Pictures at a Revolution
“Pictures at a Revolution is probably one of the best books I've ever read in my life.” —Quentin Tarantino
The New York Times bestseller that follows the making of five films at a pivotal time in Hollywood history
In the mid-1960s, westerns, war movies, and blockbuster musicals like Mary Poppins…
Why read it?
3 authors picked Pictures at a Revolution as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
Harris focuses on Oscar night 1968 as four of the five films nominated for Best Picture evinced Hollywood’s reluctant affirmation of the American counterculture. These “pictures at a revolution,” as he terms them—Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and the Oscar winner In the Heat of the Night—signaled a necessary industry re-think, away from bloated old-Hollywood blockbusters (like Dr. Dolittle, the fifth nominee) and towards something more politically savvy and more hip. Harris does well to chronicle the backstage/behind-the-scenes histories of all five of these films.
This is a richly layered book that stacks stories upon stories, as if they were Russian nesting dolls. Using five films that were nominated for the 1967 Best Picture Oscar, Harris dissects a waterfalling cascade of cultural trends happening in America at that time—all of them somehow revealing themselves in these five movies. At the core of this book is a story about generational change, as old Hollywood was ushered out the door and new creative types took over the industry.
Even if Mark Harris wasn’t my former editor I would maintain that he is the smartest and most insightful journalist writing about movies today. And the evidence was there right out of the gate with his first book, Pictures at a Revolution, which chronicles the making of the five films nominated for the 1967 Best Picture Oscar. That story alone would be compelling, but what makes Harris’ tale truly great is how he uses these five films (Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and Dr. Doolittle)…
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