Between 1946 and 1964 seventy-five million babies were born, dwarfing the generations that preceded and succeeded them. At each stage of its life-cycle, the baby boom's great size has dictated the terms of national policy and public debate. While aspects of this history are well-documented, the relationship between the baby boom and Hollywood has never been explored. And yet, for almost 40 years, baby boomers made up the majority of Hollywood's audience, and since the 1970s, boomers have dominated movie production. Hollywood and the Baby Boom weaves together interviews with leading filmmakers, archival research and the memories of hundreds of ordinary filmgoers to tell the full story of Hollywood's relationship with the boomers for the first time. The authors demonstrate the profound influence of the boomers on the ways that movies were made, seen and understood since the 1950s. The result is a compelling new account that draws upon an unprecedented range of sources, and offers new insights into the history of American movies.
Drawing on a unique blend of primary sources (archival records, trade press reports, interviews with filmmakers and an online audience survey as well as a large number of films), this groundbreaking study offers a fresh account of the development of mainstream American cinema since the Second World War. Hollywood and the Baby Boom focuses on the impact, on cinemagoing and film production, of dramatically increased birth rates in the United States between the mid-1940s and the mid-1960s. The complex interaction between film industry strategies and generational turnover both in the audience and among Hollywood personnel is vividly brought to life by looking closely at some of the creative personnel shaping movies and at the experiences of a wide range of viewers. Thus, this engagingly written book has a lot to say about the important role that movies have played, and continue to play, in the lives of American baby boomers. * Peter Kramer, author of The New Hollywood: From Bonnie and Clyde to Star Wars (2005) * Meticulously researched and engagingly written, Hollywood and the Baby Boom offers an insightful account of the post war generation's profound impact on American cinema. Drawing on a range ofprimary sources - from archival materials to filmmaker interviews and audience surveys - James Russell and Jim Whalley provide fresh perspective on how baby boomers have influenced Hollywood's creative and executive decisions over the past fifty years. In doing so, they not only challenge common assumptions regarding the boomers' political and aesthetic tastes, but also force us to rethink standard historical narratives associated with contemporary Hollywood cinema. * Oliver Gruner, Senior Lecturer in Visual Culture, University of Portsmouth, UK and author of Screening the Sixties: Hollywood Cinema and the Politics of Memory * Several film histories mention the baby boom and its impact on American cinema but none can claim to have examined it with the force, insight and detail of this wonderful new volume. Russell and Whalley navigate deftly through the annals of the last 70 years of Hollywood film history, which they re-read and re-write through the prism of new and exciting research materials, including interviews with filmmakers whose work has influenced that history. Hollywood and the Baby Boom reaches deep into the baby boom experience as this has shaped American cinema and as it was reflected in it, while also managing to present a complex and intricate historical account in a fresh, exciting and accessible manner. A real achievement! * Yannis Tzioumakis, Reader in Film and Media Industries, University of Liverpool, UK and author of American Independent Cinema (2017) * In this excellent contribution to film studies, Russell and Whalley demonstrate how the effects of the baby boom are crucial to the reception and production of post-war American films. By combining historical perspectives and first person interviews, Hollywood and the Baby Boom challenges long-established histories of American cinema. This is an important text in developing the field that will have will have impact and influence beyond film studies, contributing valuable scholarship to American social history. * Claire Jenkins, Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, University of Leicester, UK *