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Authoring Hal Ashby

Authoring Hal Ashby: The Myth of the New Hollywood Auteur

by Aaron Hunter

Aaron Hunter lectures in the Department of Media Studies at Maynooth University in Ireland. His interests include authorship in film and television, sound and music in film, and Hungarian cinema. His articles have appeared in Alphaville and the Journal of Film and Video. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Bloomsbury Academic, 2016
  • DOI:
    10.5040/9781501308468
  • ISBN:
    9781501308437 (hardback)

    9781501308451 (epub)

    9781501308444 (epdf)

    9781501308468 (online)
  • Edition:
    First edition
  • Place of Publication:
    New York
Authoring Hal Ashby
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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.