Broadway, Hollywood, and the Problem with The Prom

Among all the necessary and welcome debates around identity in contemporary culture, few have been more pronounced in theatre and film than that of who should be cast to play characters of marginalised identities. From gender identity and religious beliefs to nationality and disability, this issue is occurring with increasing… Continue reading

Mending Fences: The Broken Bond between Theatre and Film

Play to film adaptations have fallen in prestige and numbers in recent years, and one of the main reasons for this is the decline in popularity of plays that can be adapted. For example, A Streetcar Named Desire was the 5th highest grossing film of 1951[i] while Fences was the… Continue reading

“Where is Thy Sting?”: Clifford Odets and the Problem of Audience

On September 6th 1936, The New York Times went to print with an article entitled: “Odets, Where is Thy Sting?”[i] Reflecting on the recent reception of Clifford Odets’s The General Died at Dawn (1936), Frank Nugent described the enthusiasm of the audiences who had come to see the Broadway playwright’s… Continue reading

Drama and Cinematic Adaptation: USSO Special Series

  The adaptation of plays into films has been a core part of Hollywood’s output in the 95 years since the introduction of sound into cinema. In this time a huge number of the cinema’s finest and best-regarded works have begun life on the stage, Broadway or otherwise. Despite this… Continue reading

Visualising the Americas: Kent’s Third Annual Americanist Symposium, Keynote Addresses

What happens when you attempt to condense thousands of words, and years of research, into a single image? This was the challenge put to attendees of the Kent Americanists Symposium in June 2019 – to find and share the single image through which an entire wider discussion could be accessed. Continue reading

Social Disorder: Publics, 1968, Amateur photography and Vivian Maier

This essay is the fourth in our series, ‘Literature, Visual Imagery and Material Culture in American Studies’. The series seeks to situate literature, visual imagery and material culture at the heart of American studies, and will explore the varying ways in which written and non-written sources have been created, politicised, exploited, and celebrated by the diverse peoples of the United States and beyond. You can find out more information here. Continue reading

Review: Ghostly, Ghastly, Corporeal and Creaturely: Tim Burton’s Curious Bodies, First International Conference on Twenty-First Century Film Directors

University of Wolverhampton

Tim Burton’s Curious Bodies (The First International Conference on Twenty-First Century Film Directors), University of Wolverhampton, 15 February 2018 The inaugural International Conference on Twenty-First Century Film Directors, organised by The University of Wolverhampton in conjunction with Redeemer University College, Ontario, focused on the films of Tim Burton. Specifically, it… Continue reading

“Exceptional Zombie Cannibals” – Antonia Bird’s ‘Ravenous’ (1999) and the discourse of American exceptionalism

In the last couple of decades, a conflict has emerged between the perception of exceptionalist rhetoric as a historical symbol of American patriotism and the much more harrowing visions pervading the present-day political stage. For a historian of the antebellum era, such as myself, “American exceptionalism” is synonymic with a post-War of Independence period when America rapidly transformed from a remote and largely unexplored land mass into a force to be reckoned with in the world arena (as noted by non-American observers at the time such as Alex De Tocqueville). Continue reading

“Coward, take my coward’s hand”: Mudbound (2017) and the legacy of Hollywood’s anti-racist returning veteran films

On a dusty, unpaved main street veteran Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund) leaves the local general store serving the outpost Mississippi Delta community near his brother’s farm. Suddenly, he drops to the ground. The noise of a car backfiring has returned him to his recent combat experience as a bomber pilot. As local men eye him suspiciously, help is offered in the form of the outstretched hand of Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell). The offer draws reproach from the onlookers for its disruption of local customs and hierarchy. It is 1946 and, while Jamie is white, Ronsel is black. Continue reading

Documenting Donald: A Trans-Media Post-Mortem about Documentary-Making during the 2016 Presidential Election

Media Coverage and the Presidential Election of 2016

‘Documenting Donald’ is a trans-media article which combines the written word with short films and interactive elements. Media elements are embedded into the article and should be activated by the reader at the appropriate place in the text. Embedded elements can be viewed within the article or as full-screen presentations. Continue reading