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"It's the Pictures That Got Small": Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood's Golden Age

by Anthony Slide & Jim Moore Columbia University Press (November 25, 2014)

Golden Age Hollywood screenwriter Charles Brackett was an extremely observant and perceptive chronicler of the entertainment industry during its most exciting years. He is best remembered as the writing partner...

Maya Deren: Incomplete Control

by Sarah Keller Columbia University Press (December 09, 2014)

Maya Deren (1917–1961) was a Russian-born American filmmaker, theorist, poet, and photographer working at the forefront of the American avant-garde in the 1940s and 1950s. Influenced by Jean Cocteau and Marcel...

After the Silents: Hollywood Film Music in the Early Sound Era, 1926-1934

by Michael Slowik Columbia University Press (October 07, 2014)

Many believe Max Steiner’s score for King Kong (1933) was the first important attempt at integrating background music into sound film, but a closer look at the industry’s early sound era (1926–1934) reveals...

Deathwatch: American Film, Technology, and the End of Life

by C. Scott Combs Columbia University Press (September 02, 2014)

While cinema is a medium with a unique ability to “watch life” and “write movement,” it is equally singular in its portrayal of death. The first study to unpack American cinema’s long history of representing...

Electric Sounds: Technological Change and the Rise of Corporate Mass Media

by Steve J. Wurtzler Columbia University Press (January 23, 2007)

Electric Sounds brings to vivid life an era when innovations in the production, recording, and transmission of sound revolutionized a number of different media, especially the radio, the phonograph, and the...

New Tunisian Cinema: Allegories of Resistance

by Robert Lang Columbia University Press (March 18, 2014)

Tunisian cinema is often described as the most daring of all Arab cinemas, a model of equipoise between “East” and “West” and the defender of a fierce, sovereign style. Even during the repressive regime...

Continental Strangers: German Exile Cinema, 1933-1951

by Gerd Gemünden Columbia University Press (January 21, 2014)

Hundreds of German-speaking film professionals took refuge in Hollywood during the 1930s and 1940s, making a lasting contribution to American cinema. Hailing from Austria, Hungary, Poland, Russia, and the Ukraine,...

George Gallup in Hollywood

by Susan Ohmer Columbia University Press (November 07, 2006)

George Gallup in Hollywood is a fascinating look at the film industry's use of opinion polling in the 1930s and '40s. George Gallup's polling techniques first achieved fame when he accurately predicted that...

The New European Cinema: Redrawing the Map

by Rosalind Galt Columbia University Press (March 21, 2006)

New European Cinema offers a compelling response to the changing cultural shapes of Europe, charting political, aesthetic, and historical developments through innovative readings of some of the most popular...

Electric Dreamland: Amusement Parks, Movies, and American Modernity

by Lauren Rabinovitz Columbia University Press (July 16, 2012)

More than two thousand amusement parks dotted the American landscape in the early twentieth century, thrilling the general public with the latest in entertainment and motion picture technology. Amusement parks...

The Utopia of Film: Cinema and Its Futures in Godard, Kluge, and Tahimik

by Christopher Pavsek Columbia University Press (January 29, 2013)

The German filmmaker Alexander Kluge has long promoted cinema’s relationship with the goals of human emancipation. Jean-Luc Godard and Filipino director Kidlat Tahimik also believe in cinema’s ability to...

Where Film Meets Philosophy: Godard, Resnais, and Experiments in Cinematic Thinking

by Hunter Vaughan Columbia University Press (December 25, 2012)

Closely reading the films of Jean-Luc Godard and Alain Resnais, Hunter Vaughan establishes a connection between phenomenology and image-philosophy to analyze the moving image and its challenge to conventional...

Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939

by Thomas Doherty Columbia University Press (March 12, 2013)

Between 1933 and 1939, representations of the Nazis and the full meaning of Nazism came slowly to Hollywood, growing more ominous and distinct only as the decade wore on. Recapturing what ordinary Americans...

Hollywood and the Culture Elite: How the Movies Became American

by Peter Decherney Columbia University Press (April 06, 2005)

As Americans flocked to the movies during the first part of the twentieth century, the guardians of culture grew worried about their diminishing influence on American art, education, and American identity itself....

Sound Technology and the American Cinema: Perception, Representation, Modernity

by James Lastra Columbia University Press (July 18, 2000)

Representational technologies including photography, phonography, and the cinema have helped define modernity itself. Since the nineteenth century, these technologies have challenged our trust of sensory perception,...

Special Effects: Still in Search of Wonder

by Michele Pierson Columbia University Press (May 23, 2002)

Designed to trick the eye and stimulate the imagination, special effects have changed the way we look at films and the worlds created in them. Computer-generated imagery (CGI), as seen in Hollywood blockbusters...

