Popular Cinema as Political Theory: Idealism and Realism in by John S. Nelson (auth.)

By John S. Nelson (auth.)

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Warrior heroes do not disappear from epics; instead they become more civilized. They become reluctant leaders who are uncomfortable with normal politics but who can come to the fore in revolutionary times. This is because they enact great honor, strength, and vision—yet also personal reserve—along with their superlative prowess in combat and strategy. These men (mostly, since their republican-rhetorical tradition has been deeply masculinist) show a striking “objectivity” about themselves. ” Adapted from warrior politics, this epic objectivity of the hero is more psychological than methodological.

6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. Full epics Mervyn LeRoy Cecil B. DeMille William Wyler Stanley Kubrick Anthony Mann Nicholas Ray John Ford David Lean Ken Annakin andAndrew Marton Fox Joseph L. Mankiewicz Anthony Mann David Lean George Stevens John Huston Joshua Logan Stanley Kubrick Arthur Penn Francis Ford Coppola Francis Ford Coppola John Guillerman D. W. Griffith Victor Fleming Their directors 23 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40.

Moreover the politics characteristically are earthshaking or world-making in importance. 8 Likewise epic continues to concern the qualities, heroes, and ideals that define particular communities. And perhaps less clearly, but no less significantly, epic features politics of liberation—or at least resistance—most often in reaction against specifically imperial powers, whether at home or abroad. These are the main claims about epic politics advanced in these pages. Generic Politics Before we explore epic politics and their implications further, though, we do well to clarify further what it can mean to analyze the politics of a popular genre.

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