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  • Hollywood Ascendant: American Films in Hungary in the 1970s

    Hungarian cultural policy makers denied Hungarian viewers access to American films between 1949 and 1956. Hollywood movies were publicly shown again behind the Iron Curtain from 1957 in spite of hostile American–Hungarian bilateral relations after the crushing of the Revolution of 1956. The de-Stalinized cultural policy of Hungary allowed for one third of the films released in Hungarian cinemas to come from capitalist countries. In the 1970s the United States became the largest non-socialist film exporter to Hungary and Hollywood export “sky-rocketed” at the end of the decade. The annual purchase of thirteen to twenty-nine American films still made it possible to apply ideological filters; however, only a part of the films released in Hungary could be regarded as useful in representing negative social trends in the United States. The majority of Hollywood movies screened in Hungary should rather be labeled as entertaining, and these served leisure on one hand and financial considerations on the other. Entertainment was recognized as a legitimate demand of the public after 1956 and the program of the cinemas had to be supplemented from Western sources. In the 1970s Hollywood became the number one Western movie entertainer in communist Hungary. The narrowing budgetary sources of cultural policy and the need for self-financing also paved the way for this tendency. (RT)

  • Representation of Young People in British Films Set in Coastal Resorts

    This article examines representations of young people in three recent films set in British seaside resorts: Jellyfish (2018), directed by James Gardner Vs. (2018), directed by Ed Lilly, and Eaten by Lions (2018), directed by Jason Wingard, in light of the fact that in the past few decades resorts have been seen as places from which young people try to escape, rather than go to.  My essay shows how the experience of those who visit the resorts is different from that of those who live there. It considers the production values, characters, stories, and locations of these films, drawing on secondary research on coastal resorts and their cinematic representations, Erving Goffman’s taxonomy of spaces into “front” and “back regions,” and Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of the carnivalesque. The article also links the representation of the resort itself to wider discourses about England, class, and race. (EM)

  • The Seaside Resort as Entrapment and Escape in British Cinema

    British cinema has portrayed seaside resorts throughout its history with much dedication. Films featured both residents and visitors, the providers and the consumers of the seaside experience decade after decade by focusing on the synergies between space and identity. This article explores Brighton Rock (John Boulting, 1948), The Entertainer (Tony Richardson, 1960), The Birthday Party (William Friedkin, 1968), Quadrophenia (Franc Roddam, 1979), Bhaji on the Beach (Gurinder Chadha, 1993), and Last Resort (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2000) as representative examples of how the motifs of escape and entrapment—as manifested in the pursuit of various imaginations, ideals, rites of passage and identity quests—changed through the decades that also saw a gradual decline in the popularity of seaside resorts. The fading reputation and eroding image of resorts is analyzed parallel with the identity crises of characters entrapped in subcultural, diasporic, and migrant environments. (ZsGy)

  • Screen Writing the Border: Eugene McCabe, RTÉ, and the Victims Trilogy

    This essay explores the images and settings of the border narratives in Eugene McCabe’s television screenplays for his Victims trilogy, a three-part series broadcast by RTÉ in 1976. The series was based on McCabe’s own short stories, “Cancer,” “Heritage,” and “Victims”—which became known as the “Fermanagh trilogy”—written separately in the 1970s but published collectively as Christ in the Fields (1993). The essay argues that living on and writing out of his borderlands farm, near Clones, Co. Monaghan, McCabe experienced a condition that I term “borderliness,” which is structured into his writing about this area and the region more widely. I identify this condition by the presence of four thematic tropes that echo and interlace with each other across his screenplays. Making use of archival research in RTÉ, the essay analyzes draft script and screen realization, and supporting production material, focusing on the central, pivotal episode, Heritage, before it reaches its conclusion by drawing on adaptation theory and the conceit of the palimpsest to compare the screenplay and prose fiction versions. (LP)

  • Netflix and the American Prison Film: Depictions of Incarceration and the New Prison Narrative in Ava DuVernay’s 13th (2016)

    The essay examines the complexities of America’s penal system through the lens of prison films and the recurrent representations of incarceration on screen. Following an introduction about America’s penal system, Mass Incarceration, and the enforcement of systemic racism through the Prison Industrial Complex, the analysis focuses on the images of confinement in movies. An overview of traditional narratives on prison is offered to highlight the main characteristics of the ambiguous and challenging genre of the prison film, while a closer look at one of its contemporary examples, Ava DuVernay’s 13th (2016), sheds light on how the presence of Netflix and the innovative narrative strategy employed to portray the complexities of confinement represent a new form of prison film—one that abandons a Hollywoodesque approach in favor of a documentaristic strategy, and, through its distribution on Netflix, reaches its target audience. The analysis conclusively demonstrates how Netflix has changed and challenged the way we see prisons on screen, and how, as DuVernay’s docufilm shows, it has posited the tangled question of race so that the viewer can understand the functioning of the modern prison. By way of conclusion, the essay demonstrates that the new prison film, shifting toward distribution on Netflix as a mode of audience registration, clearly manifests a strategy to instruct American public opinion on race and the criminal justice system. (BMF)

  • Editor's Notes


  • Introduction

    Introduction to the Special Thematic Block: British Seaside Resorts and Their Representation in Literature and Cinema

  • Friendly Encounters with Literary Animals

    Book review:

    McHugh, Susan, et al., eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Animals and Literature. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021. 636 pages. ISBN 978-3-030-39772-2. E-book. €117.69.

