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In this book, the author offers an analysis of Hollywood's storytelling techniques and how they are used to make complex, easily comprehensible, entertaining films. She also takes on the myth that modern Hollywood films are based on a narrative system radically different from the one in use during the golden age of the studio system. Drawing on a wide range of films from the 1920s to the 1990s - from Keaton's"Our Hospitality" to "Casablanca" to "Terminator 2" - Thompson explains such staples of narratives as the goal-oriented protagonist, the double plot-line, and dialogue hooks. She demonstrates that the "three-act structure," a concept widely used by practitioners and media commentators, fails to explain how Hollywood stories are put together. The author then demonstrates in detail how classical narrative techniques work in ten box-office and critical successes made since the new Hollywood began in the 1970s: "Tootsie", "Back to the Future", "The Silence of the Lambs", "Groundhog Day", "Desperately Seeking Susan", "Amadeus", "The Hunt for Red October", "Parenthood", "Alien", and "Hannah and her Sisters". In passing, she suggests reasons for the apparent slump in quality in Hollywood films of the 1990s. The results will be of interest to movie fans, scholars, and film practitioners alike.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780674839755
ISBN-10: 0674839757
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 178mm x 28mm)
Pages: 416
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 9-Nov-1999
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Kristin Thompson

Kristin Thompson is an honorary fellow in the Communication Arts Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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