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Title: Real men? : struggling for authenticity in the new Hollywood cinema c. 1967-1978
Author: Brown, C.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2011
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Representations of masculinity in the ‘new’ Hollywood (1967-1978) were defined by an impulse to authenticity, one articulated in terms of struggle. Filmmakers were preoccupied with the process of men attempting to break free from the popular fictions disseminated by the mass media. Seventies protagonists are usefully conceived as physical matter, specifically, as waste. But if the men are rejected by the mainstream, then the banal, automatist nature of their ‘performances’ points to inherent vice – to the paradox whereby their capacity for decay marks the men as products of the system from which they are ostensibly excluded. The transition from the ‘old’ to the ‘new’ Hollywood is investigated with reference to The Swimmer (Frank Perry, 1968). The uncertainty as to whether its protagonist is intended to be viewed as camp suggests the limitations of arguments for subversion which reify past traditions. The chapter on Alice’s Restaurant (Arthur Penn, 1969), examines the ways in which Hollywood strove for a greater objectivity in its depiction of men, as it pondered countercultural and national failures. Two-Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman, 1971) dramatises the seventies struggle for authenticity. If it seeks truth in the improvisatory confusion of Warren Oates’ charismatic loser, then the car freak played by James Taylor is conceived in terms of assembly-line automatism, enhanced by the star’s emptied-out, minimalist performance style. The fourth chapter investigates what happens to questions of authenticity when the protagonist is not heterosexual. When examining the homosexual protagonists of Dog Day Afternoon (Sidney Lumet, 1975), and the ‘Andy Warhol’ films, authenticity must be sought, perhaps surprisingly, in the arena of the freak and the televisual. The final chapter traces the decline of the conception of masculinity under consideration. The trucker movie Convoy (Sam Pekinpah, 1978), is emblematic of the ways in which Hollywood authentication changed in the late 1970s.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available