An Empire of Their Own

How the Jews Invented Hollywood

Author: Neal Gabler

Publisher: Anchor

ISBN: 9780307773715

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 512

View: 8130

A provocative, original, and richly entertaining group biography of the Jewish immigrants who were the moving forces behind the creation of America's motion picture industry. The names Harry Cohn, William Fox, Carl Laemmle, Louis B. Mayer, Jack and Harry Warner, and Adolph Zucker are giants in the history of contemporary Hollywood, outsiders who dared to invent their own vision of the American Dream. Even to this day, the American values defined largely by the movies of these émigrés endure in American cinema and culture. Who these men were, how they came to dominate Hollywood, and what they gained and lost in the process is the exhilarating story of An Empire of Their Own.

An Empire of Their Own

How the Jews Invented Hollywood

Author: Neal Gabler

Publisher: Anchor Books

ISBN: 0385265573

Category: Music

Page: 502

View: 7356

Profiles the early Hollywood studio moguls, examining how the movies of Fox, Mayer, and the Warners, among others, came to shape American values, myths, and traditions

Life: The Movie

How Entertainment Conquered Reality

Author: Neal Gabler

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307773256

Category: Social Science

Page: 320

View: 9608

The story of how our bottomless appetite for novelty, gossip, and melodrama has turned everything—news, politics, religion, high culture—into one vast public entertainment. Neal Gabler calls them "lifies," those blockbusters written in the medium of life that dominate the media and the national conversation for weeks, months, even years: the death of Princess Diana, the trial of O.J. Simpson, Kenneth Starr vs. William Jefferson Clinton. Real Life as Entertainment is hardly a new phenomenon, but the movies, and now the new information technologies, have so accelerated it that it is now the reigning popular art form. How this came to pass, and just what it means for our culture and our personal lives, is the subject of this witty, concerned, and sometimes eye-opening book. "A thoughtful, in places chilling, account of the way entertainment values have hollowed out American life." --The New York Times Book Review

Hollywood's Chosen People

The Jewish Experience in American Cinema

Author: Daniel Bernardi

Publisher: Wayne State University Press

ISBN: 9780814338070

Category: Art

Page: 224

View: 9927

As studio bosses, directors, and actors, Jews have been heavily involved in film history and vitally involved in all aspects of film production. Yet Jewish characters have been represented onscreen in stereotypical and disturbing ways, while Jews have also helped to produce some of the most troubling stereotypes of people of color in Hollywood film history. In Hollywood's Chosen People: The Jewish Experience in American Cinema, leading scholars consider the complex relationship between Jews and the film industry, as Jews have helped to construct Hollywood's vision of the American dream and American collective identity and have in turn been shaped by those representations. Editors Daniel Bernardi, Murray Pomerance, and Hava Tirosh-Samuelson introduce the volume with an overview of the history of Jews in American popular culture and the American film industry. Multidisciplinary contributors go on to discuss topics such as early Jewish films and directors, institutionalized anti-Semitism, Jewish identity and gossip culture, and issues of Jewish performance on film. Contributors draw on a diverse sampling of films, from representations of the Holocaust on film to screen comedy; filmmakers and writers, including David Mamet, George Cukor, Sidney Lumet, Edward Sloman, and Steven Spielberg; and stars, like Barbra Streisand, Adam Sandler, and Ben Stiller. The Jewish experience in American cinema reveals much about the degree to which Jews have been integrated into and contribute to the making of American popular film culture. Scholars of Jewish studies, film studies, American history, and American culture as well as anyone interested in film history will find this volume fascinating reading.

Members of the Tribe

Author: Ze'ev Chafets

Publisher: Bantam

ISBN: 0307799204

Category: Social Science

Page: 259

View: 8008

An irreverent and startling portrait of Jewish America After two decades in Israel, Ze’ev Chafets returned to his native land to embark upon an extraordinary odyssey: a six-month, thirty-state search for America’s Jews. From side streets to mean streets, from the small-town serenity of the country to the hustle and bustle of the big city, he discovered Jews in some expected and unexpected places to create this portrait of American Judaism and Jewish life in America today. Meet the “members of the tribe” as Chafets—never the passive observer—barnstorms through the deep South, where he encounters the last Cajun Jews in the bayou, and travels to Mississippi to discover a congregation of good old boychiks. He joins a Midwestern “Jewhunt” led by a political organizer from AIPAC (the Israeli lobby), and in a maximum security synagogue in Pennsylvania he worships with a congregation of convicts whose shammes is doing time for armed robbery. At every stop Chafets comes across fascinating and memorable characters: a Buddhist named Wasserman who claims to have Jewish sports karma; America’s only native-born wonder-working rabbi; a Gross Pointed matron who wears a Jewish star to ward off anti-Semites. Chafets goes to the boardrooms of big-time Judaism in New York and Los Angeles, to back rooms in the Lone Star State where he spins yarns with some Texas Jewboys, to Cisco’s Restaurant in Austin, Texas, where he talks with Kinky Friedman, America’s best-known Jewish country and western singer. From a weekend in the Catskills with nearly two thousand Jewish singles to a meeting with the geriatric Jewish jocks of Century Village in Florida, Chafets takes a close look at how contemporary Jews really live. Whether he is describing the plight of a gay congregation in San Francisco in the throes of a deadly epidemic, or the poignancy of services at a storefront synagogue of black Jews whose cantor sings Hebrew prayers with gospel melodies, Members of the Tribe evokes the fears and hopes, concerns and aspirations of American Jews. Engaging, moving and insightful, this remarkable chronicle is a compelling look beyond stereotypes at people who, for reasons they don’t always understand, continue to be members of the tribe.

