Cover image for Driving visions : exploring the road movie
Title:
Driving visions : exploring the road movie
Author:
Laderman, David.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Austin, TX : University of Texas Pres, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
322 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780292747319

9780292747326
Format :
Book

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Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PN1995.9.R63 L33 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

From the visionary rebellion of Easy Rider to the reinvention of home in The Straight Story, the road movie has emerged as a significant film genre since the late 1960s, able to cut across a wide variety of film styles and contexts. Yet, within the variety, a certain generic core remains constant: the journey as cultural critique, as exploration beyond society and within oneself. This book traces the generic evolution of the road movie with respect to its diverse presentations, emphasising it as an independent genre that attempts to incorporate marginality and subversion on many levels. David Laderman begins by identifying the road movie's defining features and by establishing the literary, classical Hollywood, and 1950s highway culture antecedents that formatively influenced it. He then traces the historical and aesthetic evolution of the road movie decade by decade through detailed and lively discussions of key films. Laderman concludes with a look at the European road movie, from the late 1950s auteurs through Godard and Wenders, and at compelling feminist road movies of the 1980s and 1990s.


Summary

From the visionary rebellion of Easy Rider to the reinvention of home in The Straight Story, the road movie has emerged as a significant film genre since the late 1960s, able to cut across a wide variety of film styles and contexts. Yet, within the variety, a certain generic core remains constant: the journey as cultural critique, as exploration beyond society and within oneself.

This book traces the generic evolution of the road movie with respect to its diverse presentations, emphasizing it as an "independent genre" that attempts to incorporate marginality and subversion on many levels. David Laderman begins by identifying the road movie's defining features and by establishing the literary, classical Hollywood, and 1950s highway culture antecedents that formatively influenced it. He then traces the historical and aesthetic evolution of the road movie decade by decade through detailed and lively discussions of key films. Laderman concludes with a look at the European road movie, from the late 1950s auteurs through Godard and Wenders, and at compelling feminist road movies of the 1980s and 1990s.


Author Notes

David Laderman is Associate Professor of Film at the College of San Mateo, as well as a lecturer in the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University


David Laderman is Associate Professor of Film at the College of San Mateo, as well as a lecturer in the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University


Reviews 4

Library Journal Review

In 1934, audiences swooned when reporter Clark Gable and heiress Claudette Colbert bickered and then fell in love on a cross-country bus trip in It Happened One Night, an early American road trip movie. America's vast open spaces, colorful and varied locations, multicultural population, and love for cars, mobility, and speed make the road movie a peculiarly (though not exclusively) American fixture. This book is an academic study of American road movies as a "rebellion against conservative social norms" with "an embrace of the journey as a means of cultural critique." The emphasis here is on "outlaw" road movies. Laderman (film, Coll. of San Mateo) discusses literary sources and visions (On the Road), gay road movies (My Own Private Idaho), Native American films (Smoke Signals), and African American (Get on the Bus) and feminist road journeys. He dismisses most comedies, saying they fail to "incorporate any visionary rebellion." Indeed, the author's tone is humorless throughout. His complaint about "heavy-handed" irony in Raising Arizona, for instance, seems to be based on the fact that the irrepressible Coen brothers failed to follow his vision of what a road movie should be. There are some provocative ideas here, but Laderman's rigid approach causes the book to run out of gas. An optional purchase for large American film collections. Stephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Extending Thomas Schatz's discussion of the genre in Hollywood Genres (CH, Jun'81), Laderman (College of San Mateo and San Francisco State Univ.) focuses on an infrequently visited stretch of the intertextual highway, discussing relationships within particular films and their references to other road movies. Individual chapters treat the genre by decade, from the 1960s to the present. Worthwhile connections link films throughout the decades as siblings. Automobiles play a role in the countercultural unrest of 1960s cinema. Visionary rebellion and road become centrally integrated in narrative, "refuge from social circumstances." Although Laderman does not include a list of all members of the genre, he offers detailed studies of 37 films including two European films (Wild Strawberries and La Strada); many other films make their way into the discussion, albeit briefly. Missing are a recent film, Joyride (1996), and the earlier Lonely Are the Brave (1962), a modern cowboy film. The book includes detailed endnotes and a reasonable bibliography. All film collections. A. Hirsh emeritus, Central Connecticut State University


Library Journal Review

In 1934, audiences swooned when reporter Clark Gable and heiress Claudette Colbert bickered and then fell in love on a cross-country bus trip in It Happened One Night, an early American road trip movie. America's vast open spaces, colorful and varied locations, multicultural population, and love for cars, mobility, and speed make the road movie a peculiarly (though not exclusively) American fixture. This book is an academic study of American road movies as a "rebellion against conservative social norms" with "an embrace of the journey as a means of cultural critique." The emphasis here is on "outlaw" road movies. Laderman (film, Coll. of San Mateo) discusses literary sources and visions (On the Road), gay road movies (My Own Private Idaho), Native American films (Smoke Signals), and African American (Get on the Bus) and feminist road journeys. He dismisses most comedies, saying they fail to "incorporate any visionary rebellion." Indeed, the author's tone is humorless throughout. His complaint about "heavy-handed" irony in Raising Arizona, for instance, seems to be based on the fact that the irrepressible Coen brothers failed to follow his vision of what a road movie should be. There are some provocative ideas here, but Laderman's rigid approach causes the book to run out of gas. An optional purchase for large American film collections. Stephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Extending Thomas Schatz's discussion of the genre in Hollywood Genres (CH, Jun'81), Laderman (College of San Mateo and San Francisco State Univ.) focuses on an infrequently visited stretch of the intertextual highway, discussing relationships within particular films and their references to other road movies. Individual chapters treat the genre by decade, from the 1960s to the present. Worthwhile connections link films throughout the decades as siblings. Automobiles play a role in the countercultural unrest of 1960s cinema. Visionary rebellion and road become centrally integrated in narrative, "refuge from social circumstances." Although Laderman does not include a list of all members of the genre, he offers detailed studies of 37 films including two European films (Wild Strawberries and La Strada); many other films make their way into the discussion, albeit briefly. Missing are a recent film, Joyride (1996), and the earlier Lonely Are the Brave (1962), a modern cowboy film. The book includes detailed endnotes and a reasonable bibliography. All film collections. A. Hirsh emeritus, Central Connecticut State University


Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Chapter 1 Paving the Way: Sources and Features of the Road Movie
Chapter 2 Blazing the Trail: Visionary Rebellion and the Late-1960s Road Movie
Chapter 3 Drifting on Empty: Existential Irony and the Early-1970s Road Movie
Chapter 4 Blurring the Boundaries: The 1980s Postmodern Road Movie
Chapter 5 Rebuilding the Engine: The 1990s Multicultural Road Movie
Chapter 6 Traveling Other Highways: The European Road Movie
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Acknowledgments
Chapter 1 Paving the Way: Sources and Features of the Road Movie
Chapter 2 Blazing the Trail: Visionary Rebellion and the Late-1960s Road Movie
Chapter 3 Drifting on Empty: Existential Irony and the Early-1970s Road Movie
Chapter 4 Blurring the Boundaries: The 1980s Postmodern Road Movie
Chapter 5 Rebuilding the Engine: The 1990s Multicultural Road Movie
Chapter 6 Traveling Other Highways: The European Road Movie
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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