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James Agee, Omnibus, and Mr. Lincoln : The Culture of Liberalism and the Challenge of Television 1952-1953 - William Hughes

James Agee, Omnibus, and Mr. Lincoln

The Culture of Liberalism and the Challenge of Television 1952-1953

Paperback

Published: 2nd August 2004
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$62.07

In 1952 CBS, in conjunction with the Ford Foundation, launched Omnibus, a remarkable experiment in television. The objective was to raise the programming standards of an emerging medium that figured to profoundly influence American life. The centerpiece of Omnibus during its inaugural season was "Mr. Lincoln," a series of five films about the early life of our foremost political icon. James Agee, the distinguished American author, was the principal creator of "Mr. Lincoln." At the time, his scripts were hailed as 'the most beautiful writing ever done for television," and even today Agee's characterization of Lincoln remains " among the finest--perhaps the finest--film about Abraham Lincoln ever made." Regrettably, this important and sensitive work, a revealing expression of American culture at mid-century, has been consigned to the archives and has not been available to the public for many years. Author William Hughes aims to keep alive Agee's neglected masterpiece, placing "Mr. Lincoln" in the context of the period's prevailing ideology (Cold War liberalism) and conveying the institutional framework in which the work originated. In addition, Hughes takes into account Agee's personal experiences, his social and political views, and his related writings (for and about film), all of which came into play when he reworked the Lincoln legend for the television age. Based on extensive archive research and an interview with Norman Lloyd, who directed the five films, this book fully documents the cultural and historical importance of "Mr. Lincoln."

Hughes has written an indispensable cultural study. He situates Omnibus and Agee himself in the context of political and corporate ideologies of the 1950s. . . . [A] fine historical and critical analysis of 'Mr. Lincoln.'--Jeffrey Couchman, author of Night of the Hunter: A Biography of a Film

Ideological context : James Agee and Cold War liberalismp. 1
Institutional context : the Ford Foundation and Omnibusp. 41
Words and images : "Mr. Lincoln" from conception to receptionp. 67
Afterword : reflections on the making of "Mr. Lincoln"p. 135
Narrative and ideology in "Nancy Hanks"p. 141
Budgeting "Mr. Lincoln"p. 145
"Mr. Lincoln" cast and production creditsp. 147
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780810851757
ISBN-10: 081085175X
Series: Studies and Documentation in the History of Popular Entertai
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 169
Published: 2nd August 2004
Publisher: Scarecrow Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.44 x 14.22  x 1.32
Weight (kg): 0.28