Lyons Press

Connecticut in the Movies: From Dream Houses to Dark Suburbia - Hardcover Book

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Illeana Douglas has long been known for shining new light on forgotten films. Now the celebrated actress and film historian turns her focus to a heretofore unrecognized brand: the Connecticut movie! Told from the passionate perspective of the author who grew up here, and filled with behind-the-scenes stories as well as her own personal snapshots of the places where these films were made, Illeana takes the reader on a cinematic road trip through Hollywood history and Connecticut geography, bringing the breezy, intimate, knowledgeable writing style acclaimed by reviewers of her first book, I Blame Dennis Hopper (2015).

Illeana defines how the perception of on-screen Connecticut, originally created in Hollywood, has shifted more than that of any other New England state over the decade and offers some surprising conclusions about just what it means to be a “Connecticut movie.”Films from Hollywood’s Golden Age, such as Theodora Goes Wild, Bringing Up Baby, and Christmas in Connecticut, presented Connecticut as an antidote to the metropolis—a place where you could find your true self. The slogan “Come to Peaceful Connecticut” not only led to Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, but to an exodus of urban moviegoers seeking their dream houses. In post-war America, Gentleman’s Agreement challenged Connecticut’s well-cultivated image, as did the suburban malaise of The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit, and contemporary takes on dark suburbia like The Swimmer,The Ice Storm, and RevolutionaryRoad. From Sherlock Holmes to Mystic Pizza to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; from horror in The Stepford Wives to historical in Amistad; picturesque in Parrish, to perverse in The Secret Life of An AmericanWife, the Constitution State has been the background for surprisingly over 200 feature films, yet these cinematic contributions have long gone unrecognized; until now. Connecticut in the Movies is not only a keepsake for denizens of the state, but a valuable resource for film buffs everywhere.