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Cinematic Identity (07 Edition)by Patton
Synopses & ReviewsPlease note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.
Though largely forgotten today, the 1949 film Pinky had a significant impact on the world of cinema. Directed by Elia Kazan, the film was a box office success despite dealing with the era’s most taboo subjects—miscegenation and racial passing—and garnered an Academy Award nomination for its African American star, Ethel Waters. It was also historically important: when a Texas movie theater owner showing the film was arrested for violating local censorship laws, his case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled the censorship ordinance unconstitutional.
In Cinematic Identity, Cindy Patton takes Pinky as a starting point to meditate on the critical reception of this and other “problem films” of the period and to explore the larger issues they raise about race, gender, and sexuality. It was films like Pinky, Patton contends, that helped lay the groundwork for a shift in popular understanding of social identity that was essential to white America’s ability to accept the legitimacy of the civil rights movement.
The production of these films, beginning with 1949’s Gentleman’s Agreement, coincided with the arrival of the Method school of acting in Hollywood, which demanded that performers inhabit their characters’ lives. Patton historicizes these twin developments, demonstrating how they paralleled, reflected, and helped popularize the emerging concept of the liberal citizen in postwar America, and in doing so illustrates how the reception of projected identities offer new perspectives on contemporary identity politics, from feminism to the gay rights movement.
Cindy Patton holds the Canadian Research Chair in Community Culture and Health at Simon Fraser University, where she is professor of women’s studies and sociology. Her books include Inventing AIDS, Fatal Advice: How Safe-Sex Education Went Wrong, and Globalizing AIDS (Minnesota, 2002).
Book News Annotation:
Elia Kazan, director of the subject film Pinky, knew he was setting fires when he released his film on miscegenation and racial "passing" in 1949. It was a commercial success, despite or perhaps because of its notoriety, and it led to an important decision by the US Supreme Court on censorship. Patton (women's studies and sociology, Simon Frasier U.) explains the influence of Pinky and other "problem" films on America's collective perception of race, sexuality and gender, and the ways in which the Method school of acting contributed to both content and intent of Hollywood productions. By combining analysis of films such as Gentleman's Agreement, Home of the Brave and Intruder in the Dust and modern features, Patton shoes how projected identities opens up dialog on contemporary identity politics, from race to feminism to gay rights. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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