In 1895, Louis Lumiere supposedly said that cinema is "an invention without a future." James Naremore uses this legendary remark as a starting point for a meditation on the so-called death of cinema in the digital age, and as a way of introducing a wide-ranging series of his essays on movies past and present. These essays include discussions of authorship, adaptation, and acting; commentaries on Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Vincente Minnelli, John Huston, and Stanley Kubrick; and reviews of more recent work by non-Hollywood directors Pedro Costa, Abbas Kiarostami, Raul Ruiz, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Important themes recur: the relations between modernity, modernism, and postmodernism; the changing mediascape and death of older technologies; and the need for robust critical writing in an era when print journalism is waning and the humanities are devalued. The book concludes with essays on four major American film critics: James Agee, Manny Farber, Andrew Sarris, and Jonathan Rosenbaum.
Acknowledgments Introduction: An Invention without a Future PART I. ISSUES Authorship, Auteurism, and Cultural Politics The Reign of Adaptation Notes on Acting in Cinema Imitation, Eccentricity, and Impersonation in Movie Acting The Death and Rebirth of Rhetoric PART II. AUTHORS, ACTORS, ADAPTATIONS Hawks, Chandler, Bogart, Bacall: The Big Sleep Uptown Folk: Blackness and Entertainment in Cabin in the Sky Hitchcock and Humor Hitchcock at the Margins of Noir Spies and Lovers: North by Northwest Welles, Hollywood, and Heart of Darkness Orson Welles and Movie Acting Welles and Kubrick: Two Forms of Exile The Treasure of the Sierra Madre The Return of The Dead PART III. IN DEFENSE OF CRITICISM James Agee Manny Farber Andrew Sarris Jonathan Rosenbaum Four Years as a Critic: 2007--2010 Works Cited Index