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Michael Eberle-Sinatra

Movies speak mainly to the eyes. Though they started talking in words some seventy years ago, what they say to our ears seldom overpowers or even matches the impact of what they show us. This essay proposes to read one more time the issue of homosexuality in Mary Shelley‘s first novel, Frankenstein. In order to offer a new angle on the homosexual component of Victor Frankenstein‘s relationship with his creature when next teaching this most canonical Romantic novel, this essay considers Shelley‘s work alongside four film adaptations: James Whale‘s 1931 Frankenstein, Whale‘s 1935 The Bride of Frankenstein, Richard O’Briens 1975 The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Kenneth Branagh‘s 1994 Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein. These films present their audience with original readings of their source material, readings that can be questioned with regards to their lack of truthfulness to the original works themes and characters.

Gothic Studies
On Theatrical Culture, Oscar Wilde and Ernst Lubitsch‘s Lady Windermeres Fan
Charles Musser

The cinema is as much a theatrical form of entertainment as performance on the stage, a fact that is crucial to a full appreciation of Ernst Lubitsch‘s Lady Windermere‘s Fan (Warner Brothers, 1925). Particularly in the cinemas silent era (1895-1925), when motion picture exhibition relied on numerous performance elements, theatrical performance and film exhibition interpenetrated. This underscores a basic conundrum: cinema has been integral to, and an extension of, theatrical culture, even though it has also been something quite different - a new art form. Indeed, the unity of stage and screen was so well established that critics, theorists, historians and artists expended large amounts of intellectual energy distinguishing the two forms while paying little attention to what they held in common. One fundamental feature of theatrical practice that carried over into many areas of filmmaking was adaptation. For Lubitsch, adaptation was a central fact of his artistic practice. This article looks at the history of adaptations of Lady Windermere‘s Fan on stage and screen making reference to textual comparisons, public reception, painting, symbolism and queer readings.

Film Studies
T.K. Ralebitso-Senior, T.J.U. Thompson, and H.E. Carney

In the mid-1990s, the crime scene toolkit was revolutionised by the introduction of DNA-based analyses such as the polymerase chain reaction, low copy number DNA analysis, short-tandem repeat typing, pulse-field gel electrophoresis and variable number tandem repeat. Since then, methodological advances in other disciplines, especially molecular microbial ecology, can now be adapted for cutting-edge applications in forensic contexts. Despite several studies and discussions, there is, however, currently very little evidence of these techniques adoption at the contemporary crime scene. Consequently, this article discusses some of the popular omics and their current and potential exploitations in the forensic ecogenomics of body decomposition in a crime scene. Thus, together with published supportive findings and discourse, knowledge gaps are identified. These then justify the need for more comprehensive, directed, concerted and global research towards state-of-the-art microecophysiology method application and/or adaptation for subsequent successful exploitations in this additional context of microbial forensics.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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Narrative Strategies in Lochhead‘s Dracula
Anne-Kathrin Braun

Adapting a novel for the stage is no easy task, especially if the novel in question is as famous and omnipresent as Bram Stoker‘s Dracula. Seven years prior to Francis Ford Coppola‘s box office hit, the Scottish poet and playwright Liz Lochhead wrote a version of the vampire saga which not only successfully translates the technical complexities of Stoker‘s text into the difficult medium of the theatre, but also offers a careful reading and contemporary evaluation of the subversive potential of the novel. In her adaptation, the fundamental dilemma of subjectivity and otherness becomes visible and demonstrates why Stoker‘s creation keeps fascinating readers, film audiences and critics alike.

Gothic Studies
Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany‘s and Hollywood
Peter Krämer

This essay examines some of the literary and biographical models Truman Capote drew on in the creation of Holly Golightly, the heroine of his 1958 novella Breakfast at Tiffany‘s. Making use of Paramount studio records, the essay also explores the complex process of adapting the story to the big screen. Numerous changes were made so as to transform Capotes story into a romantic comedy, and thus to contain Holly‘s liberated sexuality while also erasing any doubts about the male protagonists heterosexuality. Casting Hepburn as the female lead helped to neutralize Holly‘s sexual transgressiveness, and it sexualized the stars ethereal persona.

