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New Hollywood (1967 - 1977)

Related: American cinema - Hollywood

Influenced by: television - French New Wave filmmaking - Roger Corman

The Nouvelle Vague style had an impact on American cinema. After Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde (1967) the New Hollywood directors (e.g. Altman, Coppola, De Palma and Scorsese) of the late 1960s/early 1970s made movies inspired by their European (and in particular French) counterparts.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967) - Arthur Penn [Amazon.com]

How do you begin to describe the shockwaves this movie sent through Hollywood back in 1967? Well, fortunately, that's already been done in Peter Biskind's excellent Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (1998) , a history of the "New Hollywood" with each chapter more or less focusing on a single film for each year of the decade many now talk about as a "golden age." And for Biskind, the 70s started in '67 with this movie. --http://www.greencine.com/webCatalog?id=314 [Nov 2004]


New Hollywood refers to the brief time between roughly 1967 (Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate) and 1977 (Star Wars) when a new generation of young, cinema-crazed filmmakers came to prominence in America, drastically changing not only the way Hollywood films were produced and marketed, but also the kinds of films that were made.

In this ten year period, Hollywood was overrun by a new generation of film school-educated, counter culture-bred actors, writers, and, most importantly, directors. This group of people, dubbed the New Hollywood by the press (or, affectionately, the Movie Brats), destroyed the old, producer-dominated Hollywood system of the past and injected movies with a jolt of freshness, energy, sexuality, and an obsessive passion for film itself. The body of work from this period is in itself a list of the greatest films ever made. To name but a few: Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Easy Rider, M*A*S*H, The French Connection, Chinatown, Dog Day Afternoon, The Godfather, Jaws, Badlands, Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, American Graffiti, Raging Bull. The talent behind these films is staggering: Francis Ford Coppola, Warren Beatty, Dennis Hopper, Arthur Penn, William Friedkin, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Roman Polanski, Terrence Malick, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, Jack Nicholson, Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway, Diane Keaton.

By the 1960’s Old Hollywood had lost touch with its audience. The studios were still being run by the moguls who had created them back when Hollywood was a baby. Studios, in a defensive measure against the lure of television, had started churning out widescreen epics, escapist musical fantasies, and genre pictures that grew staler as the years went by. Nothing was reflecting the changing social mores of American society and the result was declining ticket sales. By the time the baby-boom generation was coming of age in the 60’s and 70’s, Old Hollywood was hemorrhaging money; they had no idea what the audience wanted.

What the audience wanted was something new. European art films, the French New Wave, Japanese cinema, were all making a big splash in America--the huge market of disaffected youth found something in themselves when they saw movies like Antonioni’s Blow-Up, with its oblique narrative structure and full-frontal female nudity. Studio heads were baffled. Unable to figure out what was happening, producers gradually handed power over to the directors. This was when the Movie Brat generation broke in and Hollywood became an asylum that was truly run by the inmates.

The New Hollywood came crashing down with the release of Star Wars in 1977. With its unprecedented box-office success, Lucas’ film, along with Spielberg’s Jaws two years before, jumpstarted Hollywood’s blockbuster mentality, effectively ending the New Hollywood reign of smaller, idiosyncratic, envelope-pushing films. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hollywood [Nov 2004]

'The New Hollywood' and 'post-classical cinema'

'The New Hollywood' and 'post-classical cinema' are terms used to describe the period following the decline of the studio system in the 1950s and 1960s and the end of the production code. It is defined by a greater tendency to dramatize such things as sexuality and violence, and by the rising importance of blockbuster movies.

'Post-classical cinema' is a term used to describe the changing methods of storytelling in the New Hollywood. It has been argued that new approaches to drama and characterization played upon audience expectations acquired in the classical/Golden Age period: chronology may be scrambled, storylines may feature "twist endings", and lines between the antagonist and protagonist may be blurred. The roots of post-classical storytelling may be seen in film noir, in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), and in Hitchcock's storyline-shattering Psycho. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_cinema#The_.27New_Hollywood.27_or_Post-classical_cinema [Nov 2005]

Post-classical cinema (which roughly coincides with the Bronze Age of Hollywood) is defined by new approaches to drama and characterization that played upon audience expectations acquired in the classical/Golden Age period. Heroes became mortal, storylines featured "twist endings", lines between the antagonist and protagonist were blurred. Audiences were kept off-balance.

