COMM 546 Lecture 9 - The American Auteur

COMM 546 Lecture 9 - The American Auteur - Dana Coen COMM...

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Dana Coen COMM 546 (History of American Screenwriting) Spring, 2009 Lecture #9 THE AMERICAN AUTEUR Recap : The blacklist is broken after Dalton Trumbo is revealed as a black- market screenwriter. As the Cold War heats up, movies reflect the fear of Soviet might and a possible nuclear holocaust. Stanley Kubrick and screenwriter Terry Southern add satire, irony and laughter to the mix with “Dr. Strangelove” .... ...which echoes the strategies of France’s Nouvelle Vague. Robert Benton and David Newman...influenced by the French...write “Bonnie and Clyde” .... ...which freely mixes humor and violence. Another studio film, “The Graduate,” mixes humor and sex. And a loosening of MPAA restrictions allows both films to reach out to young audiences .... ...who aren’t afraid to laugh at either. By the end of the decade the Production Code is replaced by a rating system .
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2 Meanwhile, film critic Andrew Sarris writes .... “The American Cinema: The Directors and Directions (1929-1968).” The work further develops Truffaut’s auteur theory, which claims the director is the true author of his films. The idea goes on to take root in university film programs, Hollywood executive suites and critic circles. The impact on screenwriters is disastrous .... ...as they are suddenly perceived as functionaries...or worse ...irrelevant to great filmmaking. The subsequent success of “Easy Rider” and its counter-cultural ideas puts Hollywood executives on notice to .... ...ignore young audiences at their peril. But many of Hollywood’s screenwriting and directing talents are aging ..... ...and aren’t be able to relate to this new audience. Francis Ford Coppola, among others, is about to change that. Present : As the decade transitions into the 70s ....
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3 ...Coppolla is offered to adapt and direct a popular novel called “The Godfather” .... Show photo of Coppolla at the camera. Coppolla...still interested in small, personal films...doesn’t care for Mario Puzo’s gangster novel. He’s afraid it will reflect poorly on the Italian-American community. But producer Robert Evans wants a director who can, in his words, “smell the spaghetti.” George Lucas...now the V.P. at Zoetrope...argues for Coppolla to do it because they need the money to pay for the losses of his film THX 1138. But it’s not until he’s able to envision the film as a commentary on American capitalism .... ...that Coppolla agrees to become involved. The shoot is fraught with budget issues and production problems. The studio threatens to fire Coppolla twice. But what results is the perfect combination between the Coppolla’s desire for the personal and his instinct for the commercial . This, more than any quality, will come to define the great films of the 70s .
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4 AFI regards “The Godfather” as the third greatest American film ever made.
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