Animating culture - Hollywood cartoons from the sound era.

By: Smoodin, Eric Loren.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookSeries: Communications, media, and culture.Publisher: New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, 1993Description: xvi, 216 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. (pbk).ISBN: 0813519489.Subject(s): Film, Television and Radio | Animated films-Political aspects-United States | Animated films-United States-History and criticismDDC classification: 791.4340973SMO
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Long considered "children's entertainment" by audiences and popular media, Hollywood animation has received little serious attention. Eric Smoodin's Animating Culture  is the first and only book to thoroughly analyze the animated short film. <br></p> Usually running about seven or eight minutes, cartoons were made by major Hollywood studios--such as MGM, Warner Bros., and Disney--and shown at movie theaters along with a newsreel and a feature-length film. Smoodin explores animated shorta and the system that mass-produced them. How were cartoons exhibited in theaters? How did they tell their stories? Who did they tell them to? What did they say about race, class, and gender? How were cartoons related to the feature films they accompanied on the evening's bill of fare?  What were the social functions of cartoon stars like Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse?<br></p> Smoodin argues that cartoons appealed to a wide audience--not just children--and did indeed contribute to public debate about political matters. He examines issues often ignored in discussions of animated film--issues such as social control in the U.S. army's "Private Snafu" cartoons, and sexuality and race in the "sites" of Betty Boop's body and the cartoon harem. Smoodin's analysis of the multiple discourses embedded in a variety of cartoons reveals the complex and sometimes contradictory ways that animation dealt with class relations, labor, imperialism, and censorship. His discussion of Disney and the Disney Studio's close ties with the U.S. government forces us to rethink the place of the cartoon in political and cultural life. Smoodin reveals the complex relationship between cartoons and the Hollywood studio system, and between cartoons and their audiences.</p>  </p>

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

This book convincingly proves that "the Hollywood cartoon from the classical era developed from, expressed, and was frequently controlled by a number of shifting and often contradictory discourses about, for instance, sexuality, race, gender, class, leisure, and creativity." Smoodin surveys the industry's self-censorship and the cartoons' struggle to stretch the limits of the permissible. In an analysis of the cartoon's function in the representative program, he proves its use to signify Hollywood's universality and timelessness. Walt Disney is the major subject, both for his ambiguous situation within the monolithic ideology and his interest both to the popular press and to the FBI. Disney serves well as a "case study for interpreting the intersection of cultural production, commerce, and government policy." A closing nod questions the equivalent Stephen Spielberg's position "as an operative within transnational capitalism." The book is well researched and provides thoughtful, close readings both of representative films and of background texts. It overcomes the author's dubious early claim that only a few Disney films achieved masterwork status in Hollywood animation; Chuck Jones and Tex Avery should not be so overlooked. But Smoodin proves that "even cartoons, those childish and unimportant cultural artifacts, are intertwined with behaviour, with social control, and even with transnational relations." Both general and academic readers at all levels. M. Yacowar; Emily Carr College of Art and Design