The volume offers a new method of interpreting screen adaptations of Shakespearean drama, focusing on the significance of cinematic genres in the analysis of films adapted from literary sources. The book’s central argument is rooted in the recognition that film genres may provide the most important context informing a film’s production, critical and popular reception. The novelty of the volume is in its use of a genre-based interpretation as an organising principle for a systematic interpretation of Shakespeare film adaptations. The book also highlights Shakespearean elements in several lesser-known films, hoping to generate new critical attention towards them. The volume is organised into six chapters, discussing films that form broad generic groups. Part I comprises three genres from the classical Hollywood era (western, melodrama and gangster noir), while Part II deals with three contemporary blockbuster genres (teen film, undead horror and the biopic). The analyses underline elements that the films have inherited from Shakespeare, while emphasising how the adapting genre leaves a more important mark on the final product than the textual source. The volume’s interdisciplinary approach means that its findings are rooted in both Shakespeare and media studies, underlining the crucial role genres play in the production and reception of literature as well as in contemporary popular visual culture.
In the introduction to Part II of the book, we have seen the significant impact of youth culture on filmmaking through the increased economic independence and purchasing power of teenagers, particularly since the 1990s. As a result, the teenfilm can be seen as the flagship genre of the new cinematic boom, and of particular interest for this volume, as a number of popular Shakespeare-based films discussed here have outperformed major Shakespeare adaptations at the box office, which in itself is a noteworthy achievement. 1 On the other hand, the critical
, the remedy is, of course, true love). This rejection of medical or scientific explanations in favour of a romantic solution is not entirely alien to supernatural teenfilms, as many young adult romances overwrite their science-fiction or fantasy narratives for the sake of this archetypal ending, for instance in the romantic fantasy Upside Down (2012, dir. Juan Diego Solanas).
As we could see, while Warm Bodies as a Shakespeare film may not merit in-depth textual analysis, it serves as a perfect example to illustrate the claim that instead of a fidelity
After the discussion of classical Hollywood genres and their appropriation of Shakespearean narratives, Part II of the volume investigates three genres that represent more recent colours on the cinematic palette. While the three genres included in these chapters – teenfilms, undead horror and biopics – are not regarded as classics of commercial cinema, it is undeniable that they also had antecedents either in the pre- or post-war decades of filmmaking. They have typically (re)gained popularity and thus significance in and around the 1990s, the great decade of
prospective customers a way to choose between films and help indicate the kind of audience for whom a particular movie was made.’ 9 Along these lines, we can find genres based on the age or gender of the target audience (e.g. teenfilm, woman’s film or chick-flick, family entertainment or children’s film); the theme, a favoured location or certain properties of the plot (e.g. horror, western, thriller); typical characters (e.g. gangster or superhero films); material qualities or cinematic technique (e.g. animation, film noir , expressionist film); or even the dominance