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June 1998, Week 2


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Lang Thompson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 9 Jun 1998 23:33:48 -0400
text/plain (43 lines)
Whatever your opening sentences, it looks like you just defined action
films as a genre by showing that it does indeed "imply a specific type of
story or formula."   Anyway, a viewer has a much better idea of what an
action film will be than, say, a film noir (which can run from police
procedural to detective mystery to even romance) or science fiction (which
might turn out to be "Star Wars" or "Contact" or "Groundhog Day" or "La
Jetee" or "Alien").
At 06:43 PM 6/9/98 -0400, you wrote:
>I think the reason is, as I suggest in my book on the historical adventure
>genre, because "action" itself is not a genre.  The types you've mentioned
>above are genres, whereas action is a style uniting them.  The word action
>itself does not imply a specific type of story or formula, but rather a
>way of treating a story and an emphasis on certain types of elements.
>Action is a male-oriented approach dependent on physical movement,
>violence, and suspense, with often perfunctory motivation and romance.
>Action tends to shift sentiment, character, dialogue, and family to the
>background.  In action films a hero succeeds by facing death, courageously
>overcoming dangers and adversaries.  Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Shane,
>the Thief of Bagdad, Luke Skywalker, and Robin Hood are, I would argue,
>all action heroes--but each belongs to a separate genre (mystery,
>espionage, western, fantasy, science fiction, historical adventure,
>Brian Taves
>Motion Picture/Broadcasting/Recorded Sound Division
>Library of Congress
Lang Thompson
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