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The Cinema of Robert Altman: Hollywod Maverick

by Robert Niemi

In a controversial and tumultuous filmmaking career that spanned nearly fifty years, Robert Altman mocked, subverted, or otherwise refashioned Hollywood narrative and genre conventions. Altman's idiosyncratic vision and propensity for formal experimentation resulted in an uneven body of work: some rank failures and intriguing near-misses, as well as a number of great films that are among the most influential works of New American Cinema. While Altman always professed to have nothing authoritative to say about the state of contemporary society, this volume surveys all of his major films in their sociohistorical context to reposition the director as a trenchant satirist and social critic of postmodern America, depicted as a lonely wasteland of fraudulent spectacle, exploitative social relations, and unfulfilled solitaries in search of elusive community.

History in the Media: Film and Television

by Robert Niemi

Aimed at general readers, this text considers the relationship between Hollywood and history from the invention of moving pictures to the present. Niemi (American studies, St. Michael's College, Vermont) examines more than 350 movies that are based on actual events and analyzes how the film treatment of topics such as baseball, the Civil War, and punk rock have changed over time to reflect prevalent cultural attitudes. Coverage includes both docudramas and documentaries.

The Ultimate, Illustrated Beats Chronology

by Robert Niemi

Did you know that less than two weeks after Jack Kerouac reported to the Newport, RI U.S. Naval Training Station (the same month that the German 6th Army was surrendering at Stalingrad), he was discharged, diagnosed with a "Constitutional Psychopathic State, Schizoid Personality"? That just a few months later, William Burroughs moved from Chicago to New York, where he took a small apartment at 69 Bedford Street and began a heroin addiction that was to last until 1956? That meanwhile, Gregory Corso, thirteen and homeless, was being arrested for petty larceny, while Hubert Selby, Jr., fifteen, joined the Merchant Marines? And that the very same year, Allen Ginsberg, a new graduate from Eastside High School in Patterson, New Jersey, began his first semester at Columbia University, where he first made the acquaintance of Herbert Gold and Jack Kerouac?Packed with month-by-month and week-by-week anecdotes, The Ultimate, Illustrated Beats Chronology is a meticulous timeline detailing the life events and literary accomplishments of the writers who became known as the Beat Generation. Covering an entire century and then some, this beautifully illustrated volume is certain to be an invaluable resource for anyone curious about the Beat Generation.

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