Firestorm

American Film in the Age of Terrorism

Stephen Prince

Columbia University Press

Firestorm

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Pub Date: August 2009

ISBN: 9780231148719

400 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $32.00£27.00

Pub Date: August 2009

ISBN: 9780231148702

400 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $95.00£79.00

Pub Date: August 2009

ISBN: 9780231520089

400 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $31.99£27.00

Firestorm

American Film in the Age of Terrorism

Stephen Prince

Columbia University Press

It was believed that September 11th would make certain kinds of films obsolete, such as action thrillers crackling with explosions or high-casualty blockbusters where the hero escapes unscathed. While the production of these films did ebb, the full impact of the attacks on Hollywood's creative output is still taking shape. Did 9/11 force filmmakers and screenwriters to find new methods of storytelling? What kinds of movies have been made in response to 9/11, and are they factual? Is it even possible to practice poetic license with such a devastating, broadly felt tragedy?

Stephen Prince is the first scholar to trace the effect of 9/11 on the making of American film. From documentaries like Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) to zombie flicks, and from fictional narratives such as The Kingdom (2007) to Mike Nichols's Charlie Wilson's War (2007), Prince evaluates the extent to which filmmakers have exploited, explained, understood, or interpreted the attacks and the Iraq War that followed, including incidents at Abu Ghraib. He begins with pre-9/11 depictions of terrorism, such as Alfred Hitchcock's Sabotage (1936), and follows with studio and independent films that directly respond to 9/11. He considers documentary portraits and conspiracy films, as well as serial television shows (most notably Fox's 24) and made-for-TV movies that re-present the attacks in a broader, more intimate way. Ultimately Prince finds that in these triumphs and failures an exciting new era of American filmmaking has taken shape.

Stephen Prince's penetrating analysis of the cinematic blowback from 9/11 and the 'War on Terror' is a pioneering volume blazing a trail for what will surely be a swathe of like-minded studies. This book is informative, well argued, awash in sparkling insights, and, not incidentally, quite moving.

Thomas Doherty, Brandeis University, and author of Hollywood's Censor: Joseph I. Breen and the Production Code Administration

An accessibly written, wide-ranging introduction to a topic that no book in film studies has yet covered so comprehensively.

Adam Lowenstein, University of Pittsburgh

[Firestorm] will be a popular resource for film students.

James Clarke, Times Higher Education Supplement

Prince's impressively thorough and intelligently written book will serve as a guide for some years to this visually indelible episode in American history... Essential.

Choice

offers a detailed and insightful critical analysis while avoiding jargon...Firestorm isa remarkable achievement as a first look at the impact of 11 September on filmmaking, and lays the groundwork for any number of new approaches.

Jeffrey Mazo, Survival

[A] thoughtful and thorough investigation of the celluloid response to that chilling September day.

Luke Davies, The Australian

A rich record and accounting of the first decade of responses by both mainstream and marginal American filmmakers.

Corey K. Creekmur, Cineaste
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Theater of Mass Destruction
2. Shadows Once Removed
3. Ground Zero in Focus
4. Battleground Iraq
5. Terrorism on the Small Screen
6. No End in Sight
Appendix 1: Historical Timeline
Appendix 2: Filmography
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Web Features:
  • Listen to Stephen Prince on "On the Media."
  • Read an interview with Prince on Rorotoko

Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2010

About the Author

Stephen Prince is a professor of cinema at Virginia Tech, teaching film history, criticism, and theory. He is the author of numerous books, including Classical Film Violence, Movies and Meaning: An Introduction to Film, The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa, and Savage Cinema: Sam Peckinpah and the Rise of Ultraviolent Movies.