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Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood
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Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood

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4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  1,554 ratings  ·  261 reviews
The epic human drama behind the making of the five movies nominated for Best Picture in 1967-Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night, Doctor Doolittle, and Bonnie and Clyde-and through them, the larger story of the cultural revolution that transformed Hollywood, and America, forever

It's the mid-1960s, and westerns, war movies and blockbuster m...more
Hardcover, 490 pages
Published February 14th 2008 by Penguin Press HC, The
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David
Feb 25, 2013 David rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to David by: Kathleen
Last night's demoralizing Oscar ceremony—like many stillborn ceremonies before it—makes me wonder why people continue to give a damn at all. Yes, I know there are a bunch of you cranks out there who (loudly) disavow an interest in showbiz spectacle, and you're only too anxious to take a steaming piss on the red carpet to assert some kind of hazy moral superiority. We thank you very kindly for your tsk-tsking, but everybody already knows full well that the frivolous ostentation and shameful self-...more
Megankellie
Jun 22, 2011 Megankellie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: comedy nerds, film nerds
Recommended to Megankellie by: film nerd.
This is pretty film-geekily interesting and just the complete detail you want behind the scenes of the five movies that were nominated for Best Picture in 1967 - In the Heat of the Night, The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and Dr. Dolittle. Great history and context and the detailed battle of getting something produced and marketed. So detailed, you start from the second the screenwriters behind Bonnie and Clyde thought of the script and the million years until they sa...more
Charles Matthews
Oscar plays it safe. You can trust the Academy to pick a “Forrest Gump” over a “Pulp Fiction,” an “Ordinary People” over a “Raging Bull,” or a “Kramer vs. Kramer” over an “Apocalypse Now.”

Or a well-made, socially conscious melodrama like “In the Heat of the Night” over groundbreaking movies like “Bonnie and Clyde” and “The Graduate.” That’s part of the story that Mark Harris tells in his richly fascinating book, “Pictures at a Revolution,” which focuses on the five nominees for best picture in 1...more
Kris
This is your book if you appreciate thoroughness, historical accuracy and narrative momentum with your cinema journalism. Mark Harris captures the essence of mid-60s filmmaking in a bottle, exhaustively documenting the making and promotion of the five films nominated for the best picture Oscar in 1967: Bonnie & Clyde, The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and (seriously) Dr. Doolittle. Harris masterfully weaves the story of each film's creation into a united t...more
Sue
If you're a big movie and movie history buff like me, this book is a must-read! It's a wonderful glimpse into what it was like right at the cusp of "old" and "new" Hollywood, full of direct quotes from many of the actors, directors, screenwriters, and producers who weathered the changes. It mainly focuses on 5 movies that, in their own ways, heralded the change: Look Who's Coming to Dinner; In the Heat of the Night; Bonny & Clyde; The Graduate; and Doctor Dolittle. It was quite fascinating!
Jennifer
This book was a honking huge volume. Luckily, I really enjoy books about production history, I was already familar with all of the films... and we had talked a little bit about the birth of "New Hollywood" in several of my critical studies film classes at USC. So, I came into the book knowing that I would love it.

Oh, boy, did I ever.

Mark Harris really delves into a detailed history of each movie, from conception to pitching to production to marketing to the actual Academy Awards ceremony. I lov...more
Tangoswithtext
Harris' Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood chronicles five films nominated for best picture for the Oscars in 1968: Bonnie and Clyde, Guess Who's Coming For Dinner, The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night, and Dr. Dolittle. Harris gives in-depth research about the backgrounds of the films and by comparing them, explores the social and philosophical changes in the Zeitgeist of the time. The book illustrated the generation gap between parents and their children...more
Neil Fox
A remarkable book - captures a fascinating time for American cinema beautifully and underscores it with a nuanced understanding of wider societal issues. Both anecdotal and analytical it's superbly written, engaging and rewarding, particularly for movie lovers.
Grburbank
This narrative nonfiction work traces the making of the five Best Picture contenders at the 1968 Oscars to paint a picture of the revolution happening in Hollywood in the 1960s as the old studio system and production code crumbled and audiences hungered for something new, influenced by Italian Neorealism and French New Wave imports. His profiles of key players in the industry--both old and new--are delightful and insightful. I don't read much nonfiction but Harris was thoroughly engaging and kep...more
Josh
Immediately the best, most fascinating and rigorously researched book on film I've ever read; but of course, it isn't JUST about movies, but about entire cultural paradigm shift, and so much more. It took me, oh, maybe twenty pages or so to get a feel for Harris' rhythm-- initially, I wondered if it might be just a bit dry-- but once I got the hang of it I was never anything less than totally captivated by it, and the kinds of historical anecdotes he digs up are s utterly bizarre, they couldn't...more
Richard Block
New Hollywood, Old Bitchiness