Taiwan Film Directors: A Treasure Island

by Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh & Darrell William Davis Columbia University Press (July 06, 2005)

Focusing on the work of four contemporary filmmakers—Ang Lee, Edward Yang, Hou Hsiao-hsien, and Tsai Ming-liang—the authors explore how these filmmakers broke from tradition, creating a cinema that is both...

Sentimental Fabulations, Contemporary Chinese Films: Attachment in the Age of Global Visibility

by Rey Chow Columbia University Press (March 27, 2007)

What is the sentimental? How can we understand it by way of the visual and narrative modes of signification specific to cinema and through the manners of social interaction and collective imagining specific...

Shivers Down Your Spine: Cinema, Museums, and the Immersive View

by Alison Griffiths Columbia University Press (August 08, 2008)

From the architectural spectacle of the medieval cathedral and the romantic sublime of the nineteenth-century panorama to the techno-fetishism of today's London Science Museum, humans have gained a deeper understanding...

Hollywood's Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet

by Peter Decherney Columbia University Press (April 10, 2012)

Copyright law is important to every stage of media production and reception. It helps determine filmmakers’ artistic decisions, Hollywood’s corporate structure, and the vatieties of media consumption. The...

Hearst Over Hollywood: Power, Passion, and Propaganda in the Movies

by Louis Pizzitola Columbia University Press (January 09, 2002)

Hollywood—crossroads of filmmaking, mythmaking, and politics—was dominated by one man more than any other for most of its history. It was William Randolph Hearst who understood how to use cinema to exploit...

Essays on the Essay Film

by Nora M. Alter & Timothy Corrigan Columbia University Press (March 14, 2017)

The essay—with its emphasis on the provisional and explorative rather than on definitive statements—has evolved from its literary beginnings and is now found in all mediums, including film. Today, the essay...

The Essay Film After Fact and Fiction

by Nora M. Alter Columbia University Press (January 02, 2018)

Nora M. Alter argues that the essay film is a hybrid genre that fuses three major categories of film: feature, art, and documentary. Much like the written essay, its literary predecessor, the essay film draws...

Cinema by Design

by Lucy Fischer Columbia University Press (March 14, 2017)

Art Nouveau thrived from the late 1890s through the First World War. The international design movement reveled in curvilinear forms and both playful and macabre visions and had a deep impact on cinematic art...

After Uniqueness

by Erika Balsom Columbia University Press (March 14, 2017)

Images have never been as freely circulated as they are today. They have also never been so tightly controlled. As with the birth of photography, digital reproduction has created new possibilities for the duplication...

Carceral Fantasies

by Alison Griffiths Columbia University Press (July 26, 2016)

A groundbreaking contribution to the study of non-theatrical film exhibition, Carceral Fantasies tells the little-known story of how cinema found a home in the U.S. penitentiary system and how the prison emerged...


by Paula Amad Columbia University Press (August 06, 2010)

From 1908 to 1931, French banker Albert Kahn financed a monumental multimedia archive intended to record the "surface of the globe as inhabited and developed by Man." Stored in a world-themed garden on the outskirts...


by Rosalind Galt Columbia University Press (May 31, 2011)

Film culture often rejects visually rich images, valuing simplicity, austerity, or even ugliness as more provocative, political, and truly cinematic. Although cinema challenges traditional ideas of art, this...


by Michael Z. Newman Columbia University Press (April 04, 2011)

From Stranger than Paradise (1984) to Synecdoche, New York (2008), America's independent films often seem to defy classification. Their strategies of storytelling and representation vary widely, and they range...

China on Screen: Cinema and Nation

by Christopher J. Berry & Mary Ann Farquhar Columbia University Press (April 04, 2006)

In China on Screen, Chris Berry and Mary Farquhar, leaders in the field of Chinese film studies, explore more than one hundred years of Chinese cinema and nation. Providing new perspectives on key movements,...

Hideous Progeny: Disability, Eugenics, and Classic Horror Cinema

by Angela Smith Columbia University Press (December 20, 2011)

Twisted bodies, deformed faces, aberrant behavior, and abnormal desires characterized the hideous creatures of classic Hollywood horror, which thrilled audiences with their sheer grotesqueness. Most critics...

American Showman: Samuel "Roxy" Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry, 1908-1935

by Ross Melnick Columbia University Press (May 01, 2012)

Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel (1882–1936) built an influential and prolific career as film exhibitor, stage producer, radio broadcaster, musical arranger, theater manager, war propagandist, and international celebrity....

Film Studies: An Introduction

by Ed Sikov Columbia University Press (December 01, 2009)

Ed Sikov builds a step-by-step curriculum for the appreciation of all types of narrative cinema, detailing the essential elements of film form and systematically training the spectator to be an active reader...

Words on Screen

by Michel Chion & Claudia Gorbman Columbia University Press (March 07, 2017)

Michel Chion is well known in contemporary film studies for his innovative investigations into aspects of cinema that scholars have traditionally overlooked. Following his work on sound in film in Audio-Vision...

