Cover image for Disaster movies : the cinema of catastrophe
Disaster movies : the cinema of catastrophe
Keane, Stephen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Wallflower, 2001.
Physical Description:
133 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PN1995.9.D55 K43 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Stephen Keane's history of the disaster genre offers a detailed analysis of films such as "The Towering Inferno," "Independence Day," "Titanic," and "The Day After Tomorrow." He looks at the ways in which disaster movies can be read in relation to both contextual considerations and the increasing commercial demands of contemporary Hollywood. In this second edition, he adds new material regarding cinematic representations of disaster in the wake of 9/11 and an analysis of disaster movies in light of recent natural disasters. Keane continually reworks this previously unexplored genre.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Anyone wishing to appreciate Keane's study should first read Thomas Schatz's Hollywood Genres (CH, Jul'81) for an introduction to genre study. This will provide an understanding of a family of films, a study within its own context. Keane (Univ. of Leeds, UK) advances earlier treatments, notably those in the "Short Cuts" series to which this volume belongs and those in the "Cinema One" and "Film Focus" series. He considers the "who will survive" narrative pleasure and the circus aspect added to traditional melodrama, and he presents a brief historical survey from silents to the 1990s. Films are matched to their particular decades. Using biblical epics and science fiction, the author separates the fantasy from the natural in source material. An added benefit, in light of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the US, is that this work explains (though unintentionally, since its writing predates those events) why the disaster genre may be difficult to continue. Containing an adequate bibliography, which is helpfully annotated, this volume is recommended especially for undergraduates and general readers. A. Hirsh emeritus, Central Connecticut State University

Table of Contents

1 The Savage Seventies
2 Transitions: Action and Disaster
3 The Sense of an Ending
4 Surviving Disaster

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