New York City during the long 1970s was a place of high crime and high glamour that still holds tremendous fascination. During this era the city careened from the hopefulness of the Lindsay years to financial default in 1975 to its reemergence, under Mayor Koch, as a center of international finance. These changes form the backdrop for a body of films in which the city itself plays a starring role. The movies picture the city's racial and ethnic populations, its elite enclaves and decaying districts, its sometimes vibrant and often violent street-life, and--by the decade's end--its emerging gentrification that would soon sweep away the vestiges of an iconic, acutely singular metropolis. The films, directed by an emerging generation of filmmakers influenced both by the Italian neo-realists and the French auteurs, sought a higher realism than that offered in conventional Hollywood productions. Martin Scorsese, Francis Coppola, Sidney Lumet, Paul Mazursky, Woody Allen, and John Schlesinger capture the excitement and volatility of the period; their films and others effectively narrate the city's changing fortunes. Starring New York examines the drama and dramas of those times, providing a reorientation to the landscape of the city, both as it was and as it is today.
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Stanley Corkin is Professor of English at the University of Cincinnati. He is the author of Realism and the Birth of the Modern United States: Film, Literature, and Culture and Cowboys as Cold Warriors: The Western and US History .
"Starring New York demonstrates a hugely productive alignment between urban, cultural, and visual studies that suggests the potential for a range of interdisciplinary studies in this area. Those interested in such an intersection will find much to commend in the book."--Neil Gray, Urban Studies
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