Browse

Andrew Spicer

The shift from contract to freelance stardom is the conceptual focus of Chapter 4, discussing the types of role Connery was able to negotiate during the 1970s as a transnational star working principally in Hollywood. The chapter argues that Connery was more successful in the first half of the decade working with directors – John Boorman (Zardoz), John Milius (The Wind and the Lion), John Huston (The Man Who Would Be King) and Richard Lester (Robin and Marian) – who had the autonomy and intelligence to sense his possibilities as a star best suited to playing archetypal, mythical roles in which the Bond persona could be reworked rather than rejected. However, in the second half of the decade, Connery struggled to find appropriate roles as the studios reasserted their control, leading to a succession of undistinguished parts in mediocre films – such as Meteor (1979) – that were commercial and critical failures. The chapter also discusses two films – A Bridge Too Far (1977) and Cuba (1979) – which were flawed but contain two of Connery’s most intelligent and underrated performances. The chapter concludes with a detailed discussion of his return as Bond in Never Say Never Again (1983), another undervalued film, that was both an attempt to resurrect a flagging career and the opportunity to essay a mature Bond. Throughout, the chapter highlights the importance of Connery’s relationship with his agents and the significance of the switch from a British agent, Dennis Selinger, to an American one – Michael Ovitz and the Creative Artists Agency.

in Sean Connery
Abstract only
A risky remedy?
Sophie Vasset

‘From bog to jug: a risky remedy?’ explores the multiple representations of the dangers of the water cure. It challenges the idea that mineral waters were yet another cure-all in the quack pharmacopoeia of the eighteenth-century commercialised and competitive medical world. Relying on recent scholarship in the history of medicine, I contextualise the contemporary accusations against water doctors in eighteenth-century medicine, and I address the question of spa promotion, rooted in the relationship between commerce and medicine at the heart of the development of spa towns. In a second section, ‘waters as pharmakon’, I turn to the descriptions of water treatment as a corrosive and potentially dangerous remedy. Waters, doctors argued, were not to be taken lightly, and could have dramatic consequences on the patient’s life if their intake was not properly monitored by medical prescription. This discourse aimed at fighting the practices of self-prescription, especially the habits of the local people of drinking purging waters at smaller wells. The last section, ‘Brine, mud and dung’, focuses on the waters themselves and their literal murkiness: some drinking wells produced cloudy waters with stinking smells, and their origins could be traced in the muddy ponds of nearby swamps. Contemporary descriptions of baths and bathing facilities could be revolting. Many a watering place was satirised as a house of office, and the results of constant purging were exposed to the reader in rich scatological imagery.

in Murky waters
Abstract only
Andrew Spicer

Both Chapters 7 and 8 are less concerned with the economic aspects of Connery’s career than its cultural significance, exploring the processes through which he became an iconic star. Chapter 7 notes that very few stars achieve iconic status, building on Edgar Morin’s explanation of film stars’ mythic function. Iconicity is discussed at length because the term is used promiscuously and as an attribute rather than a process, one that is both transcendent but also deeply embedded in particular contexts. Although the chapter ranges over Connery’s entire career, its principal focus is on the 1990s when it was widely acknowledged that Connery had attained legendary status. The chapter argues that his embodiment of myth figures – such as King Arthur in First Knight (1995) – now has an emblematic status; DragonHeart (1996) was a full-length filmic homage to Connery using images from his previous films to animate the movements of the dragon that Connery voices. Both films end elegiacally, and the chapter discusses the ways in which this meshed with a succession of public accolades – including three ‘lifetime achievement’ awards, tributes, festschrifts and hagiographic documentaries – that contributed to Connery’s construction as ‘last star of Hollywood’s Golden Age’. This construction of Connery’s iconicity shows the power of cultural processes in shaping a star’s career, part of the ‘prestige economy’ that operates separately from commercial logics although the results serve to enhance a star’s status and thus the salary they can command.

in Sean Connery
Catechisms and the question of the fundamentals of the faith
Amy G. Tan

Early modern English catechisms have seen some attention from scholars, notably Ian Green; Chapter 4 builds upon, and suggests certain revisions to, Green’s conclusions. Where he sees catechetical materials as largely void of controversial content and high-level theological issues, this study suggests the opposite. From 1607–29, Bernard developed and refined a two-part catechetical method that closely aligned with what we know of his theoretical and practical goals for catechesis. Analysis of this content suggests that Bernard was willing to accept the Prayer Book catechism only when certain theological caveats were added to clarify its teachings. In 1630, however, Bernard produced an entirely new catechism, substantially different from his earlier method: and also published Good Christian Looke to thy Creede, a work largely catechetical in format and content, but which he did not title a catechism. I argue that we can explain this shift within Bernard’s ecclesiastical context, as Bishop Curll took the see of Bath and Wells and began enforcing restrictions on catechetical practice to a greater degree than his predecessors had. This suggests that the timing and the content of Bernard’s catechetical publications were influenced both by his own convictions and by pressures imposed upon him from above, with his publications in the later period demonstrating an impetus toward creative negotiation in which he actively advertised his conformity before ecclesiastical superiors and any reading audiences, yet sought innovative ways to continue providing users (including, but not limited to, his own parishioners) with catechetical materials consonant with his longstanding approach.

