3049 Experimental British Tele 16/5/07 08:02 Page 17 1 ‘Creative in its own right’: the Langham Group and the search for a new television drama John Hill The Langham Group, an experimental outfit established within the BBC in 1959, occupies an unusual position in the history of British television drama. While most accounts of the development of TV drama in Britain pay lip-service to the group’s efforts, these have mainly been written off as unsuccessful. Such a view appears to have settled into a critical orthodoxy in the early 1960s and has prevailed ever
This article reveals how screenwriter Stephen Volk‘s idea for a sequel to The Innocents (1961, Jack Clayton) became, over the course of fifteen years, the British horror film The Awakening (2011, Nick Murphy). It examines practitioner interviews to reflect on creative labour in the British film industry, while also reorientating the analysis of British horror film to the practices of pre-production, specifically development. The research reveals that female protagonist Florence Cathcart was a major problem for the project and demonstrates how the Florence character changed throughout the development process. Repeatedly rewritten and ultimately restrained by successive male personnel, her character reveals persistent, problematic perceptions of gender in British horror filmmaking.
This article focuses on the Monthly Film Bulletin, a magazine devoted to what is often regarded as the lowliest and most ephemeral form of film criticism: the film review. Studying the Bulletins publication history, with a particular emphasis on the 1970s, the article challenges the dismissal of journalistically motivated film criticism in academic discourse. It argues that the historical interest of the Bulletins late period lies in its hybrid identity, a journal of record in which both accurate information and personal evaluation coexisted as values, and in which a polyphony of individual critical voices creatively worked through a routinised reviewing practice and a generic discursive format.
British horror cinema is often excluded from critical work dealing with European horror cinema or, as it is frequently referred to, Eurohorror. This article argues that such exclusion is unwarranted. From the 1950s onwards there have been many exchanges between British and continental European-based horror production. These have involved not just international co-production deals but also creative per- sonnel moving from country to country. In addition, British horror films have exerted influence on European horror cinema and vice versa. At the same time, the exclusion of British horror from the Eurohorror category reveals limitations in that category, particularly its idealisation of continental European horror production.
Jean-Luc Godard‘s Sauve qui peut (la vie) holds a uniquely pivotal position in the directors oeuvre and provides the occasion for a case study in how he conceives and develops his works. Amongst the salient features of this process are Godard‘s invention of the ‘video-scenario’ format, enabling him to couch his ideas in visual rather than verbal form from the very moment of their inception; his desire to “look at things a bit scientifically”; and a use of commissioned and pre-existing music which lies at the very heart of his creative method.
This essay explores the influence of the theological tradition of privation theory upon Richard Marsh‘s novel The Beetle (1897). Focusing on images of ontological nothingness, corruption and uncreation, it argues that the novel employs the concept of privation both in its depiction of the supernatural Other and in its parallel interrogation of its contemporary modernity. Imagery of privation in the novel is associated not only with the Beetle itself, but with the modern urban environment and weapons of mass destruction. The essay concludes by examining the corruption of language and absence of a creative logos able to respond adequately to the privations of the modern city and industrial economy.
This essay draws on James Baldwin’s ideas on race, immigration, and American identity to examine the experience of contemporary African immigrants in the United States. More Africans have come to the U.S. since 1965 than through the Middle Passage, and only now is their experience gaining the full creative and critical attention it merits. Since becoming American entails adopting the racial norms and sentiments of the U.S., I explore how African immigrants contend with the process of racialization that is part and parcel of the American experience. Drawing on Baldwin’s idea of blackness as an ethical category, I also consider the limits of the concept of Afropolitanism to characterize the new wave of African immigrants in the U.S.
Chris Baldick and Robert Mighall have argued rather convincingly that ‘Gothic Criticism’ is in need of an overhaul. I revisit their controversial article through an analysis of Oscar Wilde’s parody of the Gothic and of scholarship, ‘The Portrait of Mr W. H.’ In this tale of creative criticism, Wilde’s hero, Cyril Graham, invents the character of Willie Hughes to prove a theory about Shakespeare’s sonnets. Contrary to Baldick and Mighall, I argue that Gothic criticism might do well to take its cue from its object of study. Plunging deep into the abyss, abandoning pretentions of knowing fact from fiction, natural from supernatural, I whole-heartedly - momentarily - consider the ‘Willie Hughes theory’ and ‘I will take up the theory where Cyril Graham left it and I will prove to the world that he was right’.
Liberty, a term dear to the Enlightenments emancipatory project, has long been a key concept in the Gothic. No branch of the Gothic more powerfully or creatively examines the complexities of the liberty question than the Gothic pharmography – a narrative chronicling drug/alcohol seduction and addiction. Drawing on three novelistic sub-genres – the Oriental tale, the imperial Gothic, and the Urban Gothic – the Gothic pharmography coalesces several distinct nineteenth-century debates – the nature of the will and liberal individualism; social oppression and conformity; urban and national degeneration; and British imperialist expansion, which involved the perceived anxiety-inducing sense of Britains growing economic dependence on the non-Western world. This essay offers an overview of the Gothic pharmography from the late eighteenth century through to the fin de siècle in Marie Corelli‘s Wormwood.
This paper explores the Gothic videogame Limbo (PlayDead, 2010) in terms of an aesthetic and conceptual precariousness and preoccupation with uncertainty that, I suggest, are particularly associated with the traumatic legacy of 9/11. It engages with Judith Butler s post-9/11 reflections in her work Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (2004) on the loss of presumed safety and security in the First World. From here, she expresses the potential for shared experiences of vulnerability to inaugurate an ethics of relationality, without recourse to investment in systems of security. I then contrast this with an alternative critical trajectory that emphasises the use-value of such systems over a desire for moral purity. This critical framework is considered in relation to the treatment of vulnerability in Limbo, through its construction of a dialogic relationship between its diegetic game-world and the formal structure of its game-system. The former is found to articulate a pervasive experience of uncertainty, whilst the latter provides a sense of security. I draw upon psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott‘s theories of play and creative living to argue that the tension between game-world and game-system in Limbo creates a model of how uncertainty can be dwelt with, through a precarious balance between the use of systems of security and disengagement from them.