It is impossible to pinpoint exactly when the "post-classical era" began, film noir pointed in this direction, as did 1955s Rebel Without a Cause, and many other examples. 1960 is a good approximation, notable for Hitchcock's storyline shattering Psycho. The MacGuffin is a good example of a Post-Classical plot device. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_cinema#Post-classical_cinema_and_the_Bronze_Age [Feb 2005]

New Hollywood Cinema (2002) - Geoff King

New Hollywood Cinema (2002) - Geoff King [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From Library Journal
Examining American filmmaking from both a social and an industrial standpoint, King (media, Brunel Univ., West London) seeks to define the "New Hollywood." He begins with an analysis of key films from Tinseltown's Renaissance in the late 1960s (e.g., Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Easy Rider) before exploring changes in the realms of film authorship, genre, stars, narrative vs. spectacle, and big screen vs. small screen (TV) in the 1980s and 1990s. His discussion of genre is one of the most reasonable to be found anywhere. Also illuminating is a comparison between Spartacus and Gladiator from such perspectives as director/camera detachment and average shot length (ASL). It will not surprise veteran moviegoers that Spartacus's ASL was 7.89 seconds while Gladiator's was 3.36. (King also realizes that Gladiator bears much resemblance to 1964's The Fall of the Roman Empire.) This work, which may be supplemented by Ray Greene's more downbeat Hollywood Migraine: The Inside Story of a Decade in Film, confirms that British film historians generally outperform their American cousins. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries. --Kim Holston, American Inst. for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Malvern, PA, Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist
When some film buffs speak of "New Hollywood," they are referring to the artistic renaissance of the late 1960s and '70s, when directors like Scorsese and Coppola shook up the studio system; others use the label to describe the blockbuster phenomenon launched in the '70s by Jaws and Star Wars, and continued by even-more-corporate behemoths ever since. For King, the term encompasses both, and he ambitiously attempts to show how the Hollywood product of the past three decades differs from that of... read more

Book Description
What is "New Hollywood"? The "art" cinema of the Hollywood "Renaissance" or the corporate controlled blockbuster? The introverted world of Travis Bickle or the action heroics of Indiana Jones, Buzz Lightyear, and Maximus the Gladiator? Innovative departures from the "classical" Hollywood style or superficial glitz, special effects, and borrowings from MTV? Wholesale change or important continuities with Hollywood´s past? The answer suggested by Geoff King in New Hollywood Cinema is all of these and more. He examines New Hollywood from three main perspectives: film style, industry, and the social-historical context. Each is considered in its own right, sometimes resulting in different ways of defining New Hollywood. But one of the book´s central arguments is that a combination of these approaches is needed if we are to understand the latest incarnations of the cinema that continues to dominate the global market. King looks at the Hollywood "Renaissance" from the late 1960s to the late 1970s, industrial factors shaping the construction of the corporate blockbuster, the role of auteur directors, genre and stardom in New Hollywood, narrative and spectacle in the contemporary blockbuster, and the relationship between production for the big and small screens. Case studies considered include Taxi Driver, Godzilla, and Gladiator, tracing the roots of New Hollywood from the 1950s to the start of the twenty-first century.

New Hollywood Violence (2004) - Steven Jay Schneider

New Hollywood Violence (2004) - Steven Jay Schneider [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
New Hollywood Violence is a groundbreaking collection of essays devoted to an interrogation of various aspects, dimensions, and depictions of violence in New Hollywood filmmaking. "New Hollywood" refers to the return to genre filmmaking following America's flirtation with European art cinema in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and is characterized by vast production budgets and special effects. Focusing on the motivations, the formal and stylistic qualities and the cultural politics of violence as well as the effects on viewers, the collection is divided into four sections: "Surveys and schemas"; "Spectacle and style"; "Race and gender" and "Politics to ideology". An Afterword by Stephen Prince reflects on the various essays and points the way towards areas of future exploration. --via Amazon.com

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (1998) - Peter Biskind

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (1998) - Peter Biskind [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Not only is Peter Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls the best book in recent memory on turn-of-the-'70s film, it is beyond question the best book we'll ever get on the subject. Why? Because once the big names who spilled the beans to Biskind find out that other people spilled an equally piquant quantity of beans, nobody will dare speak to another writer with such candor, humor, and venom again.

Biskind did hundreds of interviews with people who make the president look accessible: Scorsese, Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, Geffen, Beatty, Kael, Towne, Altman. He also spoke with countless spurned spouses and burned partners, alleged victims of assault by knife, pistol, and bodily fluids. Rather more responsible than some of his sources, Biskind always carefully notes the denials as well as the astounding stories he has compiled. He tells you about Scorsese running naked down Mulholland Drive after his girlfriend, crying, "Don't leave me!"; grave robbing on the set of Apocalypse Now; Faye Dunaway apparently flinging urine in Roman Polanski's face while filming Chinatown; Michael O'Donoghue's LSD-fueled swan dive onto a patio; Coppola's mad plan for a 10-hour film of Goethe's Elective Affinities in 3-D; the ocean suicide attempt Hal "Captain Wacky" Ashby gave up when he couldn't find a swimsuit that pleased him; countless dalliances with porn stars; Russian roulette games and psychotherapy sessions in hot tubs. But he also soberly gives both sides ample chance to testify.

