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The Undeclared War: Struggle for Control of the World's Film Industry [Paperback]

David Puttnam
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

3 Nov 1997
An account of the way in which Hollywood has achieved almost total sovereignty over the world's movies. It tells of a battle which has seen Hollywood establish itself as a global cultural and economic force, and in the process, devastate the national industries of many other countries.

Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New edition edition (3 Nov 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006387446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006387442
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 505,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

'The Undeclared War' is a provocative, original and wonderfully entertaining account of the way in which Hollywood seized control of the world's movie business, by one of the most articulate and controversial figures working in the industry today.

British producer David Puttnam, the only European to have run a modern Hollywood studio, provides the first comprehensive account of the struggle for sovereignty over the twentieth century's most popular and influential medium of mass culture.

It is the inside story of a battle which began with the invention of cinema in 1895 and which has raged for the last 100 years. It is a conflict which has pitted Hollywood moguls against politicians, tycoons and cultural elites the world over. Hollywood has become the advance herald of empire, its global dominance the most potent and visible symbol of the Americanisation of the world. 'Donald Duck as World Diplomat', as one American producer put it. What had started out as an economic conflict became an ideological and cultural battle too, a bitterly fought struggle for the hearts and minds of audiences across the world.

In 'The Undeclared War', David Puttnam shows just what we have gained, what we have lost, and what we still stand to lose in the battle for control of this extraordinary medium. It is a dramatic and enthralling story, one which goes to the very heart of who we are and what we wish to become.

About the Author

David Puttnam is the Oscar-winning producer of ‘Chariots of Fire’, ‘Midnight Express’, ‘Local Hero’, ‘The Killing Fields’ and ‘The Mission’. He was chairman of Columbia Pictures from 1986 to 1988, and now heads his own company, Enigma Productions. In 1995 he received a knighthood for his services to the British film industry. He divides his time between England and a home in Ireland.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Acidic analysis of the European movie industry 6 Oct 2005
For insider David Puttnam, Europe, who invented the movie, lost the movie industry battle due to external (two World Wars) but mostly internal causes.
1. Contrary to Europe, the US saw the movie industry as a totality where consistent profits were generated by control of distribution and theatres.
2. Europe didn't understand the power of marketing and of the market (the changing patterns of consumer demands)
3. the suicidal movie theorization by the left, e.g. his target man J.L. Godard, who claimed that his struggle against the commercial imperialism of Hollywood was analogous to the eternal struggles of the working class against monopoly capitalism, yet Godard was forced to acknowledge that 'workers don't come to see my films'!
4. The vanity of the European movie critics, who continued to support selfregarding movies, while the public went out in droves to see American products.
5. social causes : Hollywood had developed an outright defiance of the wishes of powerful cultural elites. The working people and the unemployed in Europe were receptive to the message that America was a place where anyone, regardless of birth or social rank, had the opportunity to acquire wealth, fame and freedom.
The way of making pictures in Europe has still not fundamentally changed since the publication of the book, but all the inter- and subventions of the EEC commission will be wasted money, unless there is a big change of mind.
Some obvious measures are needed for a revival :
- coproductions at least on an European level and, better, on a world scale (China, Japan, US). The market of each European country is too small to create a profitable movie industry.
- Collaboration with TV channels and movie theatre companies.
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