Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie

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Wesleyan University Press, Apr 27, 2007 - Performing Arts - 383 pages
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For more than 30 years, the action movie has been the film genre that most represents Hollywood to the world, as action films find blockbuster success at box offices internationally. Still, the genre seldom receives the critical attention it deserves. Studying its trends, key components, and visual excesses, this new and expanded edition of Action Speaks Louder traces the genre's evolution to reveal how it has come to assume its place of prominence in American culture. With scores of in-depth case studies—including films such as Dirty Harry, RoboCop, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Armageddon, Spider-Man, War of the Worlds, and The Incredibles—author Eric Lichtenfeld draws on film analysis, production histories, critical responses, studio marketing materials, and original filmmaker interviews. Up-to-date and comprehensive, Action Speaks Louder is the definitive study of the movies’ most kinetic form of fun.

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Review: Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie

User Review  - Thomas - Goodreads

An interesting academic study of action movies. I especially liked the first third of the book, where he discusses the origins of the action genre. It's a bit like a Western transplanted to the big ... Read full review

Selected pages


A Little Violence Never Hurt Anyone
The Laws Crazy The Vigilante and Other Myths
Automatons Rise of the Killing Machines
Enter the Fists The Body as the Weapon
Into the Jungle Out of the Wasteland Action in the Wild
Blowing Up All Those Familiar Places Terror and the Confined Arena
Unmitigated Disasters Old Formulas and the New Spectacle
Tomorrows Heroes Today Action Meets the Fantastic
Excelsior March of the Superheroes
Sifting Through the Rubble

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About the author (2007)

ERIC LICHTENFELD has worked in many areas of the film industry, and his articles have appeared in film publications including The Scenographer, Film Score Monthly, and Trace, the journal of the Art Directors Guild. He has contributed features and commentaries to special edition DVD releases of such films as Predator, Die Hard, and Speed, and has taught film studies at Loyola Marymount University.

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