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is also more than a fistful of dazzling anecdotes. Methodically, as thrillingly as a movie attorney, Biskind builds the case that Hollywood was revived by wild ones who then betrayed their own dreams, slit their own throats, and destroyed an art form by producing that mindless, inhuman modern behemoth, the blockbuster.

When Spielberg was making the first true blockbuster, Jaws, he sneaked Lucas in one day when nobody was around, got him to put his head in the shark's mechanical mouth, and closed the shark's mouth on him. The gizmo broke and got stuck, but the two young men somehow extricated Lucas's head and hightailed it like Tom and Huck. As Peter Biskind's scathing, funny, wise book demonstrates, they only thought they had escaped. --Tim Appelo

When the low-budget biker movie Easy Rider shocked Hollywood with its success in 1969, a new Hollywood era was born. This was an age when talented young filmmakers such as Scorsese, Coppola, and Spielberg, along with a new breed of actors, including De Niro, Pacino, and Nicholson, became the powerful figures who would make such modern classics as The Godfather, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, and Jaws. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls follows the wild ride that was Hollywood in the '70s -- an unabashed celebration of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll (both onscreen and off) and a climate where innovation and experimentation reigned supreme. Based on hundreds of interviews with the directors themselves, producers, stars, agents, writers, studio executives, spouses, and ex-spouses, this is the full, candid story of Hollywood's last golden age.

MARTIN SCORSESE ON DRUGS: "I did a lot of drugs because I wanted to do a lot, I wanted to push all the way to the very very end, and see if I could die."

DENNIS HOPPER ON EASY RIDER: "The cocaine problem in the United States is really because of me. There was no cocaine before Easy Rider on the street. After Easy Rider, it was everywhere."

GEORGE LUCAS ON STAR WARS: "Popcorn pictures have always ruled. Why do people go see them? Why is the public so stupid? That's not my fault."

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (2003) - Kenneth Bowser

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (2003) - Kenneth Bowser [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is a book by Peter Biskind about 1970s Hollywood, a stand alone period of American film that produced such classics as The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, Taxi Driver, Jaws, Star Wars, The Exorcist and The Last Picture Show. It follows Hollywood on the brink of the Vietnam War with a group of Hollywood film directors known as the movie brats, beginning in the 1960's and ending in the 1980's.

Subjects Profiled In The Book:
Robert Altman Hal Ashby Peter Bogdanovich Francis Ford Coppola William Friedkin George Lucas Marcia Lucas John Milius Polly Platt Paul Schrader Martin Scorcese Steven Spielberg Robert Towne --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easy_Riders%2C_Raging_Bulls [Dec 2005]

This book was made in a documentary film with the same title.

This BBC production is a companion to Peter Biskind's 1998 book by the same name, an excellent dish on the 1970s American movie scene. It roughly follows the same path, tracing how maverick filmmakers revitalized Hollywood, from Dennis Hopper's Easy Rider to the triumphant quartet of Coppola/Lucas/Spielberg/Scorsese. Any fan will want to listen in as nearly 50 actors and artists remember the day. However, the star meter is on low wattage, with today's most successful directors only talked about, and seen in often bemusingly vintage clips. The better-produced, higher-star-wattage A Decade Under the Influence covers much of the same ground. An on-screen Biskind would have helped matters, but he is nowhere to be seen. Yet there are moments from the book that come to life, be it grainy home movies from Jennifer Salt and Margot Kidder's notorious beach house or Roman Polanski's emotional press conference after the murder of his wife Sharon Tate. The DVD boasts a second disc of extended interviews on numerous subjects, many of which were not covered in the 119-minute film. --Doug Thomas

Product Description:
This 2-DVD set is Kenneth Bowser’s BBC-produced documentary of Peter Biskind’s controversial, best-selling book. It chronicles the evolution of a new breed of filmmaker who, in the late ’60s and ’70s, exploded old Hollywood, in the process redefining the very nature of movies. The results were edgy, impressionistic pictures—The Godfather, Easy Rider, Mean Streets, Midnight Cowboy, Rosemary’s Baby, Taxi Driver—by maverick, now-legendary directors: Scorsese, Coppola, Lucas, Altman, Polanski, Peckinpah.

