Postscript
Bordwell’s interventions
in The life of mise-en-scène
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In the article, David Bordwell provides an account of the history of mise-en- scene criticism and the importance of widescreen processes to those arguments. Bordwell is setting out his stall, making the case for the approaches to be expounded at length in these substantial works. Bordwell makes clear his scepticism about Movie's interest in the integration of 'how' and 'what', but this last claim overlooks the other element of the journal's organicism: coherence across a work. Strategies that operate the length of River of No Return, such as the systematic use of long takes, are a major concern of V.F Perkins's article. Bordwell appeals for a critical account of directorial decisions which refers to the 'prevailing representative norms set upon all such choices'. The most striking feature of Bordwell's 'historical poetics of Hollywood cinema' is the impoverished results which the directly stated ambitions of the method promise.

The life of mise-en-scène

Visual style and British film criticism, 1946–78

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