When Movies Were Theater: Architecture, Exhibition, and the Evolution of American Film

by William Paul Columbia University Press (April 19, 2016)

There was a time when seeing a movie meant more than seeing a film. The theater itself helped shape the perception of events onscreen. This multilayered history tells the story of American film through the evolution...

Shocking Representation: Historical Trauma, National Cinema, and the Modern Horror Film

by Adam Lowenstein Columbia University Press (November 09, 2005)

In this imaginative new work, Adam Lowenstein explores the ways in which a group of groundbreaking horror films engaged the haunting social conflicts left in the wake of World War II, Hiroshima, and the Vietnam...

Weimar Cinema: An Essential Guide to Classic Films of the Era

by Noah Isenberg Columbia University Press (December 31, 2008)

Taken as a whole, the sixteen remarkable films discussed in this provocative new volume of essays represent the brilliant creativity that flourished in the name of German cinema between the wars. Encompassing...

Hollywood Lighting from the Silent Era to Film Noi

by Patrick Keating Columbia University Press (November 01, 2009)

Lighting performs essential functions in Hollywood films, enhancing the glamour, clarifying the action, and intensifying the mood. Examining every facet of this understated art form, from the glowing backlights...

Exception Taken: How France Has Defied Hollywood's New World Order

by Jonathan Buchsbaum Columbia University Press (December 13, 2016)

In Exception Taken, Jonathan Buchsbaum examines the movements that have emerged in opposition to the homogenizing force of Hollywood in global filmmaking. While European cinema was entering a steady decline...

Reform Cinema in Iran: Film and Political Change in the Islamic Republic

by Blake Atwood Columbia University Press (November 01, 2016)

It is nearly impossible to separate contemporary Iranian cinema from the Islamic revolution that transformed film production in the country in the late 1970s. As the aims of the revolution shifted and hardened...

African Film and Literature: Adapting Violence to the Screen

by Lindiwe Dovey Columbia University Press (May 01, 2009)

Analyzing a range of South African and West African films inspired by African and non-African literature, Lindiwe Dovey identifies a specific trend in contemporary African filmmaking-one in which filmmakers...

The Shape of Spectatorship: Art, Science, and Early Cinema in Germany

by Scott Curtis Columbia University Press (September 22, 2015)

In this exceptionally wide-ranging study, Scott Curtis draws our eye to the role of scientific, medical, educational, and aesthetic observation in shaping modern conceptions of spectatorship. Focusing on the...

Studios Before the System: Architecture, Technology, and the Emergence of Cinematic Space

by Brian R. Jacobson Columbia University Press (September 01, 2015)

By 1915, Hollywood had become the epicenter of American filmmaking, with studio “dream factories” structuring its vast production. Filmmakers designed Hollywood studios with a distinct artistic and industrial...

The Use and Abuse of Cinema: German Legacies from the Weimar Era to the Present

by Eric Rentschler Columbia University Press (April 21, 2015)

Eric Rentschler explores the screen fantasies and spectacles that derive from Germany’s fraught modern experience and follows the traces of these sights and sounds to the postmillenial present. Each chapters...

The End of Cinema?: A Medium in Crisis in the Digital Age

by André Gaudreault, Philippe Marion & Timothy Barnard Columbia University Press (April 14, 2015)

Is a film watched on a video screen still cinema? Have digital compositing, motion capture, and other advanced technologies remade or obliterated the craft? Rooted in their hypothesis of the “double birth of...

Motion(less) Pictures: The Cinema of Stasis

by Justin Remes Columbia University Press (February 24, 2015)

Conducting the first comprehensive study of films that do not move, Justin Remes challenges the primacy of motion in cinema and tests the theoretical limits of film aesthetics and representation. Reading experimental...

The Lumière Galaxy: Seven Key Words for the Cinema to Come

by Francesco Casetti Columbia University Press (March 03, 2015)

Francesco Casetti believes new media technologies are producing an exciting new era in cinema aesthetics. Whether we experience film in the theater, on our hand-held devices, in galleries and museums, onboard...

Plastic Reality: Special Effects, Technology, and the Emergence of 1970s Blockbuster Aesthetics

by Julie A. Turnock Columbia University Press (August 01, 2014)

Julie A. Turnock tracks the use and evolution of special effects in 1970s filmmaking, a development as revolutionary to film as the form’s transition to sound in the 1920s. Beginning with the classical studio...

Dreaming of Cinema: Spectatorship, Surrealism, and the Age of Digital Media

by Adam Lowenstein Columbia University Press (November 11, 2014)

Adam Lowenstein argues that Surrealism's encounter with film can help redefine the meaning of cinematic spectatorship in an era of popular digital entertainment. Video games, YouTube channels, Blu-ray discs,...