Tuesday, April 23, 2013


My reason for choosing Annie as our "pure" musical example is mostly because the film takes place during the same time period and urban setting as the gangster films we watched. You can actually imagine that just blocks from the orphanage the gangsters are meeting and plotting, after all Miss Hannigan not only makes bathtub gin, Warbucks says she's been spotted hanging out with some guy named "Little Caesar" (an obvious reference to the gangster). You will also see that the film ties nicely to the mixed genre example we will be screening. The outstanding performances by Carol Burnett, Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters, and Albert Finney (who was also one of our gangsters in Miller's Crossing) also factored into my choice.

For your blog post I'd like you to consider how the film explores the themes of the American Dream, greed, ambition, poverty and prosperity - all important ideas in the gangster genre as well. How do the musical numbers tie into the thematics of the film? And in what ways is the film an integrated musical, and does it stray into the realm of spectacle as well?

As always 400 words is the minimum - but please be sure to write until your points are proven. Post should be up by Tues, April 30th. No comments are required.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Miller's Crossing - Revisionist Gangster

Again, another straightforward blog post. 

In what ways does Miller's Crossing explore either classical or revisionist themes involving criticism of the American Dream, the effects of capitalism, and outlooks on society (this includes class and ethnic issues as well as government and business)? What other ways do the Coen brothers play with the conventions of the gangster genre, including the iconography associated with the gangsters themselves (costume, props, sounds, setting)? You could also, if you so wish, compare the gangster character of Tom to Scarface's Tony.

Blog post is due Wed, April 24th. No comments required. Minimum 400 words.

OPTIONAL CHOICE  - if you'd like to combine your Scarface and Miller's Crossing blog posts and compare the two gangster films you could do that, but the expectation is that your blog post would then be 800 words.  This post would still be due Wed, April 24th. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


This week's blog post is fairly simple.

The 1932 film Scarface was one of the films to help crystalize the classical period of the genre. With that in mind, and using your reading as reference, what are the specific conventions of the genre that you can identify within the film? Think about: character, setting, iconography, themes, stylistic attributes, and audience expectations. Please be specific with examples.

Blog post is due Wednesday, April 17th. No comments are required.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Fido - Extra Credit Blog Post

From Bernice Murphy's essay "Imitations of Life: Zombies and the Suburban Gothic"

"Andrew Currie's 2006 movie Fido is an ambitious satire that combines elements of Sirkian melodrama, George A. Romero's Living Dead series and the "Timmy's down the well" plotting of heroic dog films such as Lassie and Old Yeller...As one reviewer put it, the film's depiction of 'an undead chattel class hits an authentic socio-political nerve. It seems to capture perfectly what 1950s upper-class suburbia might have looked like had slave labor still been available.' By projecting Romero's vision of zombie apocalypse slightly backward into a twenty-first-century vision of 1950s suburbia, Currie's film also manages to make some pertinent points about the containment culture of both that period and our own. The film evokes the upscale suburban developments of the present that rely on cheap migrant labor in the form of underpaid and often-illegal nannies, housekeepers, gardeners, and workers. Further, the security obsessed and manipulative conflation of the military-industrial complex epitomized in ZomCon evokes much-criticized elements of the presidency of George W. Bush."

What do you think about Murphy's take on the film's exploration of zombies in suburbia? Or what are your thoughts on how the zombie conventions placed in the midst of the 1950s boy and dog story fits into the zombie genre lexicon?

This being an extra credit post will be accepted up until the end of the semester. It is still a 400 word minimum to get full potential credit.