It was the mid-1960s, and Westerns, war movies, and blockbuster musicals, such as Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, dominated the box office. The Hollywood studio system, with its cartels of talent and its production code, was hanging strong, or so it seemed.
But by the time the Oscar ceremonies rolled around in the spring of 1968, when In the Heat of the Night won the 1967 Academy Award for Best Picture, a cultural revolution had hit Hollywood with the force of a tsunami. The unprecedented violence and nihilism of fellow nominee Bonnie and Clyde shocked old-guard reviewers and made the movie one of the year's biggest box-office successes. Just as unprecedented was the run of The Graduate, which launched first-time director Mike Nichols into a long and brilliant career and inspired a generation of young people who knew that, whatever their future was, it wasn't in plastics.
What City of Nets did for Hollywood in the 1940s, and Easy Rider and Raging Bull did for the 1970s, Pictures at a Revolution does for Hollywood and the cultural revolution of the 1960s. As we follow the progress of five movies, we see an entire industry change and struggle and collapse and grow - and we see careers made and ruined, studios born and destroyed, and the landscape of possibility altered beyond all recognition.
©2008 Mark Harris; (P)2008 Tantor
"Thorough and engaging....Fascinating." (Publishers Weekly)
"Fresh and candid....A particularly accomplished debut book." (The New York Times)
This very well-researched and thorough account of how the five films nominated for Best Picture in 1968 came into being is everything you'd want in an audio book. It not only gives you a clear account of the time period, but shows how the curtain was closing on the studio-system-relics and opening for a new breed of younger, hipper filmmakers. It really is a watershed moment, and the author proves his thesis wonderfully. It's the perfect audio book because although I may have tired reading it in book form, it was a great companion on my long commute into work, and I was a little bummed when it ended. I learned a lot and gained even further insight into William Goldman's statement that in Hollywood, "Nobody knows anything." You're surprised anything of merit ever comes through the system, but this book shows some prime examples.
Life long fan of the mystery story. I like books where something actually happens, so history and biography are favorites of mine also. I also think that even good books are improved tremendously when an actor performs the narration.
Everyone is right, the narrator mispronounced at lot of names/words -- and the editors should have had it corrected. Now lets move on!! It's a wonderful history of the 1960's condensed into a narrative about the Academy Awards. The tone set by the narrator is perfect. The narrator reads well and is clear (that's how we can tell that he mispronounced so many words!!). History brought into terms that ordinary people can relate to and understand is rare and this rarity is a true gem.
The only thing better than this awesome book is Harris' latest, "Five Came Back." Can't wait for his next. Harris is no doubt one of the finest writers covering the movie business.
This is a carefully considered and thoroughly engaging examination of the five movies nominated for Best Picture in 1968. Anyone interested in the machinations of putting together a film at this particularly exciting juncture of movie history will be very entertained.But...Mr. James' narration, while solid and fluid, is marred by many mispronunciations of names. I just don't understand how one can get through a book like this with nobody advising the reader that it's not Frank Lowser, it's Frank Loesser (pronounced Lesser); it's not Sidney Luhmet, it's Sidney Lumet (pronounced Loo-met); It's not Amy Archerd, it's Army Archerd (somebody did fix this when James got around to the name the second time.)And there were others.So...bottom line...if you can get past this glaring inconsistency, this is a damn good listen.
At or near the top.
You could call it a prequel to Easy Riders Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind although Harris doesn't seek out the salacious nor the snark and yet it's every bit as entertaining.
There is nothing not to like. He seems a master in this medium.
The Movie behind the Movies is even better.
I hope Mark Harris spends the rest of his life telling me about the people who makes the movies.
long time listener
It was jarring but I got used to it. fascinating history of a time when everything changed but not everyone realized it was happening. I do like oral histories, this is the first one I've experienced as an audiobook. Mike Nichols comes across as a talented asshole. So so much film gossip. So so much history.
Mark Harris for President. Also read "Five Came Back" by him.
The audiobook performer should've been coached on the pronouncing ion of some of the very well known artists. I was embarrassed for him.
Great book, look back at history of movies and an era the changed what we watch, who we watch, and why we watch movies
Avid reader of classics and fiction, history and well-written genre novels. Music lover and huge audiobook fan.
For those who enjoy the history of the film this is a very rewarding book about the changes in our culture as they were reflected in five films of the late sixties, a period of extreme social and cultural turmoil. Although there are many complaints about some of the narrator's pronunciation, I didn't find those problems insurmountable to my enjoyment.
I found this very well written, well researched, interesting and compelling. BRAVO !
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