Decoding the Movies
Hollywood in the 1930s
This book “decodes” 1930s Hollywood movies and explains why they looked and behaved in the way they did. Organized through a series of related case studies, the book exposes Classical Hollywood movies to a detailed analysis of their historical, industrial and cultural contexts. In the process it utilizes industry data, aesthetic analysis and the insights of New Cinema History to explain why and how these movies assumed their familiar forms.
The book represents the summation of Richard Maltby’s four decades of scholarship in the field of Hollywood cinema. The essays presented here share an assumption that has increasingly informed the author’s critical method over the years: that any historical understanding of the films of this period requires a deep contextualization in the social circumstances surrounding both their production and consumption. In this way, the book introduces an innovative, overarching research methodology that synthesizes branches of research that are typically employed in isolation, including production, distribution, reception, film aesthetics, and cultural and historical context.
Of the book’s nine chapters, three are presented here for the first time, and four have been substantially revised and extended from their original publication.
Maltby’s work is key to getting students and other scholars to understand the imperatives of ‘New Cinema History’ research methods.- Kathryn Fuller-Seeley, University of Texas at Austin
Maltby has pioneered and defined exciting new paradigms for understanding the workings of Hollywood, and its films’ social and political significance. This collection combines his trademark qualities of meticulous research, acute analysis and a lively prose style.- Matthew Bernstein, Emory College of Arts and Sciences
Richard Maltby is Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Screen Studies at Flinders University, South Australia. He moved to Flinders from the UK, where he established the Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture at the University of Exeter, before becoming Research Professor in Film Studies at Sheffield Hallam University.
His publications include Explorations in New Cinema History: Approaches and Case Studies (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) and Cinema, Audiences and Modernity: New Perspectives on European Cinema History (Routledge, 2011), Hollywood Cinema (Wiley-Blackwell), Dreams for Sale: Popular Culture in the Twentieth Century (Harrap). ‘Film Europe’ and ‘Film America’: Cinema, Commerce and Cultural Exchange, 1925-1939, co-edited with Andrew Higson (UEP 1999), was winner of the prestigious Prix Jean Mitry for cinema history in 2000.
He is a Series Editor of Exeter Studies in Film History.
Exeter Studies in Film History
- 'Film Europe' And 'Film America' - Cinema, Commerce and Cultural Exchange 1920-1939
- Alternative Empires - European Modernist Cinemas and Cultures of Imperialism
- Alternative Film Culture in Interwar Britain
- The Appreciation of Film - The Postwar Film Society Movement and Film Culture in Britain
- The Big Show - British Cinema Culture in the Great War (1914-1918)
- British Cinema and Middlebrow Culture in the Interwar Years
- Cecil Hepworth and the Rise of the British Film Industry 1899-1911
- Celluloid War Memorials - The British Instructional Films Company and the Memory of the Great War
- Charles Urban - Pioneering the Non-Fiction Film in Britain and America, 1897 - 1925
- A Chorus Of Raspberries - British Film Comedy 1929-1939
- Decoding the Movies - Hollywood in the 1930s
- Going to the Movies - Hollywood and the Social Experience of Cinema
- The Great Art Of Light And Shadow - Archaeology of the Cinema
- Hollywood, Westerns And The 1930S - The Lost Trail
- Legitimate Cinema - Theatre Stars in Silent British Films, 1908-1918
- The Lost Jungle - Cliffhanger Action and Hollywood Serials of the 1930s and 1940s
- Marketing Modernity - Victorian Popular Shows and Early Cinema
- Multimedia Histories - From Magic Lanterns to Internet
- Parallel Tracks - The Railroad and Silent Cinema
- A Paul Rotha Reader
- Popular Filmgoing in 1930s Britain - A Choice of Pleasures
- Reading the Cinematograph - The Cinema in British Short Fiction, 1896-1912
- Silent Features - The Development of Silent Feature Films 1914 - 1934
- The World According To Hollywood,1918-1939
- Young And Innocent? - The Cinema in Britain, 1896-1930