention back to the audience, he has rendered a service by reminding us that a reciprocal relationship exists between the filmmaker and audience. All too often we tend to ignore the latter."―Film & History

"The results reflect the ideas of anyone who has ever sat down with an overpriced combo of popcorn and soda: some movies are great, others are stinkers, and when it comes right down to it, the opinions of professional critics don't amount to a hill of beans."―ForeWord

"A great idea for a book."―Lexington Herald-Leader

"In this book, ordinary people talk back to the screen, describing early movie-going memories, family nights at the drive in, growing up with movies in the early days of television, and loving and hating movies in the 1960s. Other topics include the always popular subject of sex in the cinema . . . and the our changing response to movies as we age. . . . . Lively, divergent reactions to classics and box-office hits are also included."―Library Journal

"Stempel draws upon his considerable expertise to examine the complex relationship between the audience and the movies. . . . Very highly recommended and unique reading for students of film history and American popular culture."―Midwest Book Review

"Gives voice to the audience."―Plus

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky (January 25, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813121833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813121833
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,136,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Maryanne Raphael on June 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book explores the meaning and effect of movies on American audiences since 1948. Author Tom Stempel, film historian and cinema professor, researched the book by personal observations of audiences, by studying Box Office results and with a questionnaire on what audiences think and feel.
His moviegoers describe their earliest and most memorable experiences. Just as Hollywood often holds up a mirror to our society, Tom Stempel allows the audience to hold up a mirror to Hollywood.
After Psycho, no one felt comfortable in the shower. After Jaws, many people were afraid to swim in the ocean. The Exorcist scared everyone. In their own words people tell how Hollywood films helped them form and transform their personal concepts of reality and examine the meaning of their lives:
"Easy Rider was a statement of our generation. Getting on motorcycles and just riding around the country with long hair flowing in the wind was what I and so many others wanted to do."Ira Katz
"My father took me and my sisters to see The Apple Dumpling Gang. I had never seen my father happier" Angela West
"It was like some kind of religious ritual initiation...as if she were bringing me into a new secret world where special knowledge and power would be passed on from her to me." Peggy Dillery, seeing Cleopatra with her Grandmother
"The Ten Commandments had a pretty big influence on the shaping of my religious view," T. Taylor
"It was in a movie theatre that I kissed my first girl, felt my first breast, and had my first mutual touching below the waist..." Brad Long
American Audiences on movies and MovieGoing shows how movies change audiences'lives and how New Lifestyles change the movies.
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Format: Hardcover
Tom Stempel is professor of Cinema at Los Angeles City College and draws upon his considerable expertise to examine the complex relationship between the audience and the movies. In addition to examining box office statistics, Stempel surveyed more than 150 moviegoers about the human side of "going to the movies", and the public side of movies as distinct and separate from critics or directors perceptions on the film industry. Stempel notes the viewers' varied responses and personal recollections to some of the great classics of film as he looks at each of the great eras of movie making from the glory days of studio dominance in the 1940s through the bleak years studio system collapse in competition with the advent of television, to the rise and diversity of the independent and contemporary film makers of today. American Audiences On Movies And Moviegoing is very highly recommended and unique reading for students of film history and American popular culture.
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