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Columbia University Press
Disaster and Memory: Celebrity Culture and the Crisis of Hollywood Cinema / Edition 1

Disaster and Memory: Celebrity Culture and the Crisis of Hollywood Cinema / Edition 1

by Wheeler Winston DixonWheeler Winston Dixon


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Using the media's coverage of the death of Princess Diana as a departing point, Wheeler Dixon presents a sharply critical assessment of the current state of movies—from the cult of celebrity, to the nature of public surveillance, to the role of print and television media in shaping our shared consciousness—unveiling our fascination with disaster. Dixon argues that movies such as James Cameron's Titanic replay the same Hollywood disaster plotlines with greater wizardry and less humanity than the films of fifty years ago. Contemporary cinema has become simply a memory of itself. Dixon draws on the effects of new technologies, the role of the "star" system, and the development of media conglomerates to explain why Hollywood has become so repetitive. Looking at a wide range of film genres, from obscure horror to blockbuster disaster movies, Dixon weaves together the elements that entice and manipulate audience expectations and emotions. Throughout the book, he examines the role of televisual media (cable, video, instant print magazines, digitally stored photos) in capturing the public's attention, and how these media could instead be used to open movie audiences to new stories and experiences.With its broad scope and frank tone, Disaster and Memory offers a refreshing and controversial perspective on the past, present, and future of Hollywood.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231113175
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 01/26/1999
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 220
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Wheeler Winston Dixon is professor of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where he is chair of the Film Studies Program. He is the author of The Films of Jean-Luc Godard; The Exploding Eye: A Re-Visionary History of the American Experimental Cinema; and The Transparency of Spectacle.

Table of Contents

1. The Moving Image in Crisis: Disaster and Memory
2. Manufacturing Identity in the Cold War Era: The Televisual Gaze
3. The Industry of Transcendence: Theorizing a Community
4. Superstructures of the Dominant Cinema: The Alterity of Symbolic Capital

What People are Saying About This

Steven Shaviro

Dixon is one of the most useful film critics I know. He is a superb guide to the issues facing filmmakers and filmwriters alike as we approach the new millennium.

Steven Shaviro, author of Doom Patrols: A Theoretical Fiction About Postmodernism

Customer Reviews