An Empire of Their Own

How the Jews Invented Hollywood

Author: Neal Gabler

Publisher: Anchor

ISBN: 9780307773715

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 512

View: 8298

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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: 8871

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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: 3085

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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

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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.

Winchell

Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity

Author: Neal Gabler

Publisher: Vintage Books

ISBN: 0679764399

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 681

View: 9038

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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

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: 889

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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

The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Gangster in America

Author: Albert Fried

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 9780231096836

Category: History

Page: 351

View: 7831

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This book tracks the rise and fall of an underworld culture that bred some of America's greatest racketeers, bootleggers, gamblers, and professional killers, examining the careers of such high-profile figures as Meyer Lansky and Benjamin Bugsy Siegel.

Members of the Tribe

Author: Ze'ev Chafets

Publisher: Bantam

ISBN: 0307799204

Category: Social Science

Page: 259

View: 3795

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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.

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: 2249

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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.

American Jewish Filmmakers

Author: David Desser,Lester D. Friedman

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

ISBN: 9780252071539

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 345

View: 8988

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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.

Walt Disney

The Triumph of the American Imagination

Author: Neal Gabler

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0679757473

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 851

View: 4493

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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.

Warner Bros

The Making of an American Movie Studio

Author: David Thomson

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300231334

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 232

View: 8501

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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: 4900

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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.

Theaters of Occupation

Hollywood and the Reeducation of Postwar Germany

Author: Jennifer Fay

Publisher: U of Minnesota Press

ISBN: 0816647445

Category: Social Science

Page: 228

View: 9045

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In the aftermath of total war and unconditional surrender, Germans found themselves receiving instruction from their American occupiers. It was not a conventional education. In their effort to transform German national identity and convert a Nazi past into a democratic future, the Americans deployed what they perceived as the most powerful and convincing weapon-movies. In a rigorous analysis of the American occupation of postwar Germany and the military’s use of “soft power,” Jennifer Fay considers how Hollywood films, including Ninotchka, Gaslight, and Stagecoach, influenced German culture and cinema. In this cinematic pedagogy, dark fantasies of American democracy and its history were unwittingly played out on-screen. Theaters of Occupation reveals how Germans responded to these education efforts and offers new insights about American exceptionalism and virtual democracy at the dawn of the cold war. Fay’s innovative approach examines the culture of occupation not only as a phase in U.S.–German relations but as a distinct space with its own discrete cultural practices. As the American occupation of Germany has become a paradigm for more recent military operations, Fay argues that we must question its efficacy as a mechanism of cultural and political change. Jennifer Fay is associate professor and codirector of film studies in the Department of English at Michigan State University.

Moving Pictures

Memories of a Hollywood Prince

Author: Budd Schulberg

Publisher: Open Road Media

ISBN: 1453261761

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 508

View: 5252

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When your father helps make the careers of Cary Grant, Clara Bow, and Gary Cooper, you grow up with stories to tell . . . When Seymour Wilson “Budd” Schulberg moved from New York to Los Angeles as a child, Hollywood’s filmmaking industry was just getting started. To some, the region was still more famous for its citrus farms than its movie studios. In this iconic memoir, Schulberg, the son of one of Tinseltown’s most influential producers, recounts the rise of the studios, the machinations of the studio heads, and the lives of some of cinema’s earliest and greatest stars. Even as Hollywood grew to become one of the country’s most powerful cultural and economic engines, it retained the feel of a company town for decades. Schulberg’s sparkling recollections offer a unique insider view of both the glitter and dark side of the dream factory’s early years. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Budd Schulberg including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author’s estate.

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: 9136

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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.

From Shtetl to Stardom

Jews and Hollywood

Author: Michael Renov

Publisher: Purdue University Press

ISBN: 1557537631

Category: History

Page: 160

View: 4950

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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: 5512

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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.

There Was A Fire: Jews, Music and the American Dream

Author: Ben Sidran

Publisher: BookBaby

ISBN: 1450753655

Category: Music

Page: 753

View: 7497

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The first comprehensive examination of Jewish influence and participation in the American popular music business, covering composers, publishers, performers, executives, producers, technical innovations, etc., from the turn of the 19th century until the end of the 20th century, from Irving Berlin to the Beastie Boys and beyond. In the words of one writer, “Sidran is a warm, funny, and authoritative guide in this thrilling, adventurous social history of popular music...part textbook, part family history, the insightful section on Dylan alone is worth several times the price of the book. A must-read for all music-lovers.”