Casting fresh light on New Hollywood – one of American cinema’s most fertile eras – Authoring Hal Ashby is the first sustained argument that, rather than a period dominated by genius auteurs, New Hollywood was an era of intense collaboration producing films of multiple-authorship. Centering its discussion on the films and filmmaking practice of director Hal Ashby (Harold and Maude, Shampoo, Being There), Hunter’s work demonstrates how the auteur paradigm has served not only to diminish several key films and filmmakers of the era, but also to underestimate and undervalue the key contributions to the era’s films of cinematographers, editors, writers and other creative crew members.
Placing Ashby’s films and career within the historical context of his era to show how he actively resisted the auteur label, the author demonstrates how this resistance led to Ashby’s marginalization by film executives of his time and within subsequent film scholarship. Through rigorous analysis of several films, Hunter moves on to demonstrate Ashby’s own signature authorial contributions to his films and provides thorough and convincing demonstrations of the authorial contributions made by several of Ashby’s key collaborators.
Building on emerging scholarship on multiple-authorship, Authoring Hal Ashby lays out a creative new approach to understanding one of Hollywood cinema’s most exciting eras and one of its most vital filmmakers.