THE NEW HOLLYWOOD: American Movies in the '70's by Axel Madsen

THE NEW HOLLYWOOD: American Movies in the '70's

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This up-to-the-second account of the state of the art in the ""new Hollywood"" was obviously written in a hurry so as not to be out of date by the time it reached the bookstores. That's fair enough, though Axel Madsen's sloppy assembly and breezy prose-style are more than a little off-putting and the whole thing reads like one of those perennial and revelatory cover stories with titles like, ""What's New in Hollywood?"" or ""Hollywood -- The Year of the Director!"". Everything from film financing and packaging to the current status of the producer, star, cinematographer, scriptwriter and director is duly touched on and treated with a superficiality that manages -- miraculously -- to stop just short of the utterly vacuous. There is actually some real information scattered about. Things only really begin to get dodgy when Madsen wanders from the straight-and-narrow path of facts, figures, companies, personnel, and ""inside dope"" and begins to make noises like a sociologist or a critic. When that happens he is likely to say things like, ""Making movies in the 1970's means splashing zap, excitement and appeal on the screens and reflecting the hunger and needs of the junior half of the population."" In a more pensive mood, he defines ""modern film"" (an unexplained category) as ""honest,"" ""relevant,"" ""meaningful beyond mere consumerism"" and not trying to ""con and pander."" Since he passes up the opportunity to list any specific rifles which might lend credence to what seems a provocative assertion of the greater maturity (even moral superiority) of new films in relation to their musty old, irrelevant, pandering counterparts one can be forgiven for suspecting the worst: namely, that Mr. Madsen (who, as the ""authorized biographer"" of William Wyler surely must know better) is himself pandering. That's show biz.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1975
Publisher: T.Y. Crowell