By James Monaco
A snapshot of Hollywood at the high noon of the American New Wave, just before it was eclipsed by the post- Jaws/Star Wars blockbuster era, James Mo-naco's American Film Now, first published in 1979, is a delightful time machine of a book showing us what was actually there before the steady encrustation of myth had taken hold. At the time, Monaco could not have known in what ways these careers would de-velop. Certain seminal movies that would seal their directors' reputations were still in development or lay in the near future. Still to come were Raging Bull (1980), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Woody Allen had just started moving away from pure comedy with Interiors (1978); Terrence Malick would vanish for 20 years after Badlands (1973); and Philip Kaufman and Walter Hill were still working largely with genre material. In between pro-files of these directors and their then-novel flavor of filmmaking, Monaco surveys the decade, examining financial structures, new business arrangements, industry power lines, and genres of filmmaking including comedy and blaxploitation. Set before the gathering storm of the 1980s industry upheavals that reordered so many of the careers under con-sideration, American Film Now packs an un-expectedly poignant retrospective punch.
Review written by John Patterson.