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Description - Hollywood's Ancient Worlds by Jeffrey Richards

This book offers a new, full analysis of the Ancient World epic and how this film genre continues to comment on modern-day issues.Few genres have been subject to such critical scorn as the Ancient World epic. Yet they have regularly achieved huge box office success. This book tells the history of the Ancient World epic from the silent screen successes of "Intolerance" and "The King of Kings" through the 'golden age of the epic' in the 1950s (Quo Vadis, Ben-Hur, Spartacus, Cleopatra etc) through to the 1990s revival with "Gladiator", its successors in cinema (Alexander, Troy, 300) and on television (Rome).Geoffrey Richards examines the cultural, social, economical and technological circumstances that dictated the rise and decline of each successive cycle of Ancient World epics, analysing each of the great films and assessing their critical and box office success or failure. He also seeks to tease out the hidden messages concealed in the narrative. For historical films are always as much about the time in which they are made as they are about the time in which they are set. Close examination reveals the recurrent use of the Ancient World to deliver messages to the contemporary audience about the present: messages such as hostility to totalitarian regimes both Fascist and Communist, concern at the decline of Christianity, support for the new state of Israel, celebrations of equality and democracy, and concern about changing gender roles. The whole adds up to a fresh look at a body of films that people think they know, but about which they will learn a good deal more.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781847250070
ISBN-10: 1847250076
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 156mm x mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Hambledon Continuum
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish Date: 19-Jun-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Jeffrey Richards

Jeffrey Richards is Professor of Cultural History at the University of Lancaster and a leading authority on Victorian popular culture, the Victorian theatre and twentieth century cinema. His study of Henry Irving (Hambledon 2005) was shortlisted for the Theatre History Book Prize. He is a regular reviewer and broadcaster.

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