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Benton, R.J. (1990). Psychiatry and the Cinema by Krin Gabbard and Glen O. Gabbard Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987, xx + 304 pp., $24.95. Psa. Books, 1(3):344-348.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Books, 1(3):344-348

Psychiatry and the Cinema by Krin Gabbard and Glen O. Gabbard Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987, xx + 304 pp., $24.95

Review by:
Robert J. Benton, Ph.D.

This book attempts to come to terms with the long, complicated, and fascinating interrelationship between Hollywood movies and psychiatry: There are over 250 Hollywood films in which a psychiatrist appears; and psychological analyses of films date back to the 1920s. Consequently, there is enormous ground to be covered, so the book can be forgiven a certain diffusion of focus, the more so since it is well written and thought provoking.

The problem of focus is manifested already in the division of the book into two parts: Part 1 deals with Hollywood's depiction of psychiatrists; and Part 2 presents psychoanalytic readings of selected films. Either of these topics could easily be the subject of a hefty volume, and it is not clear why they have been combined into one book except that they represent the areas of interest of the authors, two brothers, one a psychiatrist and one a literature and film professor. The combination of their different fields of expertise makes the brothers an ideal team to deal with this interesting topic, but it takes its toll in the difficulties it poses for presenting an integrated work.

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