Pictures at a Revolution

Mark Harris

If you’re old enough to have seen Bonnie and Clyde when it first hit theaters in 1967, you may recall how revolutionary it seemed at the time. The vividness of its violence, the Flatt and Scruggs bluegrass soundtrack, and the vaguely anti-capitalist subtext all seemed to capture the increased disaffection of those times. Pictures at a Revolution takes readers on a return trip to those thrilling days of yesteryear, a time when lots of people—especially young people—took movies seriously in a way few people did before, or have since. For that generation, film was where the action was, where the culture was either being shaped or reflected. Movies like Bonnie and Clyde were a way of connecting with that energy. Author Mark Harris profiles and analyzes four other films from that time in this most readable book. In the Heat of the Night, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Dr. Doolittle are all held up to scrutiny for what each film tells us about changing popular tastes in the late ’60s. As Dylan said, the times they were a changin’, and Harris’ book reminds us of just what those changes were and how they registered on American and world movie screens.