  • Editor’s Notes

    Editor’s Notes

  • A Note on Hallucinatory Film

    Comparisons between hallucinatory films of the 1960s and 2000s show a conversion of the earlier utopian signifiers from benign fields of intoxicating color that celebrate and induce psychic bliss, into high-definition alarm bells for a world imploding from accelerated hyperconsumption. Paranoid, conspiracy-driven 70s commercial cinema, which appropriates editing techniques from earlier experimental films, marks a threshold of disenchantment. The entropic model of 60s hallucinatory works by Stan Brakhage, Carolee Schneemann, and others, where film material and abstract imagery are modified analagous to the intensification of bodily pleasures, is digitally exacerbated in high-definition videos of Heather Phillipson, Ed Atkins, and Benedict Drew as if collapsing under environmental and psychic degradation. This later work maximizes hallucinatory HD properties through relentlessly overlaying imagery of interpenetrating, deflating, and exploding bodies that are avatars of overindulgence, the nightmarish uncanny descendants of 60s utopian intoxications. (MH)

  • Acknowledging Hybridity

    Book review:

    Oliete-Aldea, Elena. Hybrid Heritage on Screen: The “Raj Revival” in the Thatcher Era. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. ix + 227 pages. ISBN 978-1-137-46396-8. $95.00.

  • Through A Xenophobic Lens: Degeneration Theory in W. Christy Cabanne’s Martyrs of the Alamo

    At the turn of the twentieth century, social theories developed in both the U.S. and Europe suggested that those at the top, or those most well endowed with good genetics, would stay that way, while those with poor genetics had little hope of changing their circumstances.  Degeneration theory, as this concept was called when it took root in the United States from the late 1890s, before it had evolved to formally become eugenics in the 1910s, and beyond. While eugenics offices opened in Berlin in 1905, in England in 1907-08, and in the United States in 1910, there were many forms of it, including degeneration theory. What bound all the theories together was the notion of biology and heredity.

                Westerns like Martyrs of the Alamo became a vehicle to explore these concerns because they inundated everyday Americans with illustrations of national identity. Films like these often mixed fantasy with ideology. This is clearly evident in W. Christy Cabanne’s anti-Mexican sentiment in Martyrs of the Alamo. Examining Cabanne’s film through the lens of degeneracy theory provides a greater understanding of American social concerns in the 1910s. These concerns, characterized by xenophobic depictions of immigrants, particularly Mexicans, culminated in the linking of immigrant bodies and disease with heredity and genetics, namely through theories of degeneration . Cabanne’s Martyrs of the Alamo suggests, through the reproduction of the conflict surrounding the Alamo Mission, that the alternative to “race suicide” is a fantasy of American heroism, collectivism, and cultural exclusion. (SS and TZCS)

  • Surveil and Let Surveil

    Book review:

    Flynn, Susan, and Antonia McKay, eds. Spaces of Surveillance: States and Selves. London: Palgrave, 2017. 278 pages. ISBN 9783319490847. Hb. $139.99.

  • Murder Legendre’s Dead: How White Zombie Challenges Critical Influence and Reinforces Racial Anxieties

    How does a film achieve success with audiences, and what factors influence that success? Victor Halperin’s 1932 horror film White Zombie was derided by critics at the time of its release, while at the same time attaining financial victory at the box office. As such, White Zombie serves as a key source for exploring these critical questions. This analysis of the evolution of White Zombie’s reception from the 1930s to the present through the study of archival documents reveals the influential role advertising—specifically advertising that taps into cultural fascinations and anxieties—has over critical reviews. This is found to be especially true within the B-film horror genre, with its tendency to draw a cult following despite its lack of technical mastery, providing a larger commentary on what the public values in horror films. (HL)

  • Disruptive Domesticity in Shakespearean Drama

    Book review:

    Whipday, Emma. Shakespeare’s Domestic Tragedies: Violence in the Early Modern Home. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2019. 262 pages. ISBN 9781108474030. Pbk. £29.99

  • Never Letting Go: Ways of (Mis)remembering and Forgetting in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Novels

    Book review:

    Drąg, Wojciech. Revisiting Loss: Memory, Trauma and Nostalgia in the Novels of Kazuo Ishiguro. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014. 211 pages. ISBN 1-4438-6057-3. Hb. £47.99.