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Back to the FiftiesNostalgia, Hollywood Film, and Popular Music of the Seventies and Eighties$
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Michael D. Dwyer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199356836

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199356836.001.0001

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Rereading American Graffiti

Rereading American Graffiti

2 (p.45) Rereading American Graffiti
Back to the Fifties

Michael D. Dwyer

Oxford University Press

This chapter uncovers the Countercultural origins of the Fifties nostalgia wave. Attention to the early career of Fifties revival band Sha Na Na (particularly their performance at Woodstock) and the 1973 release of American Graffiti (produced by the New Hollywood collective American Zoetrope) reveals how Fifties nostalgia functioned as pastiche before its association with Reagan. This history is rendered invisible by contemporary accounts of the film—though it was produced and originally understood as part of the “New Hollywood,” with its attendant values of aesthetic experimentation and progressive politics, George Lucas’s film is now considered in retrospect to be a prelude to the blockbuster era, with its associated values of commercialism and conservatism. The literal and figurative packaging of Fifties nostalgia is made visible in promotional materials that accompanied the film’s multiple reissues and rereleases on various formats and in various editions.

Keywords:   American Graffiti, New Hollywood, nostalgia, Sha Na Na, Woodstock, pastiche

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