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Film Genre

Hollywood and Beyond

Barry Langford


Film Genre: Hollywood and Beyond provides a detailed account of genre history and contemporary trends in film genre, alongside the critical debates they have provoked. The book ranges widely across the field, dealing separately and in detail with not only classic genres - including the Western, the musical, the war film, the gangster film, and film noir - but also more recent trends such as body-horror, Holocaust film, and the action blockbuster. Throughout the book, genre is presented as a constantly evolving phenomenon. Writing in a sophisticated yet accessible style, Barry Langford shows how notions of genre help shape the ways that filmmakers, critics and audiences view films and how the often complex scholarly debates around genre reflect important differences in the ways cinema is understood in relation to its social and historical contexts. The book encourages students to interrogate and broaden received ideas about genre.

Key Features

  • Key text suitable for both undergraduate and advanced students
  • Detailed close analyses of key films (including The Matrix, Saving Private Ryan and Singin' in the Rain)
  • Comprehensive bibliography and guide to further reading
  • Up-to-date and theoretically informed


1. Who needs genres?
2. Before Genre: Melodrama
Part One: Classical Paradigms
3. The Western: Genre and History
4. The Musical: Genre and Form
5. The War/Combat Film: Genre and Nation
6. The Gangster Film: Genre and Society
Part Two: Transitional Fantasies
7. The Horror Film
8. The Science-Fiction Film
Part Three: Post-Classical Genres
9. Film Noir
10. The Action Blockbuster
11. Genre: Breaking the Frame
(i) Documentary
(ii) Holocaust Film
(iii) Pornography
12. Conclusion: Transgenre?.

About the Author

Barry Langford is Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of Film Genre: Hollywood and Beyond (Edinburgh University Press, 2005) and Teaching Holocaust Literature and Film (with Robert Eaglestone, Palgrave Macmillan 2007), and has published on a wide variety of subjects in film and media studies and critical theory, including Holocaust film, Chris Marker's politics, revisionist Westerns, exilic identity in European city films, narrative temporalities in The Lord of the Rings, and British television situation comedy. His original short screenplay Torte Bluma was filmed in 2005 and premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival, going on to win awards at international festivals.


The author offers a hugely impressive yet concise account of genre theory, cycles and contemporary reportage - from Hollywood and beyond… Langford's book is a majextically informed achievement and a prodigiously detailed production.
- SCOPE: An Online Journal of Film Studies
Film Genre presents a thoroughgoing historical analysis, addressing the history of film production, the history of style, the history of individual genres and the history of genre criticism for each genre.
- Film International