The introductory chapter lays out the book's major themes. It quarrels with André Bazin's argument that deep focus “democratizes the frame” and argues instead that Wyler self-consciously organized his frames to elucidate theme. While accepting Bazin's labeling Wyler as a realist, the introduction goes on to consider the social dimension of his films and the ways in which they illuminate the major social issues of his times, most notably, the Depression, World War II, and HUAC.
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