Seeing Is Believing

Seeing Is Believing Seeing is Believing is a provocative shrewd witty look at the Hollywood fifties movies we all love or love to hate and the thousand subtle ways they reflect the political tensions of the decade Pete

  • Title: Seeing Is Believing
  • Author: Peter Biskind
  • ISBN: 9780394721156
  • Page: 119
  • Format: Paperback
  • Seeing is Believing is a provocative, shrewd, witty look at the Hollywood fifties movies we all love or love to hate and the thousand subtle ways they reflect the political tensions of the decade Peter Biskind, former executive editor of Premiere, is one of our most astute cultural critics Here he concentrates on the films everybody saw but nobody really looked at classSeeing is Believing is a provocative, shrewd, witty look at the Hollywood fifties movies we all love or love to hate and the thousand subtle ways they reflect the political tensions of the decade Peter Biskind, former executive editor of Premiere, is one of our most astute cultural critics Here he concentrates on the films everybody saw but nobody really looked at classics like Giant, On the Waterfront, Rebel Without a Cause, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers and shows us how movies that appear to be politically innocent in fact carry an ideological burden As we see organization men and rugged individualists, housewives and career women, cops and doctors, teen angels and teenage werewolves fight it out across the screen from suburbia to the farthest reaches of the cosmos, we understand that we have been watching one long dispute about how to be a man, a woman, an American the conflicts of the period in action A work of brilliant analysis and meticulous conception, Seeing Is Believing offers fascinating insights into how to read films of any era.

    One thought on “Seeing Is Believing”

    1. In spite of what you might be led to believe by the cover image and typography, this is not of a piece with Biskind's books on Hollywood on- and off-screen from the '70s to the '90s. Rather it deals with the politics and semiotics of American film in the 1950s, the time of McCarthyism and Reds under the bed. I've only seen one of the films deconstructed (and that 15 years ago) but this was an interesting read nonetheless. Just don't make the same mistake I did in assuming it would be another gos [...]

    2. Biskind covers an incredible number of Hollywood movies herein, and gives the reader many of the best/worst/most incongruous lines from otherwise forgettable vehicles. Nice to have this book as a cheat sheet to help me avoid indulging my 50's Americana obsession via more crappy DVD reissues (besides, I've seen enough westerns and war movies for one lifetime).Biskind oversimplifies in categorizing "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (yes, I know I should italicize that title, but I'm too lazy to do [...]

    3. Readers who enjoyed Biskind's gossipy and journalistic romp through the New Hollywood years and the Miramax era may be slightly disappointed by this earlier work. It is firmly in the tradition of 1980s cultural studies film analysis, which makes for slightly repetitive and, frankly, fairly tedius reading - Biskind's knowledge of these films is impeccable but the coldy reductive tropes of the approach leave you wondering why he felt the need to bother. Very good on On the Waterfront though.

    4. Biskind's categorizations are helpful for giving a general understanding of Hollywood and film during the 1950s, but they're ultimately reductive. It seems to me that there are more nuances in these films, their tropes, and the ways in which they negotiate between censorship and acceptability. While he always does interesting analyses, the book is driving towards the same point at all turns; it comes off as repetitive and makes it feel like it is much longer than it actually needs to be.

    5. As a fan of 1950s movies and political analysis, I found Biskind's book to be a treasure trove if analysis and insight. It helps to have seen the movies in question. I was probably around 70%. I would like to watch the other 30% and read it again.

    6. Read for class, liked quite a bit. The chapters were he focuses on individual films, especially if you have seen the individual films in question. Anyway, although his point doesn't address ideology, I found his reading of the films interesting.

    7. meh, not as insightful into the film making process as easy riders and raging bulls. more of a film analysis and not a very interesting one at that.

    8. Very theoretical in comparison to Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, but still interesting for its look into mainstream 50s American cinema.

    9. Biskind's absolutely right about pretty much everything he says, but the book is clearly an early one for him, and grows repetitively tedious, and needed editing. Still, he remains a fun writer, and no book this correct, no matter its stylistic issues, deserves less than four stars.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *