July-August 1978

Rock movies, horror movies, Nazi-era musicals, Thirties serials, special midsection on screenwriters, Roger Ebert’s guilty pleasures, Douglas Sirk interview

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FOUR DISREPUTABLE GENRES: ROCK, SOCK, SHOCK, AND SCHLOCK
How many film genres can you find in this photograph from Thank God It’s Friday? If you look hard, use your imagination, and cheat a little, you should be able to spot the four genres analyzed in this issue: rock (the dancers), sock (the pulp-magazine Tarzan), shock (the monkey’s paw), and schlock (the décor—though the musicals of the Nazi period were closer to kitsch, which doesn’t rhyme). These four genres may be disreputable, but at their best they provide eccentric, energetic cinema.

GENRE GUITAR
The New Generation has taken over Hollywood, and rock is their music. So why doesn’t the current wave of rock-and-roll movies capture more of the music’s anger and joy? Dave Marsh investigates the phenomenon. And Randal Kleiser, the young stylist of Grease, talks with Stephen Harvey.

GENRE KIEPURA
Maybe Mel Brooks was wrong when he told us that “Hitler was a great dancer.” But the German cinema certainly didn’t forget how to sing and dance during the Third Reich—with almost no goose-stepping. Richard Traubner reports on these nostalgic, nonpolitical musicals.

GENRE NOIR
Horror Films are our collective nightmares, writes Robin Wood. And a movie like The Omen or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre not only scares us out of our wits; it allows us to participate in the destruction of the American dream. The bourgeois family becomes a monster, and devours our ideals.

GENRE APOLLO
The pulp-magazine superheroes of the Thirties—avengers of justice like The Shadow, Doc Savage, The Spider, and Oliver Quade, the Human Encyclopedia—leapt from the page onto the screen, and fell on their square-jawed faces. They deserved better, and Bernard A. Drew tells why.

MIDSECTION: SCREENWRITERS
Some of the most talented writers for film and television—Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin, Howard Koch, George Axelrod, Robert Benton and David and Leslie Newman, Richard Levinson and William Link, and Paul Schrader showed up at The Museum of Modern Art last fall to talk about their funny and frustrating adventures in Hollywood. Their reminiscences make for an informative, entertaining Midsection.

JOURNALS
Gilbert Adair on Roberte. Jonathan Rosenbaum on the move.

GUILTY PLEASURES
Everyone has a favorite movie or two that absolutely nobody else likes. Roger Ebert has ten of them.

DOUGLAS SIRK
The ironist of Hollywood melodrama talks with James Harvey about Marx, Fassbinder, and Lana Turner.

CARY GRANT’S SOCKS
A “jam session” on non-narrative. By Raymond Durgnat, David Ehrenstein, and Jonathan Rosenbaum.

BOOKS
George Morris on Joan Mellen’s Big Bad Wolves. Raymond Durgnat on Charles Barr’s Ealing Studio.

INDUSTRY
Lee Beaupre tells all you independent producers how to make a great deal.

INDEPENDENTS
Amos Vogel on anthropological films.

BACK TALK
Revelations about Apocalypse, The Messiah, and Crist. Inside stuff on Travolta and Tomlin, Robert Stigwood and Uri Geller. By Stuart Byron.

BULLETIN BOARD
With notes on our contributors.