Catholics in the Movies

Catholics in the Movies

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Description

The common admission that 'everything I know about religion I learned from the movies' is true for believers as much as for unbelievers. And at the movies, Catholicism is the American religion. As an intensely visual faith with a well-defined ritual and authority structure, Catholicism lends itself to the drama and pageantry of film. Beginning with the 1915 silent movie Regeneration and ending with Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, eleven prominent scholars explore how Catholic characters, spaces, and rituals are represented in cinema. Each of the contributors to Catholics in the Movies has chosen one movie from over one hundred years of moviemaking to discuss what happens when an organized religion - not just Bible stories or spiritual themes - enter into a film. Arranged chronologically, Catholics in the Movies sets the films within a wider historical narrative while providing close readings of critical themes and images that go beyond the conventional. Several chapters focus on the many directors and screenwriters who were raised in Catholic families, and who explore this faith in complex and compelling ways. Authors look at film classics like Going My Way and The Song of Bernadette to reveal how Catholic characters simultaneously reflect outsider status as well as the 'American way-of-life.' They consider the violence of The Godfather and the physicality of The Exorcist not simply as antonyms for religion but as tightly linked to Catholic sensibilities. Lesser known films like Seven Cities of Gold and Santitos are examined for their connection to historical movements like anti-communism and Mexican immigration. Tracing the story of American Catholic history through popular films, Catholics in the Movies should be a valuable resource for anyone interested in American Catholicism and religion and film.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 182.88 x 251.46 x 30.48mm | 861.82g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195306562
  • 9780195306569
  • 1,298,183

Review quote

Although the title of this collection is Catholics in the Movies , it is in fact about so much more than Catholics and movies, encompassing a range of subjects that bear on religious life in US history including race and gender, immigration and sexuality, fear and power. McDannell and the other writers bring Catholic history to light, but they also illuminate a much wider cultural field with compelling, insightful results. * Gary Laderman, Chair and Professor, Department of Religion, Emory University * Colleen McDannell has brought together an all-star cast of scholars to examine what happened when American Catholics went to the movies, what happened to them and to the movies. Movie screens were an extension of the streets and shrines of the American church, where Catholics struggling with the hard realities of American life encountered their deepest fears and wildest dreams. This fabulous book makes it clear that going to the movies was as formative of American Catholicism as going to church. * Robert Orsi, author of The Madonna of 115th Street and Thank You, Saint Jude * Although the title of this collection is Catholics in the Movies>, it is in fact about so much more than Catholics and movies, encompassing a range of subjects that bear on religious life in US history including race and gender, immigration and sexuality, fear and power. McDannell and the other writers bring Catholic history to light, but they also illuminate a much wider cultural field with compelling, insightful results. * Gary Laderman, Chair and Professor, Department of Religion, Emory University * Colleen McDannell has brought together an all-star cast of scholars to examine what happened when American Catholics went to the movies, what happened to them and to the movies. Movie screens were an extension of the streets and shrines of the American church, where Catholics struggling with the hard realities of American life encountered their deepest fears and wildest dreams. This fabulous book makes it clear that going to the movies was as formative of American Catholicism as going to church. * Robert Orsi, author of The Madonna of 115th Street and Thank You, Saint Jude *show more

About Colleen McDannell

Colleen McDannell is Sterling M. McMurrin Professor of Religious Studies and Professor of History at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She is the author of Picturing Faith: Photography and the Great Depression, Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America and Heaven: A History.show more

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