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Frank Sinatra, Postwar Liberalism and Press Paranoia

Anti-Communist hysteria had a wide-ranging impact on Hollywood across the postwar period. As writers, directors and stars came under the scrutiny of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) due to the content of their films and their political activities, careers were interrupted indefinitely and Hollywood‘s ability to promote cultural change in the new era following World War II was severely hampered. Frank Sinatra‘s heavy involvement in liberal politics during this period illustrates the problems confronting the American film industry as it attempted to address the country‘s imperfections.

Film Studies
Adrian Scott and the Politics of Anti-Fascism in Cornered

Drawing on internal studio correspondence, multiple screenplay drafts and the final film, this essay reconstructs the production history of Cornered to explore the ways in which Scott both compromised with and challenged the studios expectations and interventions. I argue that although Ceplair and Englund are correct in their assessment that studio meddling shaped the films political content in significant ways, Scotts complex negotiations during the films production ensured that Cornered remained a powerfully anti-fascist film.

Film Studies
Julius Caesar

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
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Urban Spaces, Sexual Encounters and Erotic Spectacle in Tsukamoto Shinya‘s Rokugatsu no Hebi - A Snake of June (2003)

Shot in a blue washed monochrome, the city of Tsukamoto Shinya‘s A Snake of June, stages a number of highly mediated sadomasochistic sexual encounters within its public spaces. This article examines how the forms of mediation offered within the narrative by both architecture and technology as well as the mediation offered by the film‘s extraordinary blueness articulates the intimate relationship between sexuality and modernity. Following on from the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, it combines a phenomenological and dialectical approach to develop an analysis of sexual pleasure and sexual politics which can account for the embodied interaction of urban subjects and urban spaces.

Film Studies

This introduction to the Film Studies special issue on Sex and the Cinema considers the special place of sex as an object of inquiry in film studies. Providing an overview of three major topic approaches and methodologies – (1) representation, spectatorship and identity politics; (2) the increasing scrutiny of pornography; and (3) new cinema history/media industries studies – this piece argues that the parameters of and changes to the research of sex, broadly defined, in film studies reflect the development of the field and discipline since the 1970s, including the increased focus on putatively ‘low’ cultural forms, on areas of film culture beyond representation and on methods beyond textual/formal analysis.

Film Studies
The Strange History of The Robe As Political Allegory

Smith reveals the particular biases and assumptions of blacklist allegories as well as the extent to which this type of interpretation has informed the reception of 1950s films. More specifically, he addresses several questions about the validity of allegorical readings of the blacklist. Is there a basis for such allegorical interpretations? What is the place of authorial intention and audience reception in the encoding and decoding of blacklist allegories? What does this reading strategy tell us about the politics of the films makers? Does this reading strategy privilege certain meanings of the text over others of equal significance?

Film Studies
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The Films of Glasgow Corporation 1938-1978

Glasgow Corporation had been sponsoring films for almost twenty years when in 1938 its Public Health Department commissioned seven silent films. This marked new relations between the Corporation and the emerging Scottish documentary film movement and a change of approach towards the films’ audiences and the city itself. The essay traces the Corporation‘s film sponsorship from the late 1930s to 1978 when the final images of Glasgow‘s Progress, the Corporation‘s last sponsored film - on its urban renewal projects were taken. By then the Corporation had been amalgamated into Strathclyde Regional Council, the century-long social project of reform had come to an end and television had made its own documentary impact. It argues that over time Corporation films served a variety of political and institutional purposes and often prefigured the fortunes of the city and its people.

Film Studies
An Analysis of Cinenovas Management Committee Meeting Minutes, 1991–97

Cinenova was relaunched in 1991 from the pre-existing womens distributor, Circles, which had operated throughout the 1980s. In keeping with their founders feminist politics, both Circles and Cinenova were run via a non-hierarchical management structure and focused on the distribution, promotion and exhibition of films and videos made by, for and about women. As the funding and economic climate became harsher during the 1990s this organisational model was severely tested, as Cinenova‘s workers were forced to try and survive on a more commercially viable basis. This article uses Cinenova‘s management committee meeting minutes of 1991–97 to explore how its management practices impacted on its operation and effectiveness.

Film Studies
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Re-Reading European Trash Cinema (1988–98)

Discussion of the horror film fanzine culture of the 1980s and early 1990s has been dominated by an emphasis on questions around the politics of taste, considerations of subcultural capital and cultism in fan writing, and processes of cultural distinction and the circulation of forms of capital. Sconce‘s concept of paracinema has come to shape the conceptual approach to fanzines. The aim of this article is to refocus attention on other areas of fanzine production, providing a more nuanced and richer historicisation of these publications and the ways they contributed to the circulation, reception and consumption of European horror film. Focusing on the fanzine European Trash Cinema (1988–98) I propose a return to the actual cultural object – the printed zine – examining the networks of producers converging around, and writing about, Eurohorror films and related European trash cinematic forms, as well as the contents within the publication itself.

Film Studies
The Boom of 1960s–70s Erotic Cinema and the Policing of Young Female Subjects in Japanese sukeban Films

The purpose of this article is to analyse the ambivalent politics of looking and discourses of gender, class and sexuality in a variety of 1960s–70s Japanese studio-made exploitation films, known as sukeban films. It first contextualises their production within a transnational and domestic shift emphasising sex and violence in film and popular culture. The article then highlights instances where the visual, narrative and discursive articulation of non-conforming femininities flips the gendered power balance, as in the sketches that satirise men’s sexual fetishes for girls. In conclusion, it suggests to understand the filmic construction of young women’s agency, and their bodily and sexual performance, in terms of a recurring modus operandi of Japanese media that ambivalently panders to and co-constitutes youth phenomena.

Film Studies