The importance of films in the cultural and social life of both Britain and the United States has long been recognized. Although radio survived in Britain more or less intact, by 1960 it too had taken second place to television as the prime domestic medium. This book begins by analysing the very different relationships between cinema and radio that emerged in Britain and the United States. It moves on to examine the ways in which cinema adapted radio programmes in the fields of comedy and detective fiction and then how radio dramatized films. When radio first took off in the United States in the late 1920s, it was regarded by the film industry as a rival, something to keep people at home and away from the cinema. But during the 1930s, Hollywood began to appreciate the value of radio in publicizing and promoting its films. The British broadcasting service was set up in 1922 with a monopoly and finance from a licence fee following negotiations between the Post Office, which controlled the air waves, and the radio industry, which manufactured the equipment. Radio in wartime was informational and inspirational. It provided news, entertainment, and propaganda. The book concludes with a look in detail at the ways in which the two media have dealt with three popular fictional characters, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes.
This book explores the history of swashbuckling television from its origins in the 1950s. It is the first study of one of the most popular and enduring genres in television history, the costume adventure series. Harlech Television's (HTV) Arthur of the Britons and Southern Television's The Black Arrow, which both aired in December 1972, were the first new British costume adventure series since Sir Francis Drake in 1961. The book then maps the major production cycles of the Anglophone swashbuckler both in Britain and in the United States and places the genre in its historical, cultural and institutional contexts. It analyses the cultural politics of the swashbuckler, considering how it has been a vehicle for the representation of ideologies of class, gender and nationhood. The book further shows how the success of The Adventures of Robin Hood in the 1950s established a template for a genre that has been one of the most successful of British television exports. It considers how America responded to the 'British invasion' with its own swashbuckling heroes such as Zorro. Finally, the book focuses on four British swashbucklers of the 1980s, Dick Turpin, Smuggler, Adventurer and Robin of Sherwood, that represent a distinct cycle within the genre.
The extreme profitability of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ in 2004 came
as a great surprise to the Hollywood establishment, particularly considering its
failure to find production funding through a major studio. Since then the
biblical epic, long thought dead in terms of widespread marketability, has
become a viable product. These screen texts, primarily film and television
features adapting stories from both the Old and New Testaments, have seen
production both inside and outside of Hollywood. Seeking both profits and
critical acclaim, as well as providing outlets for auteurist ‘passion projects’
such as Gibson’s film, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah (2014) and Ridley Scott’s Exodus:
Gods and Kings (2014), these texts both follow previous biblical epic
traditions, as well as appear distinct stylistically and thematically from the
biblical epic in its prime. With 2018 seeing the highly publicised release of
Mary Magdalene, an attempt at a feminist take on this controversial figure, as
well as Gibson’s announcement that he is in production on a follow-up to The
Passion of the Christ, there is no clear evidence that the steady production of
biblical media will abate anytime soon. Therefore, academic consideration of the
modern biblical epic is both timely and highly relevant. With contributions from
scholars such as Mikel J. Koven, Andrew B. R. Elliott and Martin Stollery, and a
preface from Adele Reinhartz, this collection aims to be a starting point for
initiating this discourse.
have not thought about the issues you have
raised concerning film and politics, or that I do not have an
ongoing concern about the relationship of what we call culture to
political thought. As you know, I have written fairly often on
specific films as exemplary moments in the unfolding of the American
political drama, as I have with a variety of cultural artifacts,
of human travails” (p. 71). And no
happiness or freedom, never mind democracy, can come of this.
That is the dangerous contention: there is no politics,
democratic or otherwise, when we humans give ourselves up to an
experience of aesthetic presentness that, as Diderot describes in
his Salon writings, is so intense and absorptive that it denies the
presence of others. 3
to be the passive viewer rather than the active critical
thinker invests our political and civil ceremonies with more
importance and permanence than they should really have. Our
dysfunctional society forces the protagonists to seek privacy
(whilst they may be wrong to do so, this becomes more understandable
given such a society). If we readjust the balance so that we focus
Marguerite Duras embarked on a second career as a film director in the late
1960s; by then was already a well-known and highly acclaimed novelist and
playwright. Bearing in mind this dual influence, this book presents an outline
of Duras's early life and of her later political preoccupations,
highlighting the relationship between these two dimensions and her films.
