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)
I remember seeing and being blown away by Bonnie & Clyde and The Graduate in college. I also liked In the Heat of the Night, so there is a lot of interesting information in this book, especially about Dustin Hoffman and Sidney Poitier. And it sheds a whole new and unflattering light on Rex Harrison. But I think the book is overlong. I'm a real movie buff and I was eager for it to end. In addition, the narrator mispronounces many of the important names, such as Sidney Lumet and Jeanne Moreau, which I found extremely annoying. All in all, only a so-so book.
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