An insightful survey of Hollywood's political cinema. Christensen gives the big picture of Hollywood's usually tentative and...

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REEL POLITICS: American Political Movies from Birth of a Nation to Platoon

An insightful survey of Hollywood's political cinema. Christensen gives the big picture of Hollywood's usually tentative and mealy-mouthed attempts to blend entertainment with political comment, showing that there is almost no depth in the Hollywood political film, especially when compared with European (though even Europe's political films, complains director Costa-Gavras, have to be masked as thrillers). The trouble most recently is that in pictures like The Candidate or The Seduction of Joe Tynan, where real problems of politicians are explored, the charisma of a Robert Redford or Alan Alda overwhelms the film's point. The Way We Were and The Front ""illustrate how political message can be subverted or obscured by Hollywood's imperative to find an audience and make money. Both films took on political subjects, then backed away, the former toward romance and the latter toward comedy. . . The Front said blacklisting was wrong not for political reasons but because it hurt innocent people."" At bottom, argues Christensen, American political films assert that politics is corrupt--but this is not much help and suggests no remedy. ""After all, if it takes Warren Beatty, Jane Fonds, or Robert Redford to beat the system, what chance do the rest of us have? And even if they can't beat it, how can we?"" An interesting and persuasive addition to film criticism.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1987

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Basil Blackwell

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1987