Duras's aim was to transcend the limitations of both literature and cinema
by creating an écriture filmique. Working within the 1970s French
avant-garde, Marguerite Duras set out to dismantle the mechanisms of mainstream
cinema, progressively undermining conventional representation and narrative and
replacing them with her own innovative technique. The making of Nathalie
Granger in 1972 coincided with the period of intense political activity and
lively theoretical debates, which marked the early years of the post-1968 French
feminist movement. India Song questions the categories of gender and
sexuality constructed by the patriarchal Symbolic order by foregrounding the
Imaginary. Agatha mirrors transgressive relationship and quasi-incestuous
adolescent relationship, as the film resonates with the off-screen voices of
Duras and Yann Andréa who also appears on the image-track where he represents
Agatha's anonymous brother. Her work, both in literature and in film,
distinguishes itself by its oblique, elusive quality which evokes her
protagonists' inner landscape instead of dwelling on the appearances of the
Laurent Cantet is of one France’s leading contemporary directors. He probes the evolution and fault-lines of contemporary society from the home to the workplace and from the Republican school to globalized consumption more acutely than perhaps any other French film-maker. His films always challenge his characters’ assumptions about their world. But they also make their spectators rethink their position in relation to what they see. This is what makes Cantet such an important film-maker, the book argues. It explores Cantet’s unique working ‘method,’ his use of amateur actors and attempt to develop an egalitarian authorship that allows other voices to be heard rather than subsumed. It discusses his way of constructing films at the uneasy interface of the individual, the group and the broader social context and his recourse to melodramatic strategies and moments of shame to force social tensions into view. It shows how the roots of the well-known later films can be found in his early works. It explores the major fictions from Ressources humaines to the recent Foxfire, Confessions of a Girl Gang. It combines careful close analysis with attention to broader cinematic, social and political contexts while drawing on a range of important theorists from Pierre Bourdieu to Jacques Rancière, Michael Bakhtin and Mary Ann Doane. It concludes by examining how, resolutely contemporary of the current moment, Cantet helps us rethink the possibilities and limits of political cinema in a context in which old resistances have fallen silent and new forms of protest are only emergent.
This book introduces readers to the cinema of Louis Malle. Malle needs little further preliminary discussion here. His is a body of work that most film critics around the world recognise as being one of the most productive in post-war international cinema, including as it does triumphs such as Ascenseur pour l'échafaud; Le Feu follet; Lacombe Lucien; Atlantic City USA, and Au revoir les enfants . Malle's work attracted intense public controversy, with a new Malle film being just as likely to find itself debated on the front page of Le Monde or Libération as reviewed in the film section of those newspapers. Malle's four major films of the 1970s represent a fusion of the youthful bravado and confidence of the 1950s combined with the new political questioning adopted in the late 1960s. Le Souffle au cœur, Lacombe Lucien, Black Moon, and Pretty Baby were made in relatively quick succession and each engaged in controversial and divisive themes. The book analyses Malle's political journey from the cultural right-wing to the libertarian left, to explain how Le Souffle au cœur marked a radical break with the 1950s by speaking of that era through a comic mode. It explores how Lacombe Lucien works as a film, to discuss its core rhetorical devices and what they mean today. The book also demonstrates that Malle is too complex to be explained by one theory or interpretation, however tempting its conclusions.
Coline Serreau is one of the most famous female French directors alive, not only in France but also abroad. This book is devoted not only to some relevant biographical aspects of Serreau's personal and artistic life, but also to the social, historical and political context of her debut. It deals with the 1970s' flavour of Serreau's work and more especially with the importance of politics. Taking intertextuality in its broadest sense, it assesses the strong literary influence on the tone, genre and content of Serreau's films and dramas. The book is concerned with the cinematographic genres Serreau uses. It provides a description and an analysis of Serreau's comedies, within the wider perspective of French comedies. The book also deals with the element of 'family' or community which is recurrent in Serreau's films and plays. During the 1980s, Serreau's career moved towards fiction, and she worked both for the cinema and the theatre. Serreau often underlines her family's lack of financial resources. The book considers the specificity of French cinema in the 1970s before analysing in more detail Serreau's first film. Serreau's work on stage and on big or small screens was strongly influenced by the political mood which succeeded May '68 in France. The book also discusses the idea of utopia which was the original theme of Serreau' first documentary and which is central to her first fiction film, Pourquoi pas!. Female humour and laughter cannot be considered without another powerful element: the motivation of often transgressive laughter.