Rock N Film: Cinemas Dance With Popular Music

Hardcover | January 4, 2016

byDavid E. James

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For two decades after the mid-1950s, biracial popular music played a fundamental role in progressive social movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Balancing rock's capacity for utopian popular cultural empowerment with its usefulness for the capitalist media industries, Rock 'N' Filmexplores how the music's contradictory potentials were reproduced in various kinds of cinema, including major studio productions, minor studios' exploitation projects, independent documentaries, and the avant-garde.These include Rock Around the Clock and other 1950s jukebox musicals; the films Elvis made before being drafted, especially King Creole, as well as the formulaic comedies in which Hollywood abused his genius in the 1960s; early documentaries such as The T.A.M.I. Show that presented James Brown andthe Rolling Stones as the core of a black-white, US-UK cultural commonality; A Hard Day's Night that marked the British Invasion; Dont Look Back, Monterey Pop, Woodstock, and other Direct Cinema documentaries about the music of the counterculture; and avant-garde films about the Rolling Stones byJean-Luc Godard, Kenneth Anger, and Robert Frank. After the turn of the decade, notably Gimme Shelter, in which the Stones appeared to be complicit in the Hells Angels' murder of a young black man, 1960s' music - and films about it - reverted to separate black and white traditions based respectively on soul and country. These producedblaxploitation and Lady Sings the Blues on the one hand, and bigoted representations of Southern culture in Nashville on the other. Ending with the deaths of their stars, both films implied that rock 'n' roll had died or even, as David Bowie proclaimed, that it had committed suicide. But in hisdocumentary about Bowie, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, D.A. Pennebaker triumphantly re-affirmed the community of musicians and fans in glam rock.In analyzing this history, David E. James adapts the methodology of histories of the classic film musical to show how the rock 'n' roll film both displaced and recreated it.

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For two decades after the mid-1950s, biracial popular music played a fundamental role in progressive social movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Balancing rock's capacity for utopian popular cultural empowerment with its usefulness for the capitalist media industries, Rock 'N' Filmexplores how the music's contradictory potentials w...

David E. James is Professor of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Written Within and Without: A Study of Blake's Milton, Allegories of Cinema: American Film in the Sixties, Power Misses: Essays Across (Un)Popular Culture, The Most Typical Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in L...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:488 pages, 9.29 × 6.5 × 1.18 inPublished:January 4, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199387591

ISBN - 13:9780199387595

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Rock 'n' Film2. Absolute Beginnings: Blackboard Jungle3. Jukebox Musicals4. Dirty Stars: Jayne Mansfield and Kenneth Anger5. Rock 'n' Roll Noir: Elvis Before the Army6. Sunshine Elvis: The Devil in Disguise (inc Morphology of the Elvis Movie)7. Back in the UK: The English Elvises8. Beatles I: Richard Lester and A Hard Day's Night9. Beatles II: Next Morning10. Bringing It All Back Home: Toward the Folk Documentary11. D. A. Pennebaker: Documentary from Folk to Folk Rock and Rock12. Utopia and Its Discontents: Woodstock13. The Rolling Stones I: The Greatest Rock 'n' Film Band in the World14. Mick Jagger, Demon Brother15. The Rolling Stones II: The U.S. Tours, From Concert Film to Film Concert16. Back To Black . . . : Soul17. . . . And White: Country18. Retrospection and Reflexivity: Rock 'n' Film SuicideIndex

Editorial Reviews

"David E. James' Rock 'N' Film is a valuable, capacious resource, tracing the intersection of popular music and motion pictures from Bill Haley to David Bowie, through exploitation films, documentaries, and every genre in between, on both sides of the Atlantic. Like Hendrix at Monterey, itleaves us wishing there were even more." --Marc Dolan, author of Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock 'n' Roll