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Anne Young

Chris Baldick and Robert Mighall have argued rather convincingly that ‘Gothic Criticism’ is in need of an overhaul. I revisit their controversial article through an analysis of Oscar Wilde’s parody of the Gothic and of scholarship, ‘The Portrait of Mr W. H.’ In this tale of creative criticism, Wilde’s hero, Cyril Graham, invents the character of Willie Hughes to prove a theory about Shakespeare’s sonnets. Contrary to Baldick and Mighall, I argue that Gothic criticism might do well to take its cue from its object of study. Plunging deep into the abyss, abandoning pretentions of knowing fact from fiction, natural from supernatural, I whole-heartedly - momentarily - consider the ‘Willie Hughes theory’ and ‘I will take up the theory where Cyril Graham left it and I will prove to the world that he was right’.

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
The Urban Gothic of Fin-de-Siècle London and Gotham City
Erica McCrystal

Gothic literature set in fin-de-siècle London has often been argued to highlight duality. However, the urban Gothic truly flourishes through its liminality, which allows chaos and order to coexist. Texts such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray offer versions of a Gothic London that have the appearance of structure but are difficult to navigate. Likewise, the Batman franchise has embraced Gotham City as a setting that provides tensions between order and chaos. In Gotham, as in fin-de-siècle London, liminality puts pressures on apparent boundaries. While the urban Gothic initially developed through nineteenth century British texts, modern-day comics and films within the Batman franchise have allowed us to see how a multiverse normalises liminality and embraces multiple works to speak collectively about Gothic tensions. This article analyses the liminal nature of the urban Gothic in both cities side by side to argue that the urban Gothic’s liminal nature allows instability to reign.

Gothic Studies
Open Access (free)
The Admirable Crichton and Look Back in Anger
Stephen Lacey

historical period, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (directed by Anthony Asquith in 1952). The Admirable Crichton does not signify ‘theatre’ in the way that Asquith’s film does in its opening sequence, but it offers an interesting intertextual reference to one of Wilde’s most famous characters. In Barrie’s play, Lady Brockenhurst, Mary’s prospective mother-in-law, appears only in the last

in British cinema of the 1950s
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Author: Tom Ryall

This is a comprehensive critical study of Anthony Asquith. The author sets the director's work in the context of British cinema from the silent period to the 1960s, and examines the artistic and cultural influences within which his films can be understood. Asquith's silent films were compared favourably to those of his eminent contemporary Alfred Hitchcock, but his career faltered during the 1930s. However, the success of Pygmalion (1938) and French Without Tears (1939), based on plays by George Bernard Shaw and Terence Rattigan respectively, together with his significant contributions to wartime British cinema, re-established him as one of Britain's leading film makers. Asquith's post-war career includes several pictures in collaboration with Rattigan, and the definitive adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (1951), but his versatility is demonstrated effectively in a number of modest genre films including The Woman in Question (1950), The Young Lovers (1954) and Orders to Kill (1958).

Tom Ryall

This chapter sheds light on the post-war British film industry and the turn Asquith's career took during these times. He was well established as one of the British cinema's leading directors on the basis of a diverse output: the middlebrow drama adaptations of Shaw and Rattigan, lowbrow genre films including a comedy thriller and a costume melodrama, patriotic war pictures and documentary dramas. Asquith resumed his directing career with While the Sun Shines (1947), and his next film, The Winslow Boy (1948), was a Rattigan adaptation in which he corraborated with Korda's revived London Films and British Lion. The Importance of Being Earnest, a version of Oscar Wilde's famous play from the 1890s, was his first film in colour. Asquith's genre exercises from the early 1950s, though containing much of interest – innovatory narrative structures, imaginative mise-enscène, lyricism, and poetry, the radical ideological questioning of war – remain little-known films on the periphery of the mainstream British cinema of the time.

in Anthony Asquith
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Sam Rohdie

symetrically from the young wife of the painter and, as he finishes the portrait, brings it and her to life, she, in life, dies. But this ‘life’ is purely fictional, itself only a mirror and this lure and feint is infinite. In the case of the film, that mirror is in the Nana from Renoir and the Nana from Zola and the Anna (Karina) who is the model for the artist (Godard). Her death in the film (a Hawksian death) brings her to life like Stracci’s (and Christ’s) in Pasolini’s comedy, parody, blasphemy, La ricotta (1963). And of course it brings to life Oscar Wilde’s 1891

in Film modernism
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Brian Mcfarlane

Sarris, The American Cinema: Directors and Directions ig2g-ic)68 (New York, E. P. Dutton & Co), 1968. 2 Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act Two. 3 Steve Neale, Genre (London, BFI Publishing), 1980; Thomas Schatz, Hollywood Genres (New York), 1981

in Lance Comfort
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The ‘actor’s actor’?
Andrew Roberts

fantasy London, you can believe that Charlie genuinely and almost desperately craves the vase he saw in the British Museum as a child. Melanie Williams saw one of Finch’s strengths as an actor as bringing ‘the right combination of romantic self-deception and rueful realism to his characterisation of someone falling in love despite his better judgement’ ( 2005 : 130). This applies to Make Me an Offer as much as The Trials of Oscar Wilde (Ken Hughes 1960) or Girl with Green Eyes (Desmond Davies 1963). The point at which he finally encounters the vase is a moment of

in Idols of the Odeons
Youth, pop and the rise of Madchester
Author: Steve Redhead

Madchester may have been born at the Haçienda in the summer of 1988, but the city had been in creative ferment for almost a decade prior to the rise of Acid House. The End-of-the-Century Party is the definitive account of a generational shift in popular music and youth culture, what it meant and what it led to. First published right after the Second Summer of Love, it tells the story of the transition from New Pop to the Political Pop of the mid-1980s and its deviant offspring, Post-Political Pop. Resisting contemporary proclamations about the end of youth culture and the rise of a new, right-leaning conformism, the book draws on interviews with DJs, record company bosses, musicians, producers and fans to outline a clear transition in pop thinking, a move from an obsession with style, packaging and synthetic sounds to content, socially conscious lyrics and a new authenticity.

This edition is framed by a prologue by Tara Brabazon, which asks how we can reclaim the spirit, energy and authenticity of Madchester for a post-youth, post-pop generation. It is illustrated with iconic photographs by Kevin Cummins.