Editor’s Picks

Spring 2021

Yannis Tzioumakis, “Major Status, Independent Spirit: The History of Orion Pictures (1978–1992)

Arthur, 1981

Excerpt: “Between 1978 and 1982 Orion Pictures produced 23 films for Warner. From the first in-house production of A Little Romance to the extremely successful Arthur (1981), Orion delivered only two hits, 10 (1981) and Arthur (both vehicles for Dudley Moore with rentals of $37 and $42 million, respectively), whereas it recorded six moderate hits (including John Boorman’s Excalibur) and saw 15 films lose money at the American box office (Hanson 1985, p. 25). With the above results hardly demonstrating a high-fly start for Orion or substantial profit for Warner, both partners in the venture felt that the arrangement was not working out. In fact, shortly after Orion had passed on Raiders of the Lost Ark, Krim sent a memo to his partners explaining that the risks in the filmmaking business had become considerably more substantial for companies that were not in the distribution business, so much so that only if a film company possessed an extensive library of titles, could it then aspire to remain competitive in the long run.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Stuart Richards, “Reawakening in Yoorana: Glitch and the Australian Gothic film

Excerpt:Glitch differs from Les Revenants by linking these characters’ secrets and regrets directly to Australia’s history. The narratives of the returned characters in Les Revenants relate to individual traumas and not key historical events in France. In Glitch, Australia’s history plays a significant role in the secrets that are uncovered. This is similar to how the Southern Gothic employs narrative devices to examine social issues embedded in the cultural identity of the American South. Each returned character in Glitch has significant ties to the town and, more importantly, Australia’s history.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Anikó Imre, “Eastern Westerns: enlightened edutainment and national transvestism

Excerpt: “At the same time, the Western has also become available for a more radical subcultural deconstruction of the racist and heterosexist infrastructure of nationalism than what the all-male art world of the socialist period could conceive of. One of the most incisive examples of such an appropriation is the short film Puszta Cowboy (2004), made by the Budapest-based Lesbian Filmmaking Collective, an international group of semi-professional lesbian filmmakers. On the DVD cover, the Collective describes this parodic film as ‘the first Hungarian Lesbian-Transgender-Paprika Western, complete with horses, gunfight, goulash, and traditional Hungarian csárdás-dancing’.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Svea Becker & Bruce Williams, “What ever happened to West Side Story? Gene Kelly, jazz dance, and not so real men in Jacques Demy’s The Young Girls of Rochefort

Excerpt: “Despite the powerful intertext with West Side Story that emerges through the presence of George Chakiris, who was a part of both the Broadway and film casts, the participation of Grover Dale, who was not in the film, is every bit as evocative, and moreover carries greater weight in the creation of a gay celebrity intertext. At the time of the release of The Young Girls of Rochefort, discussions of Chakiris’ homosexuality were doubtless less common than they are today, although his gayness was most likely well recognized by sophisticated, dance‐oriented, urban audiences. Dale’s sexuality, on the other hand, was even then the stuff in which tabloids revel. Dale, who today is publicly known as a bisexual or at least as a gay man who later married, was then well recognized a friend and colleague of (bisexual) choreographer Jerome Robbins.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Winter 2021

Barbara Klinger, Pre-cult: Casablanca, radio adaptation, and transmedia in the 1940s

Excerpt: “For decades during Hollywood’s classic era, the film industry and the emergent rival medium of radio used licensing arrangements for film content – a type of inter-industry cooperation that produced the textual migration and altered narrative elements characteristic of transmedia storytelling. Radio versions of films offer only one instance of intertextuality in an older context of convergence and transmedia. However, by studying them as something more than deficient copies of an original or simple transfers of content between media, they help us to explore the role new media played in circulation and hence in a text’s continued vitality. Radio gave Casablanca a second life as an audio entity prior to its cult apotheosis – a divine status to which I now briefly turn.” Read the full article here

Antonio Lázaro-Reboll, Daring cycles: the Towers–Franco collaboration, 1968–70

Excerpt: “The commercial and cultural specificities of the series and related cycles go beyond histories of British, Spanish, European, or American cinema – as mass culture products, the Fu Manchu collaborations were distributed globally and reached international audiences. When Fu Manchu addresses his band of female assassins in the opening moments of The Blood of Fu Manchu, the film self-reflexively signals the cosmopolitan reach of this particular film and the series as a whole: ‘Each of you has a destination: Rome, Berlin, New York, Tokyo, to the ends of the Earth.’ The alliance of Towers and Franco opens up complex questions about the history and the geography of low-genre productions in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The film and cultural historian is confronted with the often confused history of their output – as individual films, series, and cycles overlap, and as patterns of distribution respond to the particular indigenous requirements of national film industries.” Read the full article here

David Stevens, Redford and Streisand: The Shifting Star Persona in 1970s Hollywood

Excerpt: “The breakdown of the Production Code could also explain the change in taste in female stars. Though some actresses would seem to belong to a bygone studio era, figures like Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde and The Thomas Crown Affair [1968] or Katharine Ross in The Graduate and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid [1969] represent a more modern woman, retaining a sense of classical beauty but exuding a more liberated sexuality and sometimes, a propensity for violence. Streisand appears to possess both the traditional appeal of a star (in her singing voice) and a modern appeal in her ordinariness, vulgarity, self-deprecation and zany humour.” Read the full article here

Emily D. Ferrigno, The Dark Side: representing science fiction in drum ‘n’ bass

Excerpt: “[T]he sheer ‘new’ feeling that dark drum & bass experienced in the 90s, as ragga styles took a backseat to raw sounds and terrifying synth patches and effects, almost begged the pairing of sci-fi samples … the chilling and eerie soundscapes used in intros sound even more ominous when paired with the right vocal sample, especially from a horror or sci-fi movie. Borgs from Star Trek, stormtroopers from Star Wars, laser gun blasts, explosions … they all fit drum ’n’ bass more than any other genre.” Read the full article here