Mark Harris is the wife/husband of author Tony Kushner, and his brilliantly detailed book about the 'revolutionary' year of 1967 makes a good read if that's your era - it is my era. It cannot be faulted for research or conclusions, and yet... It is also full of bitchiness, gay rumours and endless smugness about it's subjects that I felt like having a quick shower after reading it.

He takes the 5 films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar and tells their stories from t...more
Ted Hunt
This is one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time. It examines the changes that were taking place in the American motion picture industry in the 1960's by examining the five movies that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar for 1967: The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Dr. Dolittle, In the Heat of the Night, and Bonnie and Clyde. In doing so, the book shows how the "old" Hollywood was being supplanted by something very different. The behind the scenes look at these m...more
Craig Werner
Chock full of interesting information and anecdotes about the five films nominated for the 1968 Oscars (for movies released in 1967). It's a telling list: Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and--pause to allow for guffaws--Doctor Doolittle, which wasn't even a commercial success. Writing in a breezy journalistic style that never gets in the way, Harris argues that this was the moment that marked the transition from the "Old Hollywood"--studio...more
Emma
This book is journalism at its absolute best; impeccable research and a wonderful story. The best histories are not just about their own subject, but give you a whole feel for the time and place. Harris has got into every part of this story; he's spoken to everyone, and read everything, but most of all he can really tell a great story. One of the best film books I've read, and I've read many. This is up there with Steven Bach's Final Cut for me.
Laura
Mark Harris examines the evolution of the motion picture industry in the 2nd half of the 20th century through an examination of the 5 movies nominated for Best Pictue in 1967: Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, and Doctor Doolittle. "67, he argues, is the year that "Old Hollywood" (typified by Doctor Doolittle) lost its punch and a new generation (see the other 4 movies) took over. He talks about financing, casting , production, and , most int...more
Elizabeth
Loved this book! Learned so much that I didn't yet know about the behind-the-scenes. I now have a greater appreciation for some of these directors and/or actors, screenwriters, and all who are involved in this art. I am so tempted to share some excerpts but will refrain from spoiling your reading pleasure! You've got to read this!
Sara
This is one of my all-time favorite nonfiction books, and was actually the basis of my final project for my readers' advisory class in library school, and it's funny and well-organized and sort of gently sweet in a way you don't always expect from a Hollywood history making-of kind of book.
James
I started reading this book this morning, and despite my rather hectic Monday schedule (on a truck I haven't driven in toto since forever ago), I am now roughly halfway through it, and if I don't finish it tonight, I certainly will tomorrow. This is one hell of a read, and deftly written.
Sloan
A wonderful look at the five pictures nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture in 1968. The book's primary theme - that Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate marked a distinct break from the Old Hollywood studio-driven method of producing movies - is described in numerous stories from the actors, directors, and producers of these two movies as well as those associated with other three nominees - In The Heat of The Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and (ugh!) Doctor Doolittle. While The Studio by J...more
Roger
The author's thesis--and he builds a strong case--is that the films nominated for Best Picture in 1967 marked the point at which moviemaking shifted from the studio-driven, production-code era to the contemporary era of filmmaking. Considering the impact that "The Graduate" and "Bonnie and Clyde" had on films to come, it's hard to argue against his thesis. Harris does a great job of telling you how these two unlikely films--and the three others nominated that year--came to see the light of day,...more
David
Just a great read - and not what I had anticipated. I'd read little about it prior and, for some reason, thought the book might focus on the Oscars. Wrong. It covers this whole period in film, during which time films were passing over from the studio system to a bold, progressive way of filmmaking - as reflected in the five films nommed for Best Pic as well as other films being made at and around this time. The changing political/social climate also comes into play here. A very addictive read fo...more
Bill Meeker
I enjoy reading fiction set in and non-fiction about the 1960s. Literature from and about this period attracts me because I was a child who was too young to remember (much less understand) what was happening then (N.B., I was born shortly after the Beatles' flight to the U.S. from Heathrow touched down at JFK Airport in February, 1964). Since I am a "movie buff" -- a term that was coined by the press in the late '60s -- it's only natural for me to be attracted to texts about the history of filmm...more
Matt Isenhower
An examination of the development, production, and release/promotion of the five films nominated for Best Picture at the 1967 Academy Awards. This was a transitional time, when the old Hollywood studio system was breathing its last, but before the new wave of “movie brats” (Coppola, Scorsese, Spielberg) had fully picked up the gauntlet. Edgy, unsettling films appealing to a growing trend of cynicism and anti-authority feelings (represented by Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde and Mike Nichols’ The...more
Samantha Klein
I don’t know about you, but I love all the behind-the-scenes details of the film-making industry. I don’t necessarily mean the bloopers and deleted scenes you get on the DVD, but rather the nitty-gritty of how the movie went from an idea to the images on the screen. The changes, the deals, the failures and successes … it’s all so interesting. I also like thinking about movies in a greater context; where they stand in the history of film and in the broader narrative of society. Well, if you get i...more
Carrie
Pictures at a Revolution is an incredibly well-researched history of the five films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1968. Harris argues that this particular class of nominees represents the shift in power from Old Hollywood to New Hollywood. His point is made strongest (and most interestingly) when he analyzes the ways in which Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate challenged the Motion Picture Production Code and the differences between In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who's C...more
Steven
This made a list of best non-fiction book for 2008 in the New York Times, and since it was in my library, I thought I'd check it out -- and it seems I was the first person to do so.

