The modern impulse gave us captivating technology and dark anxiety, rampant mobility and a world filled with strangers, the futuristic city and a fragmentation of experience. Motion pictures––the quintessence of modernism––entered into this cultural, technical, and philosophical richness with a vast public appeal and a jarring new vision of what life could be.
In Cinema and Modernity, Murray Pomerance brings together new essays by seventeen leading scholars to explore the complexity of the essential connection between film and modernity. Among the many films considered are Detour, Shock Corridor, The Last Laugh, Experiment in Terror, The Great Dictator, Leave Her to Heaven, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Eyes Wide Shut, Sunrise, The Crowd, The Shape of Things to Come, The War of the Worlds, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Scarlet Street, Shadow of a Doubt, Stella Dallas, The Blue Angel, Sullivan’s Travels, and Catch Me If You Can.
Dark utopia. "The shock of the new" : electrification, illumination, urbanization, and the cinema / Lucy Fischer The endless embrace of hell : hopelessness and betrayal in film noir / Wheeler Winston Dixon Mass murder, modernity, and the alienated gaze / Steven Alan Carr Modernity and the crisis in truth : Alfred Hitchcock and Fritz Lang / Walter Metz Capital advances. Performing modernity and gender in the 1930s / Gwendolyn Audrey Foster The capital shape of science fiction heroes to come / Rebecca Bell-Metereau False criticism : cinema, bourgeois society, and the conservative complaint / Christopher Sharrett Strange personality. Miles Davis and the soundtrack of modernity / Krin Gabbard Experiment in terror : dystopian modernism, the police procedural, and the space of anxiety / William Luhr and Peter Lehman Fuller, Foucault, and forgetting : the eye of power in Shock corridor / David Sterritt Nothing sacred : modernity and performance in Catch me if you can / Murray Pomerance On the move. Legacies of Weimar cinema / Patrice Petro Getting lost on the waterways of L'Atalante / Tom Conley Fast talk : Preston Sturges and the speed of language / Joe McElhaney Modern thoughts. Modernity and cinema : a culture of shocks and flows / Tom Gunning Film, modernity, Cavell / William Rothman
MURRAY POMERANCE is a professor and chair in the sociology department at Ryerson University in Toronto. He is the coeditor of the Screen Decades series and the author of numerous books, including Johnny Depp Starts Here and An Eye for Hitchcock.
I can think of no topic more central to Film Studies than 'Cinema and Modernity.' Facet after facet of both terms gleam when rotated in the intermittent light of this fascinating anthology.
~Dudley Andrew, Professor of Film Studies and Comparative Literature, Yale University
This book amply confirms cinema's continuing vitality in the modern world. Pomerance and his authors impressively situate cinematic modernity in technology, cartography, and linguistic practice; in architectures of power, narratives of resistance, and instabilities of knowledge. I can't imagine a film scholar who would not find something of value in this rich anthology.
~Scott Bukatman, author of Matters of Gravity: Special Effects and Supermen in the 20th Century