In bringing the celebrated book to the screen, director Bowser employed some adventurous filmmaking of his own. Narrated by William H. Macy, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls features vintage clips of the directors who defined the movement; original interviews with such directors as Arthur Penn and John Milius, actors such as Peter Fonda and Richard Dreyfus and more. --via Amazon.com

The second assumption which I would challenge is that it was a limited group of people who were responsible for this ‘Golden Age’. The documentary suggests that it’s, broadly, the group who assembled at John Milius’ Malibu beach house in the early seventies and that it was their reliance on drugs that destroyed the ascendancy of the directors. The problem with this is twofold. Firstly, it ignores the fact that some of the key directors didn’t use drugs, or at least not to a career-damaging extent – Steven Spielberg, John Milius, Brian De Palma, Arthur Penn – and secondly it ignores the importance of all the other filmmakers who weren’t in the closed circle. It seems incredible to me that anyone could create a history of the era and not mention Dirty Harry, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Dog Day Afternoon, Klute, Annie Hall or Alien. --http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=6140 [Dec 2005]

Julia Philips (1994-2002)
However, along with many of her 70s cohorts, creative explo­ration and suit rejection ran hand in hand with embracing the perceived creative liberation provided by excessive drug and alcohol use. All night and all morning parties at her Malibu beach house were the norm. They were attended by hungry, penniless nobodies named Scorsese, De Palma and Schrader, and a frail dweeb named Spielberg. The late, great screenwriter Waldo (Midnight Cowboy) Salt said of her, "Julia had a real eye for spotting talent, and she would throw herself bodily upon it." These relationships led to her being a truly creative producer on Steelyard Blues and The Sting (both 1973), the latter of which brought her the first Oscar ever won by a woman for producing. As she would later say, she survived Oscar night with the aid of "a diet pill, a small amount of coke, two joints, three Valium and a glass-and-a-half of wine." --http://www.moviemaker.com/issues/46/crossing.html [Dec 2005]

Margot Kidder
She showed real personality opposite Gene Wilder in the wacky Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx (1970), but after becoming disillusioned with the Hollywood machine she left Los Angeles to study acting in New York City. Upon her return to L.A., she and close friend Jennifer Salt moved into a beach house in Malibu and regularly hosted a circle of young, struggling filmmakers that included Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Steven Spielberg, Susan Sarandon and others. After toiling for several years on the television assembly line, she made audiences and critics sit up and take notice with her eerie interpretation of separated Siamese twins in De Palma’s breakthrough feature, Sisters (1973). --http://www.filmreferencelibrary.ca/index.asp?layid=46&csid1=1403&navid=46 [Dec 2005]

Roger Corman
Another godfather to the new movement was producer Roger Corman, who gave early career opportunities to Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich, and Jonathan Demme on low-budget projects that allowed them to learn their craft. --http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/movie.html?v_id=281374 [Dec 2005]

See also: documentary film - Peter Biskind - Roger Corman - American cinema - New Hollywood - 1970s film

A Decade Under the Influence (2003) - Ted Demme, Richard LaGravenese

A Decade Under the Influence (2003) - Ted Demme, Richard LaGravenese [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Genres: Documentary
Plot Outline: A documentary examining the decade of the 1970s as a turning point in American cinema. Some of today's best filmmakers interview the influential directors of that time.

Plot Synopsis: The 1970s was an extraordinary time of rebellion, of questioning every accepted idea: political activism, hedonism, protests, the sexual revolution, the women's movement, the civil rights movement, the music revolution, rage and liberation. Every standard by which we set our social and cultural clocks was either turned inside out or thrown away completely and reinvented. For American cinema, the 1970s was an era during which a new generation of filmmakers created work for a new kind of audience--moviegoers who were hungry for stories that reflected their own experiences and who were turning their backs on aged old studio formulas. As a result, emerging filmmakers influenced by foreign directors such as Godard, Kurosawa and Fellini coupled with the social climate and a struggling studio system, converged to create a new kind of moviemaking. Through their choice of material, filmmakers such as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, Peter Bogdanovich, William Friedkin, Roger Corman and Paul Schrader revolutionized mainstream movies and for the first time personal visions were coming out of the studio system.

How did Hollywood make so many great, challenging, offbeat films in the 1970s? A Decade Under the Influence lists the reasons--or rather, lets the people who did the filmmaking list the reasons. The decade-shaping interviewees include Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, Francis Coppola, et al. The film's argument has actually been conventional wisdom for at least 10 years, but it's well-supported by an abundance of clips, which should inspire even hardcore film buffs to seek out rarities such as Thunderbolt and Lightfoot or The King of Marvin Gardens. One might observe that the scarcity of women directors or black filmmakers suggests that the decade was not entirely golden, and the memories may be burnished a bit by nostalgia. But there's no question that the big studios were far more adventurous back then, and this briskly moving survey gives a lively Film 101 lecture in exactly why. --Robert Horton

Product Description:
The 1970s was an extraordinary time of rebellion. As political activism, the sexual revolution, the women's movement, and the music revolution contributed to social unrest across America, American cinema witnessed the emergence of a new generation of filmmakers. --via Amazon.com

See also: documentary film - Roger Corman - American cinema - New Hollywood - 1970s film

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