Cinema Nation : The Best Writing on Film from the Nation, 1913-2000
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From the Marx Brothers to Mickey Mouse, from Charlie Chaplin to Austin Powers, The Nation magazine's coverage of cinema has reflected the critical, dissenting spirit that has animated the 135-year old radical weekly but also the wonder that this new mass medium unleashed. A 1913 editorial opined, "Robert Burn's famous prayer has been answered. The gift has been given us too see ourselves as others see us". The Nation has been a magnet for the best, most provocative and contrary writing about cinema. In 1915 the magazine protested Birth of Nation's release and yet in the 1940s James Agee, the magazine's chief film critic, sung its praises and disputed that it was racist. Other contributors lamented the dubious moral effect cinema had on the masses while Sergei Eisenstein, in a 1927 article, celebrated the physiological and psychological impact of his film Battleship Potemkin. The magazine was there during the first furious labor struggles in Hollywood and was one of the few voices protesting the McCarthyite witch hunt in Hollywood. Throughout its coverage it has been concerned with questions of censorship and free speech as well as the monopolistic power of Hollywood, and its influence on the wider political discourse. Contributors include: Sergei Eisenstein, James Agee, Manny Farber, Katha Politt, Dalton Trumbo, Richard Condon, Terry Southern, Robert Sklar, Susan Sontag, Diana DiPrima, Edward Said, Peter Biskind, Arthur Miller, Marcel Ophuls, Ring Lardner, Jules Feiffer, and Terrence Rafferty.


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