Film Studies
Adaptation, Dürrenmatt, and The Pledge
Gary Bettinson

In Sean Penn‘s crime thriller The Pledge (2000), a crucial stage of story action is determined by a purely chance event. Neither prefigured by narrative signposting nor sutured into the films system of causation, the chance event both mystifies the fictive agents and distresses audience expectation. This essay explores the issues at stake in the films reliance on chance action, arguing that its usage represents a significant risk on the part of the dramaturgist. Moreover, the essay examines the alterations that the film makes in Friedrich Dürrenmatts source novel, and considers the ways in which these alterations radically transform the effects created by the story‘s chance event.

Film Studies
Collaborating with James Baldwin on a Screenplay of Giovanni’s Room
Michael Raeburn

The author discusses his personal relationship with James Baldwin, recounting their collaboration on a film script for an adaptation of Giovanni’s Room.

James Baldwin Review
Censorship, Representation, Adaptation and the Persisting Myth of Pre-Code Hollywood
Steve Neale

This article deals with the issues of censorship, adaptation and representation at stake in the 1931 and 1940 versions of Waterloo Bridge, both of which were based on a 1929 stage play. In doing so it examines the representation of female prostitution and the extent to which the trope of the fallen woman is evoked. Contesting the notion of Pre-Code films, it also examines the impact of the 1930 Production Code, the modifications to its implementation in 1934, the ways in which censorable words and actions were handled in the 1931 and 1940 versions, and the extent to which class became a major factor.

Film Studies
Julius Caesar
Maria Wyke

In studio publicity, trade papers, reviews, articles, and educational materials, Joseph L. Mankiewiczs Julius Caesar (1953) was described and accepted as a faithful and mostly pleasing adaptation of Shakespearean drama to the Hollywood screen. As Variety accurately predicted, it achieved four Oscar nominations, one award for art direction and set decoration, high grosses, a hit soundtrack album, and several subsequent revivals. With the content more or less given, contemporary discussion focussed closely on how the verbal had been visualised, on how theatre had been turned into cinema – in short, on the film‘s style. It is with contemporary and subsequent readings of the film‘s style that this article is concerned, where, following David Bordwell, style is taken to mean ‘a films systematic and significant use of techniques of the medium’. But whereas Bordwell analyses film style directly in terms of an aesthetic history he considers to be distinct from the history of the film industry, its technology, or a films relation to society, I explore interpretations of one film‘s style that are heavily invested with socio-political meaning. If, in Bordwell‘s organic metaphor, style is the flesh of film, these readings of style explicitly dress that flesh in socio-political clothing. This analysis of Julius Caesar, then, is not another contribution to debates about adaptation, theatre on film, or Shakespeare on screen, but about the politics of film style.

Film Studies
Baldwin, Racial Melancholy, and the Black Middle Ground
Peter Lurie

This article uses Baldwin’s 1949 essay “Everybody’s Protest Novel” to consider that literary mode’s corollary in the 1990s New Black Cinema. It argues that recent African American movies posit an alternative to the politics and aesthetics of films by a director such as Spike Lee, one that evinces a set of qualities Baldwin calls for in his essay about Black literature. Among these are what recent scholars such as Ann Anlin Cheng have called racial melancholy or what Kevin Quashie describes as Black “quiet,” as well as variations on Yogita Goyal’s diaspora romance. Films such as Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) and Joe Talbot and Jimmy Fails’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) offer a cinematic version of racial narrative at odds with the protest tradition I associate with earlier Black directors, a newly resonant cinema that we might see as both a direct and an indirect legacy of Baldwin’s views on African American culture and politics.

James Baldwin Review