Starring New York: Filming the Grime and the Glamour of the Long 1970s

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9780195382808: Starring New York: Filming the Grime and the Glamour of the Long 1970s

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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About the Author:

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

"With innovative readings of over twenty films within a broad spatial framework, Starring New York represents an almost exemplary piece of interdisciplinary film studies."--Richard Martin, Journal of American Studies

"Corkin's attention to political and sociological context leads him to provocative readings of key films."--Andrew Feffer, History News Network

"For those who lived in New York in the 1970s and even more for those who are too young to recall those bad--or good--old days, Stanley Corkin shows a city poised on the cusp of gentrification and globalization. His re-reading of the era's most famous New York films documents the dissolution of the urban village of ethnic ties and the rise of the corporate city of finance and media. There's a lot to argue with in this book, but like the best action films, it will keep you on the edge of your seat."--Sharon Zukin, author of Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places

"A devastating romp through the changing filmography-cum-geography of 1970s New York. Hollywood meets urban geography not in the sun-drenched palm sprawl of LA but with the dark alleys and denizens of New York noir. Corkin is brilliant at reading the city's demise, its class and race remaking, and its subsequent amnesiac lurch toward a differently dystopic gentrification."--Neil Smith, author of New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City

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