Melodrama and mise-en-scène
in The life of mise-en-scène
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Tales of Sound and Fury' is a wide reaching essay, partly concerned with the history of melodrama as a form. It indicates the development of what one might call the melodramatic imagination', in Thomas Elsaesser's words and partly with the stylistic features of the 1950s Hollywood melodrama. Elsaesser's first model of mise-en-scene is unusual in that it incorporates sound. Elsaesser argues that one factor in the development and reception of the post war family melodrama was America's 'discovery' of Freud: 'the connections of Freud with melodrama are as complex as they are undeniable'. Elsaesser's description of the moment from Written on the Wind emphasises Robert Stack's performance. Geoffrey Nowell-Smith's article 'Minnelli and Melodrama' extends both the Freudian conceptualisation of melodramatic mise-en-scene and the positive evaluation of the breakdown of coherence.

The life of mise-en-scène

Visual style and British film criticism, 1946–78


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