The Films of the Eighties: A Social History
SIU Press, 1995 - 335 pages
In this remarkable sequel to his Films of the Seventies: A Social History, William J. Palmer examines more than three hundred films as texts that represent, revise, parody, comment upon, and generate discussion about major events, issues, and social trends of the eighties.
Palmer defines the dialectic between film art and social history, taking as his theoretical model the "holograph of history" that originated from the New Historicist theories of Hayden White and Dominick LaCapra. Combining the interests and methodologies of social history and film criticism, Palmer contends that film is a socially conscious interpreter and commentator upon the issues of contemporary social history. In the eighties, such issues included the war in Vietnam, the preservation of the American farm, terrorism, nuclear holocaust, changes in Soviet-American relations, neoconservative feminism, and yuppies.
Among the films Palmer examines are Platoon, The Killing Fields, The River, Out of Africa, Little Drummer Girl, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Silkwood, The Day After, Red Dawn, Moscow on the Hudson, Troop Beverly Hills, and Fatal Attraction. Utilizing the principles of New Historicism, Palmer demonstrates that film can analyze and critique history as well as present it.
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Hollywood went for the Fifties where kids only wanted the right to drink and drive , not burn their draft cards . " 1 Eighties America , Reagan's America , appeared , superficially , to be a safe place , especially in terms of economic ...
... Hollywood ( a generic term for the film industry ) is usually quite reactive and timely in its handling of social history . ... those charges against Hollywood's exploitation of history have been rendered even more moot .
He was a master at using what Hollywood has always known : that the American people arc most comfortable in believing and understanding events that they can see . Film images verify and reveal history , and eighties society was acutely ...
Jack Mathews , cynically put it : " In Hollywood , truth is measured in box - office receipts " ( USA Today , 19 October 1984 ) . Despite this bottom - line mentality , the aesthetic community within the film industry continued to find ...
History has provided situations , themes , characters , and interpretive possibilities that Hollywood has been more than eager to exploit . Conversely Hollywood has courted social credibility and even political power by supporting ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
The Nuclear War Film Texts
From the Evil Empire to Glasnost
The Feminist Farm Crisis and Other Neoconservative
The Yuppie Texts
Film in the Holograph of New History