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Mandy Merck

passed before Judith Williamson challenged Muggeridge by claiming that this celebrity melodrama could actually serve the Crown and the ideology of national unity that it represents. Writing just after the protracted strike that failed to halt the closure of Britain’s coal mines in 1984, Williamson observed that the pitmen’s wives sought the Queen’s support for their cause in the belief that she cared

in The British monarchy on screen
Paul Henley

culturally exotic subject matter produced by the Edison and Lumière production companies, I consider how two commercial entertainment genres – the travel film and the melodrama set in an exotic location – constituted the cinematic crucible out of which emerged three films that are often referred to as major milestones in the history of ethnographic film: Grass , In the Land of the Head Hunters and, most important of all, Nanook of the North

in Beyond observation
Open Access (free)
The King’s Speech as melodrama
Nicola Rehling

In his review of The King’s Speech (Tom Hooper, 2010), Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw remarks that the Oscar-winning film shows ‘some cheek at presenting an English monarch as the underdog’. 1 However, although melodrama traditionally ‘sides with the powerless’, 2 it has become a common mode through which the British monarchy is represented in contemporary British

in The British monarchy on screen
Editor: Mandy Merck

Moving images of the British monarchy, in fact and fiction, are almost as old as the moving image itself, dating back to an 1895 dramatic vignette, The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots. Led by Queen Victoria, British monarchs themselves appeared in the new 'animated photography' from 1896. Half a century later, the 1953 coronation of Elizabeth II was a milestone in the adoption of television, watched by 20 million Britons and 100 million North Americans. At the century's end, Princess Diana's funeral was viewed by 2.5 billion worldwide. Seventeen essays by international commentators examine the portrayal of royalty in the 'actuality' picture, the early extended feature, amateur cinema, the movie melodrama, the Commonwealth documentary, New Queer Cinema, TV current affairs, the big screen ceremonial and the post-historical boxed set. These contributors include Ian Christie, Elisabeth Bronfen, Andrew Higson, Steven Fielding, Karen Lury, Glyn Davis, Ann Gray, Jane Landman, Victoria Duckett, Jude Cowan Montague, James Downs, Barbara Straumann, Deirdre Gilfedder, Jo Stephenson, Ruth Adams, Erin Bell, Basil Glynn and Nicola Rehling.

Open Access (free)
The Australian and New Zealand repertoires and fortunes of North American performers Margaret Anglin, Katherine Grey and Muriel Starr
Veronica Kelly

she attracted an unusual amount of favourable coverage in the Australian Catholic press.3 The stage life of Montreal-born Muriel McIver (1888– 1950), who took the stage name Muriel Starr, commenced in childhood. Although she was also professionally identified with American experience, in her case provincial touring in melodrama and musical comedy, in Australia Starr was also pointedly hailed as Canadian. No such ambiguities were applied to the San Francisco-born actor Katherine Grey (1873–1950), born Katherine Best, whose American origin and training was used in

in Stage women, 1900–50
Robert Giddings

at the bottom of the page (guillotine, tumbril, agitators, crowds, revolutionary caps); these were the very different ‘Two Cities’. A Tale of Two Cities certainly has its weaknesses, including the notorious Dickensian melodrama, sentimentality and theatricality of dialogue. It offers few well-drawn locations or striking characters. Apart from the obvious fear of public violence, it

in British cinema of the 1950s
Open Access (free)
Thomas Dumm

case of specifying the meaning of moral perfectionism – of his own coinage. And “the melodrama of the unknown woman” – again, his coinage – is a cousin, at least, to your description of the tragedy of remarriage.) There is another thing going on here in your letter to Cavell that requires at least brief attention. You seem to see Rousseau’s letter to be friendship-ending, a public

in Cinema, democracy and perfectionism
Open Access (free)
A history of authorship in ethnographic film
Author: Paul Henley

Beyond Observation offers a historical analysis of ethnographic film from the birth of cinema in 1895 until 2015. It covers a large number of films made in a broad range of styles, in many different parts of the world, from the Arctic to Africa, from urban China to rural Vermont. It is the first extensive historical account of its kind and will be accessible to students and lecturers in visual anthropology as well as to those previously unfamiliar with ethnographic film.

Among the early genres that Paul Henley discusses are French reportage films, the Soviet kulturfilm, the US travelogue, the classic documentaries of Robert Flaherty and Basil Wright, as well as the more academic films of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson. Among the leading film-makers of the post-war period, he discusses Jean Rouch, John Marshall and Robert Gardner, as well as the emergence of Observational Cinema in the 1970s. He also considers ‘indigenous media’ projects of the 1980s, and the ethnographic films that flourished on British television until the 1990s.

In the final part, he examines the recent films of David and Judith MacDougall, the Harvard Sensory Media Lab, and a range of films authored in a participatory manner, as possible models for the future.

Open Access (free)
Mandy Merck

– action adventure, costume drama, the ‘biopic’ and melodrama – with which it is portrayed in fiction film? How do these understandings shift with the international production and consumption of such fictions? What connections are drawn between royal celebrity and movie stardom? How is the deference with which the British royal family has historically been portrayed in its national media affected by the greater informality of

in The British monarchy on screen
Open Access (free)
Woman in a Dressing Gown
Melanie Williams

such mundane household items as squirting taps and button boxes. Thomas Elsasesser’s essay on family melodrama, ‘Tales of Sound and Fury’, provides a clue to another way of looking at these shots. He notes how the peculiarly vivid visuals of melodrama can portray the characters’ sublimated ‘fetishist fixations’, giving the example of Kyle Hadley in Douglas Sirk’s Written on the

in British cinema of the 1950s