Cover image for Film follies : the cinema out of order
Title:
Film follies : the cinema out of order
Author:
Klawans, Stuart.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; New York Cassell, 1999.
Physical Description:
188 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780304700530

9780304700547
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PN1995.9.E79 K63 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Outlining a history of film going too far, of seeming madness and wasteful extravagance, this text examines films that are cinematic landmarks and monuments to directors' hubris, from Griffiths' Intolerance to Coppola's Apocalypse Now and Carax's Les Amants du Pont-Neuf. The text explores the changing conditons of the industry under which figures such as L'Herbier and Lang, von Sternberg and Ophuls got their hands on the full apparatus of studio production, while behaving as individual artists. It questions the shape of film history from the viewpoint of these pictures and relates the notion that a failed work of art may be more glorious than a success.


Summary

Outlining a history of film going too far, of seeming madness and wasteful extravagance, this text examines films that are cinematic landmarks and monuments to directors' hubris, from Griffiths' Intolerance to Coppola's Apocalypse Now and Carax's Les Amants du Pont-Neuf. The text explores the changing conditons of the industry under which figures such as L'Herbier and Lang, von Sternberg and Ophuls got their hands on the full apparatus of studio production, while behaving as individual artists. It questions the shape of film history from the viewpoint of these pictures and relates the notion that a failed work of art may be more glorious than a success.


Author Notes

Stuart Klawans was born on October 17, 1950 in Chicago, IL.Education: Yale, B.A. in English Literature, 1971. Expelled for helping to hold hostage the university business administrator, 1970.Besides writing a regular column for The Nation and the New York Daily News ("Museums"), Klawans has contributed to the Times Literary Supplement ("American Notes" column), NPR (commentaries on Fresh Air), The Village Voice, Grand Street, Threepenny Review, Entertainment Weekly, WBAI (film reviews on "Soundtrack"), the Chicago Tribune and The New York Times (once).He is represented in several anthologies, including The Best American Essays 1990 (Ticknor & Fields), edited by Justin Kaplan and Robert Atwan; Seeing Through Movies (Pantheon, 1990), edited by Mark Crispin Miller; and Foreign Affairs (Mercury House, 1991), edited by Kathy Schulz Huffins for the National Society of Film Critics.Klawans is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics, and was a member of the selection committee for the New York Film Festival from 1992-95.Awards and honors: Arrested for trespass, Shoreham Nuclear Installation, 1979.Klawans's book Film Follies was nominated for a 1999 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

A film critic for the Nation, Klawans is usually concerned with the subtlety and nuance of new movies. Here he looks at extravagant "follies," his term for overweening, ruinously expensive spectacles like Griffith's Intolerance, Lang's Metropolis, Selznick's Duel in the Sun and Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Each of these monuments to directorial hubris, he contends, both reflected significant changes in the film industry and precipitated them. Klawans places each within a larger field of cultural history: thus Metropolis reflects European fears of America's aggressive, post-WWI modernity and the threatening specter of the "New Woman"; the many problems that plagued the productions of Cleopatra and Duel in the Sun echo a larger struggle between individual expression and an increasingly rigid system of mass-market production. "Follies" they may be, but Klawans argues persuasively that such films‘too large, too ambitious, too new to achieve coherence in their time‘actually broadened the boundaries of filmmaking and changed our understanding of "the symbolic function of movies." He also traces the ancestry of such films to the eclecticism and spectacle of world's fairs, Wagnerian music-drama and 18th-century amusement parks. This sweeping, richly detailed history is occasionally mired in the minutiae of budget revisions, cast changes or obscure biographical details. But in its structure and scope, Klawans's tale of film follies is very much like the fairs and festivals that fascinate him‘highly ambitious, original, full of disparate ideas, a large cast of characters and a sense of wonder. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Klawans, film critic for the Nation, looks at those over-the-top, beyond-extravagant films that are the consummate creation of one person. A "film folly" is not only overly ambitious but ruinously expensive to make, destroying careers and studios. It is an act of hubris or megalomania on the part of its creator, and the logical development of story line or characters isn't this type of film's strong point. Klawans examines some examples of this genre, among them Intolerance, Greed, Metropolis, Duel in the Sun, Fitzcarraldo, Cleopatra, I Am Cuba, and Apocalypse Now. Proceeding chronologically, he considers not only the film itself but the circumstances in the film industry at the time that made its creation possible. Aside from an overemphasis on the influence of Richard Wagner in the first third of the book, what Klawans has to say is interesting and far from dry. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.‘Marianne Cawley, Charleston Cty. Lib., SC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

A film critic for the Nation, Klawans is usually concerned with the subtlety and nuance of new movies. Here he looks at extravagant "follies," his term for overweening, ruinously expensive spectacles like Griffith's Intolerance, Lang's Metropolis, Selznick's Duel in the Sun and Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Each of these monuments to directorial hubris, he contends, both reflected significant changes in the film industry and precipitated them. Klawans places each within a larger field of cultural history: thus Metropolis reflects European fears of America's aggressive, post-WWI modernity and the threatening specter of the "New Woman"; the many problems that plagued the productions of Cleopatra and Duel in the Sun echo a larger struggle between individual expression and an increasingly rigid system of mass-market production. "Follies" they may be, but Klawans argues persuasively that such films‘too large, too ambitious, too new to achieve coherence in their time‘actually broadened the boundaries of filmmaking and changed our understanding of "the symbolic function of movies." He also traces the ancestry of such films to the eclecticism and spectacle of world's fairs, Wagnerian music-drama and 18th-century amusement parks. This sweeping, richly detailed history is occasionally mired in the minutiae of budget revisions, cast changes or obscure biographical details. But in its structure and scope, Klawans's tale of film follies is very much like the fairs and festivals that fascinate him‘highly ambitious, original, full of disparate ideas, a large cast of characters and a sense of wonder. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Klawans, film critic for the Nation, looks at those over-the-top, beyond-extravagant films that are the consummate creation of one person. A "film folly" is not only overly ambitious but ruinously expensive to make, destroying careers and studios. It is an act of hubris or megalomania on the part of its creator, and the logical development of story line or characters isn't this type of film's strong point. Klawans examines some examples of this genre, among them Intolerance, Greed, Metropolis, Duel in the Sun, Fitzcarraldo, Cleopatra, I Am Cuba, and Apocalypse Now. Proceeding chronologically, he considers not only the film itself but the circumstances in the film industry at the time that made its creation possible. Aside from an overemphasis on the influence of Richard Wagner in the first third of the book, what Klawans has to say is interesting and far from dry. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.‘Marianne Cawley, Charleston Cty. Lib., SC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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