I have only seen one of the five 1967 Best Picture Nominees which are the subject of this book -- and that one, arguably the worst of the lot, "Doctor Dolittle" not since I was a child. My first mission is to put all five of these films on my Netflix list and bump them to the top of the queue. How does one live to be...more
Kasa Cotugno
The reader doesn't have to had been around in 1968 to find this book interesting, but it enhances the enjoyment. Those who remember movies prior to the formation of the rating system, when the infamous Hays Code was dictating what could and could not be seen, will recognize the advances in maturity nascent in four out of the five movies nominated for the Oscar that are featured here. Harris employs a straight chronological structure, following the development of all five films, managing to make...more
Greg Pettit
Jul 08, 2008 Greg Pettit rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: film buffs
This was a very interesting and entertaining read about a dynamic time in movie history.

The author believes the five films nominated for the 1968 Academy Awards (Doctor Doolittle, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, The Graduate, and Bonnie & Clyde) represent a watershed moment between "old" and "new" Hollywood.

The book chronicles the making of the films from the earliest pre-script phase, through casting, production, and finally ending at the awards themselves. It is a f...more
Tina
May 28, 2008 Tina rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: film buffs
Shelves: non-fiction, 2008
Very detailed and interesting account of 1967's five best picture nominees from their inception to their fruition onto film. The train wreck, and film I was least interested in, "Doctor Doolittle", was the most fun to read, although all the movies had an interesting tale behind them. I was touched by Sidney Poitier's personal struggles being a rising African American star in Hollywood. Equally touching was Tracy and Hepburn's swansong appearance in "Guess Whose Coming to Dinner" and Tracy's mer...more
Dan
I'm a sucker for tell all volumes on Hollywood (one of my favorite books is Easy Riders Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind). This book is very much in the vein of Biskind's book, serving as a kind of prequel in fact. The book details the genesis and production of the films nominated for Best Picture at the 1967 Oscars-- Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, and Dr Doolittle.

The last of those pictures is the anomaly, an example of the overblown, expen...more
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Mark Harris’s first book, Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood, was published this year. He writes the “Final Cut” column for Entertainment Weekly and has also written about pop culture for many other publications, most recently The New York Times, Details, GQ, Portfolio, The Washington Post, Slate, The Guardian, and The Observer Film Quarterly. A graduate of Ya...more
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