Alternate Americas: Science Fiction Film and American by M. Keith Booker

By M. Keith Booker

For greater than 50 years, technological know-how fiction movies were one of the most crucial and profitable items of yankee cinema, and are beneficial of analysis for this reason on my own. On a deeper point, the style has mirrored vital issues, issues and advancements in American society, in order that a historical past of technological know-how fiction movie additionally serves as a cultural background of the United States over the last part century.

M. Keith Booker has chosen fifteen of the main profitable and cutting edge technology fiction movies of all time, and tested each one of them at length--from cultural, technical and cinematic perspectives--to see the place they got here from and what they intended for the way forward for cinema and for the USA at huge. From "Invasion of the physique Snatchers" to "Star Wars," from "Blade Runner" to "The Matrix," those landmark movies have expressed our fears and desires, our skills and our deficiencies. during this deep-seeking research, we will be able to all locate whatever of ourselves that we realize, in addition to whatever that we've by no means famous before.

The specialise in a pretty small variety of landmark motion pictures permits distinctive cognizance to really unique video clips, together with: "Forbidden Planet, Invasion of the physique Snatchers, 2001: an area Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, megastar Wars, shut Encounters of the 3rd variety, Alien, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Blade Runner, The Terminator, Robocop, The Abyss, Independence Day," and "The Matrix." This booklet is perfect for normal readers drawn to technological know-how fiction and picture.

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Extra resources for Alternate Americas: Science Fiction Film and American Culture

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S . invasion of Iraq 38 • Alternate Americas precisely on the premise that Iraqi aggression was a threat to America and other nations. In any case, The Day the Earth Stood Still is politically charged in ways that go b e y o n d its obvious opposition to the Cold W a r arms race. For one thing, the film takes a n u m b e r of passing satirical swipes at various aspects of American society. For example, the boarder Mr. Barley (John Brown) is not only just as thick-skulled as his wife, but he is also apparently a R e publican, thus linking the narrow-mindedness of both Barleys to that party.

Ulmer, famous for his ability to turn ultra-low-budget films—such as The Black Cat (1934) and Detour (1945)—into minor classics. Here, a perfectly harmless alien is greeted with hostility by paranoid Earthlings and eventually blown to bits by the British military. Ultimately, of course, the suggestion in The Day the Earth Stood Still that the Cold War is just plain silly leads directly to Stanley K u brick's Dr. Straugelove, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), the film that virtually finished off Cold W a r paranoia as a film motif by demonstrating the utter folly and absurdity of the arms race.

H o w e v e r , the most important instruments in this regard were probably the t w o theremins that w r ere used to produce particularly eerie and otherworldly background music for the opening titles and for key sequences during the film, especially those involving Gort. T h e theremin, then very seldom used, is an electronic instrument (invented by the Russian engineer Leon T h e r e m i n , subject of the 1994 documentary film Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey) that produces a tone with t w o high-frequency oscillators, the pitch of which is produced by the m o v e m e n t of the player's hands over the instrument's electronic circuits—much in the way the controls of the spaceship in The Day the Earth Stood Still are operated by the m o v e m e n t of Klaatu's hands over them.

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