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Hollywood Under Siege: Martin Scorsese, the Religious Right, and the Culture Wars Hardcover – July 1, 2008
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"No other book has traced the development of a major motion picture from conception through production to reception with the kind of care and detail that Lindlof does here. Hollywood Under Siege provides valuable insight into the machinery of the film industry, and into the machinations of American culture on a broader front as well." - Thomas Schatz, author of The Genius of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era and Executive Director of the University of Texas Film Institute"―Thomas Schatz
"Riveting and accurate. Even though I thought I knew there events, I found myself captured anew."―Paul Schrader, screenwriter and director"―Paul Schrader, screenwriter and director
""As a study of a landmark moment in American cinema, Lindlof's book is both profound and extremely entertaining."―Los Angeles Times"―Los Angeles Times
"Lindlof has meticulously researched the history of the film from its initial optioning to its ultimate fate, up to the present time, successfully placing it into cultural context. Although extremely detailed, the book is readable and eminently instructive."―Library Journal
"Lindlof has meticulously researched the history of the film from its initial optioning to its ultimate fate, up to the present time, successfully placing it into cultural context. Although extremely detailed, the book is readable and eminently instructive."―Roy Leibman, LibraryJournal.com
"This is an important contribution to the Scorsese legacy as well as a vital examination of religious right cultural hysteria about a film that was condemned before anyone ever saw a frame."―National Board of Review
"This is a fascinating study of latter-day movie studio politics and the passionate reactions of Christians to the controversial project." Peter Filichia,www.nj.com"―Peter Filichia, www.nj.com
"His book gives one of the best available accounts of how Hollywood works."Mark Kamine,Times Literary Supplement"―Mark Kamine, Times Literary Supplement
"Hollywood Under Siege is valuable as a record of a specific yet seminal event in American film history, showing just how difficult the process of bringing a controversial text to the screen can be."Laurence Raw, Southwest Journal of Cultures"―Laurence Raw, Southwest Journal of Cultures
"Lindlof weaves a spellbinding narrative that investigates the back stories of the novel, script, and people who contributed in some way to the adaptation of the provocative film and its receptions. He sews fascinating portraits into a larger tapestry, producing a compelling story of group ideology and bellicose ideologies."T.Lindawall, Choice"―T. Lindwall, Choice
"[The book] seeks to flesh out what really went on inside Universal studios during what was a very real crisis. And, in no uncertain terms, it succeeds."―biblefilms.blogspot.com"―biblefilms.blogspot.com
"Hollywood Under Siege is valuable as a record of a specific yet seminal event in American film history, showing just how difficult the process of bringing a controversial text to the screen can be."―Laurence Raw, Southwest Journal of Cultures (southwestjournalofculturalscinema.blogspot.com)
"Lindlof's account is detailed and even exciting. Different aspects of the battle between the religious right and Hollywood are still in play, but this episode from twenty years ago marked an important beginning."―The Times of Acadiana
""Lindlof's account of the Last Temptation uproar is fascinating and insightful. It also provides an alternative to a story already told from the perspective of the religious right....""―Pamela Grace, www.californiachronicle.com
""[The book] is a revelation. Lindlof's meticulously researched page-turned, which draws from interviews with nearly eighty significant figures involved in the controversy, provides a wealth of detail about Universal's massive effort to bring film to the screen without bloodshed and the Christian right's highly organized attempts to suppress, or even burn, the picture.""―Pamela Grace, Cineaste
""Thomas R. Lindlof's Hollywood Under Siege: Martin Scorsese, The Religious Right, and the Culture Wars is a must-own book that tracks not only the tortured route Temptation took to the screen and it's production, but the insane backlash the film caused in the Christian community.""―David Faraci, chud.com
"Lindlof's book is a very readable, revealing account."―senses of cinema
"Thomas Lindlof has produced a compelling―and often hopeful―chapter in the long, depressing history of censorship."―Colin O'Shea, Bright Lights Film Journal
About the Author
Thomas R. Lindlof is professor in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky.
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Scorsese had wanted to do a Jesus picture for years, and when he read Kazantzakis's novel, he knew he wanted to make a film of it. The Hollywood brass sitting around the table at a planning session probably could not have understood his answer when they asked why he wanted to make this particular picture: "Because I want to get to know Christ better," came the utterly serious answer. It proved to be a difficult way to attain such knowledge. Lindlof details the problems in gaining rights to the novel, in coming up with draft scripts, and in dealing with the reactions of those who wanted Jesus shown straight from the Gospels only. Scorsese always said he was filming a novel, not the Bible, but even the idea of doing so stirred protest long before filming began. The movie was eventually taken up by Universal Studios, and Lindlof describes the filming in Morocco, including how Scorsese would provide the cast with articles from theology journals to have them consider their roles in depth. The biggest problem the protesters had was that they made the movie more popular. There were serious and dangerous physical assaults, with a gasoline bomb found on one theater's roof or an evangelical Christian ramming a bus through another theater's lobby. More often there were letters of death threats against members of the studio. In one town after another, though, the most visible manifestation of the protests were the pickets outside theaters, and the advanced teams sent from the studios were able to manipulate them so that they would make good photos for the newspapers. Lindlof doesn't mention it, but in Dayton, theater manager Larry Smith kept the protesters outside the Neon Movies warm and well fed with coffee and doughnuts, a small investment to keep up the free publicity.
The film did fairly well financially, and Scorsese went on to direct movies like _Goodfellas_ and _Casino_, which for all their violence, repeated his themes of individuals forced to make moral choices. Lindlof has given us a parable of a simpler time, when the phrase "culture war" was just beginning to be used. Scorsese took into the battle sincerity and intelligence, and made a thoughtful and meaningful film (and, one assumes, one that let him know Christ better). Lindlof's account is detailed and even exciting. Different aspects of the battle between the religious right and Hollywood are still in play, but this episode from twenty years ago marked an important beginning.