American Jewish Filmmakers

Author: David Desser,Lester D. Friedman

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

ISBN: 9780252071539

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 345

View: 7246

Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Sidney Lumet, and Paul Mazursky, all sons of East European Jews, remain among the most prominent contemporary American film directors. In this revised, updated second edition of American Jewish Filmmakers, David Desser and Lester D. Friedman demonstrate how the Jewish experience gives rise to an intimately linked series of issues in the films of these and other significant Jewish directors. This edition concludes with a newly written discussion of the careers of other prominent Jewish filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, Barry Levinson, Brian Singer, and Darren Aronofsky.

Acting Jewish

Negotiating Ethnicity on the American Stage & Screen

Author: Henry Bial

Publisher: University of Michigan Press

ISBN: 9780472069088

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 195

View: 1459

The history of the American entertainment industry and the history of the Jewish people in the United States are inextricably intertwined. Jews have provided Broadway and Hollywood with some of their most enduring talent, from writers like Arthur Miller, Wendy Wasserstein, and Tony Kushner; to directors like Jerome Robbins and Woody Allen; to performers like Gertrude Berg, John Garfield, Lenny Bruce, and Barbra Streisand. Conversely, show business has provided Jews with a means of upward mobility, a model for how to "become American," and a source of cultural pride. Acting Jewish documents this history, looking at the work of Jewish writers, directors, and actors in the American entertainment industry with particular attention to the ways in which these artists offer behavioral models for Jewish-American audiences. The book spans the period from 1947 to the present and takes a close look at some of America's favorite plays (Death of a Salesman, Fiddler on the Roof, Angels in America), films (Gentleman's Agreement, Annie Hall), and television shows (The Goldbergs, Seinfeld), identifying a double-coding by which performers enact, and spectators read, Jewishness in contemporary performance-and, by extension, enact and read other minority identities. The book thus explores and illuminates the ever-changing relationship between Jews and mainstream American culture. "Fascinating and original . . . Bial's command of sources is impressive, and his concept of 'double-coding' is convincing . . . the book should have no trouble finding a large audience." -Barbara Grossman, author of Funny Woman: The Life and Times of Fanny Brice Henry Bial is Assistant Professor of Theatre and Film, University of Kansas. He is editor of the Performance Studies Reader and co-editor of the Brecht Sourcebook.

Barbra Streisand

Redefining Beauty, Femininity, and Power

Author: Neal Gabler

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300210914

Category: Motion picture actors and actresses

Page: 284

View: 8788

Examines Streisand's life and career through the prism of otherness - a Jew in a gentile world, a self-proclaimed homely girl in a world of glamour, a kooky girl in a world of convention - and shows how central it was to Streisand's triumph as one of the voices of her age

Warner Bros

The Making of an American Movie Studio

Author: David Thomson

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300231334

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 232

View: 3632

Behind the scenes at the legendary Warner Brothers film studio, where four immigrant brothers transformed themselves into the moguls and masters of American fantasy Warner Bros charts the rise of an unpromising film studio from its shaky beginnings in the early twentieth century through its ascent to the pinnacle of Hollywood influence and popularity. The Warner Brothers—Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack—arrived in America as unschooled Jewish immigrants, yet they founded a studio that became the smartest, toughest, and most radical in all of Hollywood. David Thomson provides fascinating and original interpretations of Warner Brothers pictures from the pioneering talkie The Jazz Singer through black-and-white musicals, gangster movies, and such dramatic romances as Casablanca, East of Eden, and Bonnie and Clyde. He recounts the storied exploits of the studio’s larger-than-life stars, among them Al Jolson, James Cagney, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, Doris Day, and Bugs Bunny. The Warner brothers’ cultural impact was so profound, Thomson writes, that their studio became “one of the enterprises that helped us see there might be an American dream out there.”

