Weekly Film Recap #12 (Hollywood New Wave)

Weekly Film Recap New Hollywood.jpg

For nearly half a century, Hollywood studios banked on creating big-budgeted productions that after a while, inevitably grew stale. Producers and studios soon noticed that the number of theater-goers was severely dwindling and that the new demographic of movie fans were in young, literate college students who got a kick out of analyzing and critiquing films.

In order to target this new emerging demographic, studios scouted film schools across the country and began giving young filmmakers opportunities to speak to the new ‘modern movie-goer.’ As a result, these young filmmakers created a voice for the counter-culture and helped ring in a whole new mode of storytelling that would impact the film industry forever.

Young filmmakers were coming out of the woodwork, both from film schools and from B-movie backgrounds, these young directors were movie-crazed and brought a lot of influence from the great European films being made at the time. On top of that, in 1966, the production code fell apart which allowed filmmakers to incorporate more sexual, violent, and raunchy content, so as to align with their new target demographic. All these things, combined, allowed for a greater sense of realism to enter the world of cinema, thus inflating the impact and emotional power of films!

Here are a few key films by some of the Hollywood Brats that defined the New Hollywood Movement!

Bonnie & Clyde     (dir. Arthur Penn)    Bonnie & Clyde  is seen as the film that changed it all for Hollywood and helped usher in the New Hollywood wave…  This story about love-struck bank robbers resonated with audiences more than anyone could have possibly imagined. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway star in the leading roles and what they were able to successfully do was introduce a mixture of violence, sex, and humor that had never been seen in Hollywood films before.   Bonnie & Clyde  changed the way audiences viewed films. For the first time, audiences were cheering for the outlaws while going against the police officers and sheriffs. This film is much more than just a violent picture about bank robbers, it’s a film about violence against the establishment. It was the first film, along with  The Graduate , that young movie-goers identified as ‘theirs.’  Bonnie and Clyde never had much luck during their robbery attempts, but what they did succeed in was defying the socially constructed norms of American society. The hatred and frustration felt towards the government in the 60’s was perfectly personified in the characters of  Bonnie & Clyde  as they fight back against all authority, leading up to one of the most unforgettable climaxes in film history.    5/5     WATCH: iTunes

Bonnie & Clyde

(dir. Arthur Penn)

Bonnie & Clyde is seen as the film that changed it all for Hollywood and helped usher in the New Hollywood wave…

This story about love-struck bank robbers resonated with audiences more than anyone could have possibly imagined. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway star in the leading roles and what they were able to successfully do was introduce a mixture of violence, sex, and humor that had never been seen in Hollywood films before.

Bonnie & Clyde changed the way audiences viewed films. For the first time, audiences were cheering for the outlaws while going against the police officers and sheriffs. This film is much more than just a violent picture about bank robbers, it’s a film about violence against the establishment. It was the first film, along with The Graduate, that young movie-goers identified as ‘theirs.’

Bonnie and Clyde never had much luck during their robbery attempts, but what they did succeed in was defying the socially constructed norms of American society. The hatred and frustration felt towards the government in the 60’s was perfectly personified in the characters of Bonnie & Clyde as they fight back against all authority, leading up to one of the most unforgettable climaxes in film history.

5/5

WATCH: iTunes

Easy Rider     (dir. Dennis Hopper)   If there was ever a film that defined a movement best, it would have to be  Easy Rider .  Easy Rider  embodies all of the qualities of the Hollywood New Wave with it’s blatant display of sex, drugs, and most importantly, true freedom from the establishment.  Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper star as a couple of bikers who make a drug score in Los Angeles and start heading east to New Orleans for Mardi Gras before heading down to Florida to ‘retire.’ Jack Nicholson also stars as a Texas lawyer with a bit of a drinking problem that the guys meet and take with them to New Orleans. As they make their way across the country in search of freedom, they start to realize that freedom is much harder to come across than they thought.  Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, and Jack Nicholson all got starts under Roger Corman and in fact, the three of them worked together just two years prior on  The Trip , which I consider a strong pre-cursor to  Easy Rider  and the New Hollywood movement all together.   Easy Rider , like  Bonnie & Clyde , was a film that audiences could relate to and call their own. Hopper and Fonda’s characters were more than just a couple of bikers. They were the counter-culture, searching for freedom in the ‘Land of the Free.’    5/5     WATCH: Hulu

Easy Rider

(dir. Dennis Hopper)

If there was ever a film that defined a movement best, it would have to be Easy Rider. Easy Rider embodies all of the qualities of the Hollywood New Wave with it’s blatant display of sex, drugs, and most importantly, true freedom from the establishment.

Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper star as a couple of bikers who make a drug score in Los Angeles and start heading east to New Orleans for Mardi Gras before heading down to Florida to ‘retire.’ Jack Nicholson also stars as a Texas lawyer with a bit of a drinking problem that the guys meet and take with them to New Orleans. As they make their way across the country in search of freedom, they start to realize that freedom is much harder to come across than they thought.

Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, and Jack Nicholson all got starts under Roger Corman and in fact, the three of them worked together just two years prior on The Trip, which I consider a strong pre-cursor to Easy Rider and the New Hollywood movement all together.

Easy Rider, like Bonnie & Clyde, was a film that audiences could relate to and call their own. Hopper and Fonda’s characters were more than just a couple of bikers. They were the counter-culture, searching for freedom in the ‘Land of the Free.’

5/5

WATCH: Hulu

The French Connection     (dir. William Friedkin)    The French Connection  paired up some of the most prominent names in the New Hollywood with actors Gene Hackman ( Bonnie & Clyde ) and Roy Scheider ( Jaws ) alongside director William Friedkin ( The Exorcist ). The film stars Hackman as a detective on the hunt to bust a heroin ring in New York.  Friedkin uses the freedom he has in this era to innovate an often used genre. Beyond the blatant display of gore and violence, Friedkin also experimented with over-used genre cliche’s. One of the best instances of this is when Friedkin takes the boring, car chase scene, and innovates it by having Hackman in the car chasing the target who’s above him on the subway train storming through Brooklyn.  Every movie that has a car chase scene in it tends to use all of the same shots, only to be differentiated through the order they use them in. De Palma has even stated that he hates car chase scenes and the only one to do it right was  The French Connection !    4.5/5     WATCH: iTunes

The French Connection

(dir. William Friedkin)

The French Connection paired up some of the most prominent names in the New Hollywood with actors Gene Hackman (Bonnie & Clyde) and Roy Scheider (Jaws) alongside director William Friedkin (The Exorcist). The film stars Hackman as a detective on the hunt to bust a heroin ring in New York.

Friedkin uses the freedom he has in this era to innovate an often used genre. Beyond the blatant display of gore and violence, Friedkin also experimented with over-used genre cliche’s. One of the best instances of this is when Friedkin takes the boring, car chase scene, and innovates it by having Hackman in the car chasing the target who’s above him on the subway train storming through Brooklyn.

Every movie that has a car chase scene in it tends to use all of the same shots, only to be differentiated through the order they use them in. De Palma has even stated that he hates car chase scenes and the only one to do it right was The French Connection!

4.5/5

WATCH: iTunes

American Graffiti     (dir. George Lucas)   George Lucas may be best known as the creator of  Star Wars , but one of his earliest works was  American Graffiti , an essential staple of the New Hollywood.   American Graffiti  had a huge cast that included Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, and more! Lucas employs an ensemble structure to the film that bounces around a variety of different characters in one night at the end of summer, before leaving for college.  Young students were the biggest demographic for the New Hollywood era and Lucas aimed to make a film that they could identify with. Now, watching it 46 years later, you still see how relatable the subject matter is. In my opinion, this is a much more important part of Lucas’ filmography than  Star Wars .    4/5     WATCH: iTunes

American Graffiti

(dir. George Lucas)

George Lucas may be best known as the creator of Star Wars, but one of his earliest works was American Graffiti, an essential staple of the New Hollywood.

American Graffiti had a huge cast that included Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, and more! Lucas employs an ensemble structure to the film that bounces around a variety of different characters in one night at the end of summer, before leaving for college.

Young students were the biggest demographic for the New Hollywood era and Lucas aimed to make a film that they could identify with. Now, watching it 46 years later, you still see how relatable the subject matter is. In my opinion, this is a much more important part of Lucas’ filmography than Star Wars.

4/5

WATCH: iTunes

Sisters     (dir. Brian De Palma)   I like to consider  Sisters  to be the first  true ‘ De Palma’ film. De Palma started his career making very experimental independent films in the vein of Antonioni or Godard, but  Sisters  is the first film that fully encompasses all of the traits that brought De Palma his notoriety as the new master of suspense and the pioneer of the erotic thriller.   Sisters  has a  Psycho -esque structure in that it kills off what we think is a main character before the halfway point of the film. It follows an aspiring model and actress named Danielle, who we discover was a Siamese twin up until a year prior, when she was apart of the first successful surgery to separate Siamese twins in Canada.  De Palma used  Sisters  to introduce the innovative stylistic aspects of his films such as the use of the split screen and split diopter, to name a few.  Sisters  is a great place to start if you’re interested in diving into De Palma’s work. As you move through his filmography, you see just how much he goes back to and further develops the style and technical choices he made in  Sisters !    5/5     WATCH: iTunes

Sisters

(dir. Brian De Palma)

I like to consider Sisters to be the first true ‘De Palma’ film. De Palma started his career making very experimental independent films in the vein of Antonioni or Godard, but Sisters is the first film that fully encompasses all of the traits that brought De Palma his notoriety as the new master of suspense and the pioneer of the erotic thriller.

