The Classical Hollywood Cinema Twenty-Five Years Along

David Bordwell, Janet Staiger, and Kristin Thompson

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I started studying recent classical narrative films in the late 1980s, firstpresenting a series of analyses of individual films to a group of film criticsin Beijing in 1988. Subsequently I wrote essays on additional films and turnedthem into a book, Storytelling in the New Hollywood.

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Thus the four-partstructure had to be studied in reverse, from modern films (where I had firstnoticed it) backward to the time when it originated. This was not only a procedurethat ran contrary to the way that we researched and wrote The Classical HollywoodCinema, but it required a great deal morespace, more than we could spare in such a large tome. In Storytelling inthe New Hollywood, I was able to show both that the classical model persistsin many, probably most, mainstream American films, and that it has been a stapleof such films going back to the very era in which classical filmmaking was formulated.

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Kay Young’s central interests include literature and mind; the nineteenth-century English novel; classical Hollywood film; aesthetics; narrative; and comedy. She is author of Ordinary Pleasures: Couples, Conversation and Comedy and Imagining Minds: The Neuro-Aesthetics of Austen, Eliot, and Hardy.

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