The Genius of the System

Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era

Author: Thomas Schatz

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

ISBN: 1627796452

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 528

View: 1310

At a time when the studio is making a stunning comeback, film historian Thomas Schatz provides an indispensable account of Hollywood's tradional blend of business and art. This book lays to rest the persistent myth that businesspeople and producers stifle artistic talent and reveals instead the genius of a system of collaboration and conflict. Working from industry documents, Schatz traces the development of house styles, the rise and fall of careers, and the making-and unmaking-of movies, from Frankenstein to Spellbound to Grand Hotel. Richly illustrated and highly readable, The Genius of the System gives the definitive view of the workings of the Old Hollywood and the foundations of the New.

Winchell

Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity

Author: Neal Gabler

Publisher: Vintage Books

ISBN: 0679764399

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 681

View: 2551

Discusses the life of one of America's most powerful journalists, focusing on his creation of a culture of celebrity and his use of gossip as a source of power

Hollywood be Thy Name

The Warner Brothers Story

Author: Cass Warner Sperling,Cork Millner,Jack Warner

Publisher: University Press of Kentucky

ISBN: 9780813109589

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 365

View: 7301

This text charts the real story of the Warner brothers and contains all the drama of a big screen production. The book tells of tension and strife among four brothers, love and marriage, death and divorce, and plotting and betrayal.

Lion of Hollywood

The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer

Author: Scott Eyman

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9781439107911

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 608

View: 7833

Lion of Hollywood is the definitive biography of Louis B. Mayer, the chief of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer—MGM—the biggest and most successful film studio of Hollywood’s Golden Age. An immigrant from tsarist Russia, Mayer began in the film business as an exhibitor but soon migrated to where the action and the power were—Hollywood. Through sheer force of energy and foresight, he turned his own modest studio into MGM, where he became the most powerful man in Hollywood, bending the film business to his will. He made great films, including the fabulous MGM musicals, and he made great stars: Garbo, Gable, Garland, and dozens of others. Through the enormously successful Andy Hardy series, Mayer purveyed family values to America. At the same time, he used his influence to place a federal judge on the bench, pay off local officials, cover up his stars’ indiscretions and, on occasion, arrange marriages for gay stars. Mayer rose from his impoverished childhood to become at one time the highest-paid executive in America. Despite his power and money, Mayer suffered some significant losses. He had two daughters: Irene, who married David O. Selznick, and Edie, who married producer William Goetz. He would eventually fall out with Edie and divorce his wife, Margaret, ending his life alienated from most of his family. His chief assistant, Irving Thalberg, was his closest business partner, but they quarreled frequently, and Thalberg’s early death left Mayer without his most trusted associate. As Mayer grew older, his politics became increasingly reactionary, and he found himself politically isolated within Hollywood’s small conservative community. Lion of Hollywood is a three-dimensional biography of a figure often caricatured and vilified as the paragon of the studio system. Mayer could be arrogant and tyrannical, but under his leadership MGM made such unforgettable films as The Big Parade, Ninotchka, The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis, and An American in Paris. Film historian Scott Eyman interviewed more than 150 people and researched some previously unavailable archives to write this major new biography of a man who defined an industry and an era.

Walt Disney

The Triumph of the American Imagination

Author: Neal Gabler

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0679757473

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 851

View: 6143

A portrait of the private life and public career of Walt Disney ranges from his deprived youth, to his contributions to the art of animation, to his visionary creation of the first synergistic entertainment empire, to his reclusive and lonely private world.

The New Jew in Film

Exploring Jewishness and Judaism in Contemporary Cinema

Author: Nathan Abrams

Publisher: Rutgers University Press

ISBN: 0813553431

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 272

View: 4679

Jewish film characters have existed almost as long as the medium itself. But around 1990, films about Jews and their representation in cinema multiplied and took on new forms, marking a significant departure from the past. With a fresh generation of Jewish filmmakers, writers, and actors at work, contemporary cinemas have been depicting a multiplicity of new variants, including tough Jews; brutish Jews; gay and lesbian Jews; Jewish cowboys, skinheads, and superheroes; and even Jews in space. The New Jew in Film is grounded in the study of over three hundred films from Hollywood and beyond. Nathan Abrams explores these new and changing depictions of Jews, Jewishness, and Judaism, providing a wider, more representative picture of this transformation. In this compelling, surprising, and provocative book, chapters explore masculinity, femininity, passivity, agency, and religion in addition to a departure into new territory—including bathrooms and food. Abrams’s concern is to reveal how the representation of the Jew is used to convey confidence or anxieties about Jewish identity and history as well as questions of racial, sexual, and gender politics. In doing so, he provides a welcome overview of important Jewish films produced globally over the past twenty years.