Sisters has a Psycho-esque structure in that it kills off what we think is a main character before the halfway point of the film. It follows an aspiring model and actress named Danielle, who we discover was a Siamese twin up until a year prior, when she was apart of the first successful surgery to separate Siamese twins in Canada.

De Palma used Sisters to introduce the innovative stylistic aspects of his films such as the use of the split screen and split diopter, to name a few. Sisters is a great place to start if you’re interested in diving into De Palma’s work. As you move through his filmography, you see just how much he goes back to and further develops the style and technical choices he made in Sisters!

5/5

WATCH: iTunes

Jaws     (dir. Steven Spielberg)   Possibly one of the biggest films to come out of the New Hollywood movement,  Jaws  shocked audiences around the world and was key in showing that these new, young filmmakers were up to something.  Steven Spielberg’s third film stars Roy Scheider as a police officer on Amity Island that must deal with both a killer shark on the loose and a greedy mayor who wants to keep the beaches open despite the shark attacks.   Jaws  took the B-movie formula that Roger Corman made famous and amplified it with a studio budget. After all,  Jaws  is nothing more than a big budget Corman film.  Jaws  changed the way audiences reacted to films and it launched a young Steven Spielberg to the top of most-respected new directors in Hollywood. 45 years later and the thrills are still there!    5/5     WATCH: iTunes

Jaws

(dir. Steven Spielberg)

Possibly one of the biggest films to come out of the New Hollywood movement, Jaws shocked audiences around the world and was key in showing that these new, young filmmakers were up to something.

Steven Spielberg’s third film stars Roy Scheider as a police officer on Amity Island that must deal with both a killer shark on the loose and a greedy mayor who wants to keep the beaches open despite the shark attacks.

Jaws took the B-movie formula that Roger Corman made famous and amplified it with a studio budget. After all, Jaws is nothing more than a big budget Corman film. Jaws changed the way audiences reacted to films and it launched a young Steven Spielberg to the top of most-respected new directors in Hollywood. 45 years later and the thrills are still there!

5/5

WATCH: iTunes

Raging Bull     (dir. Martin Scorsese)   Martin Scorsese is an all time favorite of the ‘Hollywood Brats’ and consistently makes some of the most important films, decade after decade.   Raging Bull  is an in-depth character study on champion, middle-weight boxer Jake LaMotta and Scorsese favorite, Robert DeNiro plays the role of LaMotta. Where  Taxi Driver  acted as a character study on Travis Bickle, it only studied him over the course of a few months whereas with  Raging Bull,  we span across 20 years of LaMotta’s life .   Scorsese’s flair behind the camera is a definitive staple of the New Hollywood. The New Hollywood placed an emphasis on the auteur theory, taken from the French New Wave, and Scorsese is one of the most idiosyncratic filmmakers to come out of this generation. His encyclopedic knowledge of film history and theory allows him to constantly keep the viewer’s attention and when you see a Scorsese film, you know it’s a Scorsese film.    4/5     WATCH: iTunes

Raging Bull

(dir. Martin Scorsese)

Martin Scorsese is an all time favorite of the ‘Hollywood Brats’ and consistently makes some of the most important films, decade after decade.

Raging Bull is an in-depth character study on champion, middle-weight boxer Jake LaMotta and Scorsese favorite, Robert DeNiro plays the role of LaMotta. Where Taxi Driver acted as a character study on Travis Bickle, it only studied him over the course of a few months whereas with Raging Bull, we span across 20 years of LaMotta’s life.

Scorsese’s flair behind the camera is a definitive staple of the New Hollywood. The New Hollywood placed an emphasis on the auteur theory, taken from the French New Wave, and Scorsese is one of the most idiosyncratic filmmakers to come out of this generation. His encyclopedic knowledge of film history and theory allows him to constantly keep the viewer’s attention and when you see a Scorsese film, you know it’s a Scorsese film.

4/5

WATCH: iTunes