Shadows of Doubt: Negotiations of Masculinity in American Genre Films

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Wayne State University Press, 2011 - Performing Arts - 246 pages

In Shadows of Doubt: Negotiations of Masculinity in American Genre Films, Barry Keith Grant questions the idea that Hollywood movies reflect moments of crisis in the dominant image of masculinity. Arguing instead that part of the mythic function of genre movies is to offer audiences an ongoing dialogue on issues of gender, Grant explores a wide range of genre films, including comedies, musicals, horror, science fiction, westerns, teen movies, and action films.

In ten chapters arranged chronologically according to the films discussed, Grant provides a series of close analyses of such disparate films such as Broken Blossoms, The Fatal Glass of Beer, Red River, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Night of the Living Dead, and The Hurt Locker to demonstrate that representations of masculinity in the movies involve a continuous process of ideological testing and negotiation. While some of the films considered offer important challenges to dominant representations of masculinity, others reveal an acceptance or capitulation to them.

Always attentive to the details of individual film texts, Grant also places the genre films he discusses within their historical contexts and the broader contexts and traditions of popular culture that inform them, including literature, theater, and music. Scholars of film and television studies as well as readers interested in gender studies will appreciate Shadows of Doubt.


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About the author (2011)

Barry Keith Grant is a professor in the Department of Communications, Popular Culture, and Film at Brock University in Ontario, Canada. He is the author or editor of many books, including Film Genre: From Iconography to Ideology, 100 Documentary Films (with Jim Hillier), and Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video (with Jeannette Sloniowski; Wayne State University Press, 1998), and has served as editor-in-chief of the four-volume Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film.

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