The Ambivalent Legacy Of Elia Kazan: The Politics Of The Post-huac Films by Ron BrileyThe Ambivalent Legacy Of Elia Kazan: The Politics Of The Post-huac Films by Ron Briley

The Ambivalent Legacy Of Elia Kazan: The Politics Of The Post-huac Films

byRon Briley

Hardcover | October 28, 2016

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Elia Kazan first made a name for himself on the Broadway stage, directing productions of such classics as The Skin of Our Teeth, Death of Salesman, and A Streetcar Named Desire. His venture to Hollywood was no less successful. He won an Oscar for only his second film, Gentleman's Agreement, and his screen version of Streetcar has been hailed as one of the great film adaptations of a staged work. But in 1952, Kazan's stature was compromised when he was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Kazan's decision to name names allowed him to continue his filmmaking career, but at what price to him and the Hollywood community?In The Ambivalent Legacy of Elia Kazan: The Politics of the Post HUAC Films, Ron Briley looks at the work of this unquestionable master of cinema whose testimony against former friends and associates influenced his body of work. By closely examining the films Kazan helmed between 1953 and 1976, Briley suggests that the director's work during this period reflected his ongoing leftist and progressive political orientation. The films scrutinized in this book include Viva Zapata!, East of Eden, A Face in the Crowd, Splendor in the Grass, America America, The Last Tycoon, and most notably, On the Waterfront, which many critics interpret as an effort to justify his HUAC testimony.In 1999, Kazan was awarded an honorary Oscar that caused considerable division within the Hollywood community, highlighting the lingering effects of the director's testimony. The blacklist had a lasting impact on those who were named and those who did the naming, and the controversy of the HUAC hearings still resonates today. The Ambivalent Legacy of Elia Kazan will be of interest to historians of postwar America, cinema scholars, and movie fans who want to revisit some of the director's most significant films in a new light.
Ron Briley has taught American history and film classes at Sandia Preparatory School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the last thirty-five years. In addition to numerous scholarly articles and presentations, he has written and edited Class at Bat, Class on Deck, and Gender in the Hole (2003), James T. Farrell's Dreaming Baseball (2007),...
Title:The Ambivalent Legacy Of Elia Kazan: The Politics Of The Post-huac FilmsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:276 pages, 9.26 × 6.3 × 0.97 inPublished:October 28, 2016Publisher:Rowman & Littlefield PublishersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1442271671

ISBN - 13:9781442271678

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Editorial Reviews

The Ambivalent Legacy of Elia Kazan is a thorough study of motion picture director Elia Kazan (1909-2003), who publicly named names of fellow communists in the film industry in the early 1950s. Directors and writers who opposed the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC) were punished with temporary or permanent loss of employment, but Kazan, a talented film director, remained active in the Hollywood community. Before 'naming names,' he directed such successful films as Gentlemen's Agreement (1947), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), and Viva Zapata! (1952). After cooperating with HUAC, he continued to achieve success, despite opposition to his HUAC political position by some fellow directors and professionals, with such films as On the Waterfront (1954) and East of Eden (1955). His final film, The Last Tycoon, was released in 1976, bringing his lifetime total to 21 films. As Briley reveals, throughout his life Kazan made films with antiauthoritarian political perspectives, but in the years subsequent to the HUAC hearings, he never again achieved the high point he reached in the early and mid-1950s. This carefully researched book includes 16 pages of notes.Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers.