Synopses & Reviews
In 1895, Louis Lumière supposedly said that cinema is an invention without a future.” James Naremore uses this legendary remark as a starting point for a meditation on the so-called death of cinema in the digital age, and as a way of introducing a wide-ranging series of his essays on movies past and present. These essays include discussions of authorship, adaptation, and acting; commentaries on Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Vincente Minnelli, John Huston, and Stanley Kubrick; and reviews of more recent work by non-Hollywood directors Pedro Costa, Abbas Kiarostami, Raúl Ruiz, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Important themes recur: the relations between modernity, modernism, and postmodernism; the changing mediascape and death of older technologies; and the need for robust critical writing in an era when print journalism is waning and the humanities are devalued. The book concludes with essays on four major American film critics: James Agee, Manny Farber, Andrew Sarris, and Jonathan Rosenbaum.
"Taken as a whole, An Invention Without a Future serves as a fantastic overview of conversations concerning film history, while providing thoughtful analyses of important Classical Hollywood films and styles."
"Every essay here is a polished gift from a master of the literary essay."
"James Naremore is one of the most deservedly admired critics of our time, and this collection presents an array of perceptive, readable essays on critical, historical, and theoretical topics that have never been more clearly and articulately explored." David Sterritt, author of Spike Lee's America
"Reading over this collection of essays, I am struck by how important James Naremore's voice is to the field. The notion of the film scholar as critic is, as he says at one point, an idea that is under siege. Naremores robust, pellucid, and consistently perceptive critical intelligence is the antidote to this denigration of criticism." Richard Allen, co-author of Islamicate Cultures of Bombay Cinema
About the Author
James Naremore is Emeritus Chancellors' Professor of Communication and Culture, English, and Comparative Literature at Indiana University. His books include More Than Night, Acting in the Cinema, The Magic World of Orson Welles, The Films of Vincente Minnelli, and On Kubrick.
Table of Contents
Introduction: An Invention without a Future
PART I. ISSUES
Authorship, Auteurism, and Cultural Politics
The Reign of Adaptation
Notes on Acting in Cinema
Imitation, Eccentricity, and Impersonation in Movie Acting
The Death and Rebirth of Rhetoric
PART II. AUTHORS, ACTORS, ADAPTATIONS
Hawks, Chandler, Bogart, Bacall: The Big Sleep
Uptown Folk: Blackness and Entertainment in Cabin in the Sky
Hitchcock and Humor
Hitchcock at the Margins of Noir
Spies and Lovers: North by Northwest
Welles, Hollywood, and Heart of Darkness
Orson Welles and Movie Acting
Welles and Kubrick: Two Forms of Exile
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The Return of The Dead
PART III. IN DEFENSE OF CRITICISM
Four Years as a Critic: 20072010