Richard Burt
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Border skirmishes
Weaving around the Bayeux Tapestry and cinema in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and El Cid
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The Bayeux Tapestry appears most often in historical fiction cinema as a prologue integrated into an opening title sequence, and, less frequently, in scenes of it being embroidered and assembled by women: Chimene in El Cid; Ophelia and other women in Hamlet; and Marian Dubois in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. This chapter discusses the ways in which the Bayeux Tapestry in cinema clarifies the limits of the dominant ways in which literary and film historicism has been thought in terms of mimetic matching between film and history or in terms of a framing effect. A close reading of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves's opening title sequence, which condenses and recuts panels of the Tapestry as a montage, helps explain how the film fails to deliver both on its ostensibly liberal politics of multicultural tolerance and as a narrative film of any consequence.

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