Teenagers and Teenpics: The Juvenilization of American Movies in the 1950s

Thomas Patrick Doherty, Author Allen & Unwin Australia $0 (275p) ISBN 978-0-04-445140-2
This is a book especially aimed at film students and buffs, but it will appeal also to a wider audience. The facts are well-researched and heavily footnoted, but in spite of these scholarly trappings, Doherty manages to present a fascinating view of Hollywood's decision-making process and the evolution of ``teenpics.'' It was the sheer numbers of the baby boomers that made adolescents an obvious target for the movie industry during the ``economic desperation'' of the television-tuned 1950s. Blackboard Jungle and Rebel Without a Cause were two of the most significant early teenpics. One introduced rock music and the other James Dean``It wasn't Dean's sex appeal that made him the movies' first authentic cult figure since Rudolph Valentino. It was his stance, his representative power as a teenager.'' Together the films spawned the ``delinquent'' movie. Whether art imitates life or vice versa, juvenile delinquency became an obsession in America and a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee investigation ended in harsh comments about teenpics, especially Blackboard Jungle , but the days when politics dictated movie content were over. Discussions on horror and ``clean'' teenpics and a filmography are included as well. Doherty is an assistant professor of humanities at Boston University. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Hardcover - 275 pages - 978-0-04-445139-6
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