cover image Medium Cool: The Movies of the 1960s

Medium Cool: The Movies of the 1960s

Ethan Mordden / Author Alfred A. Knopf $24.95 (301p) ISBN 978-

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) intimated that there's no safe place--the murderously bizarre can crop up anywhere. John Schlesinger's Midnight Cowboy (1969) portrays an America where ``television and radio beam messages at you like mind-control apparatus . . . and the social structures throb with manipulative schemes.'' Between these signposts was a decade of unruly, vibrantly realistic American filmmaking, explored by Mordden, New Yorker cultural critic-at-large, in these wonderfully perceptive essays which illuminate not only film but the 1960s and the present. Movies of the '60s challenged authority as corrupt and murderous ( Splendor in the Grass ) and/or questioned the fairness of our political system ( Advise and Consent ; The Manchurian Candidate ). The '60s' fascination with evil and violence motivated Richard Brooks's In Cold Blood and Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, that most serious of comedies. Mordden's wide-angled critique fits foreign films, arty B-movies, Paul Newman, Bye Bye Birdie and even James Bond flicks into a montage of changing social consciousness. Photos. (Sept.)