At the Academy Awards Ceremony of 1967, In the Heat of the Night took the Best Picture Oscar. It won out of a list of five nominees that also included Bonnie & Clyde, Doctor Dolittle, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and The Graduate. It marked a pivotal moment in Hollywood's history: the shift from the studio-generated epics, musicals and westerns - as represented by Doctor Dolittle - to a director-centred, self-consciously European aesthetic of style over content, as demonstrated by the anti-hero worshipping of Bonnie & Clyde and the subversive sexual politics of The Graduate. It represented the birth of the New Hollywood. In Scenes from a Revolution, Mark Harris has written the story of these five films, from the first drafts of the scripts to their impact on release. He has interviewed many of the key players at the time, including Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, Arthur Penn and Mike Nichols, to fashion a superb book about Hollywood and the USA at a critical juncture in its history. At the heart of the book is the star of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night, Sidney Poitier, who struggled to appease the emergent militant wing of the civil rights movement just as he literally struck out for the black community in his seminal performance as Mister Tibbs. Lucid, masterfully constructed and persuasively argued, Scenes from a Revolution is the key text of a vital period in the development of Hollywood, and the films that came to reflect the countercultural thirst for change at the end of a decade.
Mark Harris graduated from Yale University in 1985 with a degree in English. In 1989, he joined the staff of Entertainment Weekly, a magazine published by Time Inc. covering movies, television, music, video and books. Mark worked on the staff of the magazine, first as a writer and eventually as the editor overseeing all movie coverage, from its launch in early 1990 until 2006. He now writes a column for the magazine called The Final Cut. He lives in New York City with his partner, the playwright Tony Kushner.