From Shtetl to Stardom

Jews and Hollywood

Author: Michael Renov

Publisher: Purdue University Press

ISBN: 1557537631

Category: History

Page: 160

View: 8157

The influence of Jews in American entertainment from the early days of Hollywood to the present has proved an endlessly fascinating and controversial topic, for Jews and non-Jews alike. From Shtetl to Stardom: Jews and Hollywood takes an exciting and innovative approach to this rich and complex material. Exploring the subject from a scholarly perspective as well as up close and personal, the book combines historical and theoretical analysis by leading academics in the field with inside information from prominent entertainment professionals. Essays range from Vincent Brook's survey of the stubbornly persistent canard of Jewish industry "control" to Lawrence Baron and Joel Rosenberg's panel presentations on the recent brouhaha over Ben Urwand's book alleging collaboration between Hollywood and Hitler. Case studies by Howard Rodman and Joshua Louis Moss examine a key Coen brothers film, A Serious Man (Rodman), and Jill Soloway's groundbreaking television series, Transparent (Moss). Jeffrey Shandler and Shaina Hamermann train their respective lenses on popular satirical comedians of yesteryear (Allan Sherman) and those currently all the rage (Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, and Sarah Silverman). David Isaacs relates his years of agony and hilarity in the television comedy writers' room, and interviews include in-depth discussions by Ross Melnick with Laemmle Theatres owner Greg Laemmle (relative of Universal Studios founder Carl Laemmle) and by Michael Renov with Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner. In all, From Shtetl to Stardom offers a uniquely multifaceted, multimediated, and up-to-the-minute account of the remarkable role Jews have played in American movie and TV culture.

The Haunted Smile

The Story Of Jewish Comedians In America

Author: Lawrence J. Epstein

Publisher: PublicAffairs

ISBN: 0786724927

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 384

View: 6529

Lawrence Epstein's The Haunted Smile tackles a subject both poignant and delightful: the story of Jewish comedians in America. For the past century and more, American comedy has drawn its strength and soul from the comic genius of Jewish performers and writers. An incomplete listing of names makes the point: The Marx Brothers, Jack Benny, Fanny Brice, George Burns, Milton Berle, Jackie Mason, Joan Rivers, Rodney Dangerfield, Mel Brooks, Alan King, Mort Sahl, Buddy Hackett, Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, Andy Kaufman, Richard Belzer, Jerry Seinfeld. These men and women, among others, form the canon of Jewish-American comedy. In the words of the Detroit Jewish News, The Haunted Smile "offers us a deep and subtle understanding of how Jewish culture and American openness gave birth to a new style of entertainment." Often the best way to illuminate a point is to recount some of these comedians' own brilliant routines, and Epstein uses the comedian's work to great effect, making for a book that is both a thoughtful work of history and a great deal of fun.

King Cohn

The Life and Times of Hollywood Mogul Harry Cohn

Author: Bob Thomas

Publisher: New Millenium

ISBN: 9781893224070

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 376

View: 3534

In today's cutthroat world of multimillion-dollar movies, Cohn is a man of mythic proportions. In this revised show-biz classic, Thomas reinstates material omitted from the book's first publication for being too controversial--information that adds to the mystery of Cohn's compelling persona. 8-page photo insert.

From the Headlines to Hollywood

The Birth and Boom of Warner Bros.

Author: Chris Yogerst

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 144226246X

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 254

View: 2506

More than any other studio, Warner Bros. used edgy, stylistic, and brutally honest films to construct a view of America that was different from the usual buoyant Hollywood fare. The studio took seriously Harry Warner’s mandate that their films had a duty to educate and demonstrate key values of free speech, religious tolerance, and freedom of the press. This attitude was most aptly demonstrated in films produced by the studio between 1927 and 1941—a period that saw not only the arrival of sound in film but also the Great Depression, the rise of crime, and increased concern about fascism in the lead-up to World War II. In From the Headlines to Hollywood: The Birth and Boom of Warner Bros., Chris Yogerst explores how “the only studio with any guts” established the groundwork and perfected formulas for social romance dramas, along with gangster, war, espionage, and adventure films. In this book, the author discusses such films as ThePublic Enemy, Little Caesar, G-Men, The Life of Emile Zola, Angels with Dirty Faces, and Confessions of a Nazi Spy, illustrating the ways in which their plots truly were “ripped from the headlines.” While much of what has been written about Warner Bros. has focused on the plots of popular films or broad overviews of the studio’s output, this volume sets these in the larger context of the period, an era in which lighthearted fare competed with gritty realism. From the Headlines to Hollywood will appeal to readers with interests in film history, social history, politics, and entertainment.

Entertaining America

Jews, Movies, and Broadcasting

Author: J. Hoberman,Jeffrey Shandler

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691113029

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 334

View: 660

A captivating look at the relationship between Jews and the entertainment media. This colorfully written, lavishly illustrated book surveys how Jews have participated in American movies, radio, and television from the nickelodeon era to the present. Over 350 illustrations.