America First : Naming the Nation in US Film book cover
1st Edition

America First
Naming the Nation in US Film

Edited By

Mandy Merck

ISBN 9780415374965
Published April 27, 2007 by Routledge
328 Pages

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Book Description

At a time when the expanded projection of US political, military, economic and cultural power draws intensified global concern, understanding how that country understands itself seems more important than ever.

This collection of new critical essays tackles this old problem in a new way, by examining some of the hundreds of US films that announce themselves as titularly 'American'. From early travelogues to contemporary comedies, national nomination has been an abiding characteristic of American motion pictures, heading the work of Porter, Guy-Blaché, DeMille, Capra, Sternberg, Vidor, Minnelli and Mankiewicz. More recently, George Lucas, Paul Schrader, John Landis and Edward James Olmos have made their own contributions to Hollywood’s Americana.

What does this national branding signify? Which versions of Americanism are valorized, and which marginalized or excluded? Out of which social and historical contexts do they emerge, and for and by whom are they constructed?

Edited by Mandy Merck, the collection contains detailed analyses of such films as The Vanishing American, American Madness, An American in Paris, American Graffiti, American Gigolo, American Pie and many more.

Table of Contents

Introduction Mandy Merck  1. The Little American Kristen Whissel  2. The Vanishing American William R Handley  3. American Madness Eric Smoodin  4. An American Romance Rembert Hüser  5. An American in Paris Pam Cook  6. The Quiet American Peter William Evans  7. The Americanization of Emily Sharon Willis  8. American Graffiti Barry Langford  9. American Gigolo H. N. Lukes  10. An American Werewolf in London Diane Negra  11. American Me Ana María Dopico  12. American History X Paul Smith  13. American Pie Mandy Merck  14. American Splendor Esther Leslie

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Mandy Merck is Professor of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is the author of Perversions: Deviant Readings (1993), In Your Face: Nine Sexual Studies (2000) and Hollywood's American Tragedies (forthcoming 2007). She is editor of After Diana (1998) and co-editor of Coming Out of Feminism (1998) and The Art of Tracey Emin (2002).