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> Date:    Fri, 5 Jun 1998 18:18:49 +0100
> From:    Ingvald Bergsagel <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Action as genre
>
> Does anyone know of genre-studies done on action-films? I've found plenty
> on western, noir, gangster, sci-fi, adventure and other related genres, in
> addition to (naturaly) writings on screen-violence mentioning classic
> action-flicks, but nobody seems to have analysed action as a genre.
 
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,
respectively).
 
 
Brian Taves
Motion Picture/Broadcasting/Recorded Sound Division
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.    Washington, D.C.  20540-4692
Telephone:  202-707-9930; 202-707-2371 (fax)
Email:  [log in to unmask]
 
 
Disclaimer--All opinions expressed are my own.
 
----
Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite
http://www.tcf.ua.edu/screensite