Popular Film Music and Masculinity in Action
A Different Tune
Routledge – 2015 – 184 pages
Amanda Howell offers a new perspective on the contemporary pop score, as the means by which masculinities not seen—or heard—before become a part of American cinema after World War II. Popular Film Music and Masculinity in Action considers an eclectic mix of film, from Elvis and Travolta star vehicles to Bruckheimer-produced action films, with a special focus on the work of musically-innovative directors Melvin Van Peebles, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Gregg Araki. Variously shaped by generic exchanges among contemporary music, music cultures, and film, these texts share a common an investment in male body spectacle and male difference, representations of which register both cinema’s long-standing engagement with violence and similarly body-focused pleasures of contemporary youth music.
Drawing on scholarship of popular music and the pop score as well as feminist film and media studies, Howell addresses an often neglected area of gender representation. Through her analyses of the musical construction of contemporary screen masculinity in action and other genres that share its investment in violence, she reveals the mechanisms by which the pop score has helped to reinvent gendered fictions of male empowerment for new generations.
Introduction 1. A Different Tune: Hollywood, Popular Music, and Elvis in the 1950s 2.Orchestrating Violence: Music and Masculinity in Scorsese’s Gangster Films 3. Two Worlds: Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song and the Dual Diegesiss 4. The Power Chord Goes to War: the Bruckheimer Film, Music and Militainment 5. Queering the Road Movie Soundtrack: Gregg Araki’s The Living End 6. John Travolta, A Song and Dance Man in Action Conclusion
Amanda Howell is Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities at Griffith University, Australia.