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May 2010, Week 1


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"Kendrick, Jim" <[log in to unmask]>
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 3 May 2010 22:04:31 -0500
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Book Announcement:

by James Kendrick

A concise and accessible introduction to the role violence has played in the cinema from the silent era to the present, this volume illustrates the breadth and depth of screen bloodshed in historical, cultural and industrial contexts. After considering problems of definition, this study offers a systematic history of film violence and examines three of the most popular violent genres (western, horror and action). It concludes with a case study on the centrality of film violence to the directors of the New American Cinema, such as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, which offers a strong example of how violence, history, ideology and genre are all deeply intertwined.


"This volume is an important contribution to the endless debates about film violence, made all the more valuable by its unequivocal starting-point, that 'violence' is not some simple thing inside films which can be safe or harmful, better or worse. Instead, Kendrick makes us look at the interwoven histories of filmmakers' strategies of representation, the changing chatter of fears from critics and moralists, but also the historical circuits of real violence (wars, conflicts, social upheavals) to which the different traditions of films he studies are responding. This is a wide-ranging study of real force, challenging us to new and detailed work."– Professor Martin Barker, Aberystwyth University

"Film violence, as James Kendrick shows, has been part and parcel of cinema from its earliest stages of development - just as the discussion about it, from its popular acceptance to its legal suppression, has been ongoing. In a clear and direct style, Kendrick takes us through the twists and turns of nearly a century of critical debate about film violence. Without falling into academic jargon, he offers a theoretically sound definition of what film violence actually is, opting out of the simplistic and partisan ‘but I know it when I see it' definitions that stifle so much public discussion. He provides a thoughtful and knowledgeable overview of violent films and what their makers, viewers and critics have (had) to say about them, mapping out the dominant critical positions as well as illustrating (and complicating) them by looking at individual films. The chapters that, respectively, examine violence as a matter of cinematic genres (like the western, the horror film or the action film), and as a matter of historical opportunity (films and filmmakers associated with New Hollywood, hard at the heels of the demise of the Production Code), add further perspective. The book deserves praise for its ability to grasp the fundamentals of its topic, just as the author does for getting them across with such clarity. Readers, especially those in their first encounter with the topic, will appreciate it as a useful introduction to a complicated issue - an issue that's not likely to go away any time soon."– Steffen Hantke, Sogang University 

978-1-906660-26-0 (pbk)

Wallflower Press:

About the Author: James Kendrick is assistant professor of communication studies at Baylor University. He is author of Hollywood Bloodshed: Violence in 1980s  American Cinema (2009).

James Kendrick, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Communication Studies
Film and Digital Media Division
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97368
Waco, Texas  76798-7368
(254) 710-6061 (phone)
(254) 710-1563 (fax)

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