King looks at the Hollywood "Renaissance" from the late 1960s to the late 1970s, industrial factors shaping the construction of the corporate blockbuster, the role of auteur directors, genre and stardom in New Hollywood, narrative and spectacle in the contemporary blockbuster, and the relationship between production for the big and small screens. Case studies considered include Taxi Driver, Godzilla, and Gladiator, tracing the roots of New Hollywood from the 1950s to the start of the twenty-first century.
Examining American filmmaking from both a social and an industrial standpoint, King (media, Brunel Univ., West London) seeks to define the "New Hollywood." He begins with an analysis of key films from Tinseltown's Renaissance in the late 1960s (e.g., Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Easy Rider) before exploring changes in the realms of film authorship, genre, stars, narrative vs. spectacle, and big screen vs. small screen (TV) in the 1980s and 1990s. His discussion of genre is one of the most reasonable to be found anywhere. Also illuminating is a comparison between Spartacus and Gladiator from such perspectives as director/camera detachment and average shot length (ASL). It will not surprise veteran moviegoers that Spartacus's ASL was 7.89 seconds while Gladiator's was 3.36. (King also realizes that Gladiator bears much resemblance to 1964's The Fall of the Roman Empire.) This work, which may be supplemented by Ray Greene's more downbeat Hollywood Migraine: The Inside Story of a Decade in Film, confirms that British film historians generally outperform their American cousins. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.-Kim Holston, American Inst. for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Malvern, PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.