in The pastor in print
Andrew Spicer

How Connery tried to deal with the frustrations he experienced playing Bond is the subject of Chapter 3, which examines the same period, the 1960s and early 1970s, from the reverse perspective. It analyses in detail Connery’s attempts to gain recognition as a talented actor capable of playing a variety of roles. These included playing a defiant working-class soldier in a North African prison camp (The Hill, 1965); a Greenwich Village beat poet in A Fine Madness (1966); a western loner in Shalako (1968); a rebellious miner in The Molly Maguires (1970); and a seedy, damaged police sergeant in The Offence (1973), all of which were deliberately non-Bond roles. The chapter also provides an in-depth analysis of Marnie (1964), showing the accomplishment of Connery’s portrayal of an attractive but psychologically disturbed character, even now rarely recognised, in what is conventionally applauded – though not on its release – as a great Hitchcock film. In addition, using George Cukor’s papers, the chapter discusses an unrealised project to film an adaptation of the novel Nine Tiger Man in which Connery was to have played a sexually attractive Indian revenging himself on the imperial English, which reveals much about his image in Hollywood. The chapter demonstrates that although Connery had considerable success in winning critical recognition for his acting accomplishments, these characters failed to interest or appeal to the cinemagoing public. This shows the profound difficulties stars have in altering their persona – in Connery’s case his persona as Bond – and of gaining audience acceptance in different roles.

in Sean Connery
Abstract only
Sophie Vasset

The introduction provides a useful synthesis of the development of British spas in the long eighteenth century. It is both a preliminary reading to the chapters and a pedagogical overview of the phenomenon. It provides a map of spas in the eighteenth century specifically designed with cartographies, based on an original survey. It aims to give the reader a set of categories so they may navigate the book with a clear idea of the size and scale of spas, the various types of mineral waters and the methods of treatment, as well as an account of the chemical analyses performed. This introduction takes stock of the multiple primary sources under study, their genre and their popularity, as well as the methods implemented to interpret them. It clearly sets out the purpose of the book and gives a synthetical review of previous and current scholarship on the topic.

in Murky waters
Abstract only
Ministers and media
Amy G. Tan

The Introduction begins by providing a view of the historiographical contexts of the study and discusses prior scholarly work pointing to clerical authorship as an area ready for further examination. It then presents the paradigm of the ‘pastor-author’ as a category which provides the basis for the present study and introduces the book’s employment of a case-study methodology as a way to deeply analyse the interrelationship of clerical and authorial activities. Further, it addresses the book’s focus upon moderate puritan pastor-authors by explaining that while authorship could fit well with the religious goals and the circumstances of puritan pastors, no unique connection is suggested between puritanism and pastor-authorship; rather, this connection is a matter of framing, providing coherence to the present study. After outlining the book’s subsequent chapters, the Introduction concludes with an orientation to the life and career of Richard Bernard, whose pastoral-authorial work forms the basis of the book’s central case study.

in The pastor in print
Abstract only
Andrew Spicer

The Introduction sets out the aims and objectives of the study, which is not a biography but an exploration of film stardom. Its approach is to understand stardom as an economic, cultural and social phenomenon, a ‘mediated self’ that requires attention to the exigencies of Connery’s career as a professional actor, including his training. It argues that understanding Connery’s acting and performance, what he represented on screen, requires both close textual analysis and an examination of his films’ specific production contexts, situated within their systems of production, distribution and exhibition. The Introduction discusses the importance of his complex embodiment of national identity, arguing that through his working-class Scottishness, Connery contested the dominant images of Britishness through working as a transnational star in Britain, America and Europe which gave him a unique persona. That persona, the study contends, was mutable, and the Introduction posits that understanding stardom requires close attention to the processes through which Connery’s image was constructed and reconstructed and to the importance of an iconic, mythic dimension by which he became a ‘screen legend’. The Introduction also points to the social significance of his Scottishness, his public activism promoting the cause of Scottish independence, which was another important dimension of his stardom. The Introduction concludes by discussing the available sources, the importance of drawing on a wide range of material including archival and promotional, and the organisation of the study that combines a linear chronology with more generalised reflections on the phenomenon of stardom.

in Sean Connery
Abstract only
Patricia McManus

This chapter historicises the term ‘dystopia’ before tracing its emergence as a genre of fiction. The chapter makes an argument for using the critical theory of Theodor Adorno to understand the existence, the history and the contemporary popularity of dystopian fiction. The classic dystopia is positioned as marked by a form of negative commitment which helps us understand its political work. Adorno’s sensitivity to the situation or dilemma of language, brought about by the culture industry’s dragging of language into the exchange relation, is used to focus the novum as the signature formal feature of dystopias in the early decades of their development. The chapter asks if contemporary dystopias still operate such a novum.

in Critical theory and dystopia
Amy G. Tan

Chapter 2 demonstrates several ways that Bernard’s early-career experiences shaped his long-term relationship with the national church as well as his approach to print authorship. It highlights how returning to conformity actually strengthened Bernard’s commitment (when pressed) to abiding under the strictures of ecclesiastical superiors – something that would later influence his innovative approaches to publishing on controversial topics. More generally, it shows how his early engagement in his personal ministry and in print mutually enabled and influenced one another in the service of complementary goals both before and after his period of nonconformity. As later chapters will show, the approaches to authorship and pastoral ministry that coalesced during this formative period would reverberate through Bernard’s work for decades to come.

in The pastor in print