Since Jeremy kindly asked others to send in word of their new
books after outlining his volume on television, and because I
honestly hope Screen-L can inform us of new works, I'll join him
in becoming red-faced with shameless self-promotion.
The Romance of Adventure: The Genre of Historical Adventure
Movies, by Brian Taves, University Press of Mississippi (Studies
in Popular Culture Series), 267 pages, illustrated, paper ISBN
0-87805-598-3 $16.95, hardcover ISBN 0-87805-597-5, $37.50.
The historical adventure movie is one of the most enduring,
popular, and mythically significant American film genres.
Nonetheless, it has never been analyzed in a comprehensive
manner. Here the genre is divided among five subtypes--tales of
swashbucklers, pirates, the sea, the building of empires, and
fortune hunters--in films as diverse as THE THREE MUSKETEERS, THE
MARK OF ZORRO, CAPTAIN BLOOD, THE BUCCANEER, MUTINY ON THE
BOUNTY, CAPTAIN HORATIO HORNBLOWER, THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT
BRIGADE, GUNGA DIN, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, and THE MAN WHO
WOULD BE KING. The genre is defined to emphasize the historical
setting, consistent characterization, and codes of behavior. The
adventurer's values of patriotism, chivalry, and honor impel such
diverse and often contradictory activities as rebellions for
freedom and exploration and colornization of the world's remote
regions. Adventure movies present some form of a fight for
liberty in an era long past, presented more as myth than factual
re-creation, whether in the castles of Europe, a ship on the high
seas, or in colonies extending from Africa to India. The genre
portrays history as a progression toward democratic government,
and may be read as metaphorical depictions of the American
Revolution and the fundamental tensions in American history
between freedom and authority.
Motion Picture, Broadcasting, Recorded Sound Division
Library of Congress