The 16th Here’s Looking At You podcast is a conversation with senior Lecturer in Film Studies at University of Exeter, Dr Lisa Stead.
Lisa is currently working on a very exciting AHRC-funded project entitled Reframing Vivien Leigh: Stardom, Archives and Access. This project examines for the first time how the legacies of screen star Vivien Leigh (1913-1967) are archived and curated by a range of public institutions in the South West of England.
For those who don’t recognise the name straight away, leigh was a stage and screen actress and two-time academy award winner and the female lead in the 1939 cinematic epic Gone With the Wind
I talk to Lisa about this project and, as I was in the process of putting the finishing touches to a one-day postgraduate archives event when we spoke, we also about the rewards of archival research.
Yaaas Queen! After a short break Here’s looking at you returns and in this sickening podcast, Dr Ellen Wright has a discussion with thin, white and salty New York comedy queen and Ru Paul’s Drag Race alumni Miz Cracker.
Having met on the afternoon of Cracker’s last date on her sell-out UK It’s Time tour, Cracker wowed Ellen with her charisma, uniqueness, never and talent, not to mention just how sweet and frank she was.
A couple of weeks ago the lovely Jade, who works for the Phoenix cinema in Leicester approached me about recording a ‘Phoenix Talks’ podcast about why the film-going public loves a Christmas film, about nostalgia and what makes for a good Christmas film, and specifically about why the 1946, Frank Capra classic, It’s a Wonderful Life has, for many, become the ultimate Christmas film.
We talked about the film itself and why its so enjoyable but also the film’ broader context, how it was actually slow to take on a cultish following and why.
Every year, rather wonderfully, the Phoenix runs a fundraising screening of this Christmas stalwart, in aid of Leicester homeless charities. Hence Jade and myself chatting about the film.
I will say though, whilst Its aWonderful Life is Wonderful, its not *quite* as wonderful a Christmas film as another Capra classic, Meet John Doe. If you haven’t seen it, I’d heartily recommend it, with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.
If you want a taster of Its a Wonderful Life, check out the trailer:
Me attempting to channel Rita Hayworth. Image courtesy of Beki Doig
I am very pleased to announce that on Monday May 28th I will be running my first ever symposium at DeMontfort University.
It seems odd to me that having organised and been part of so many public events over the years, I haven’t yet organised a conference or symposium.
The idea for this event came a couple of months ago when myself, Alissa Clarke and Laraine Porter were asked by PhD candidate Becky Jones to be part of a panel discussion around the treatment of older women in Hollywood following a screening of Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool – a film about the final years of Hollywood vamp Gloria Grahame at the Phoenix cinema in Leicester.
We had a lot to say but understandably, only a small time in which to say it. We all remarked on this and also on how unusual it was to be part of an all female panel. As we gathered in the cafe bar afterwards, to continue the discussion, we drifted onto other issues women in Hollywood have had and still do encounter when trying to get on. The #MeToo movement and the Weinstein allegations were only the tip of the iceberg. There were so many historical precedents.
The seed was sewn. We needed a day long event at least to discuss these issues. Vicky Ball also came on board and Women in Hollywood was born.
In case you are interested in attending and participating, here is our call for papers:
We discuss what makes this film so bad it’s good, its director, Tommy Wiseau, The Disaster Artist and the Golden Globe winning performance by James Franco but most importantly we talk about the unique fandom around The Room.
Other topics we cover include fan communities and bonding via film, participatory cinema more generally, authenticity, performance and the nature Continue reading →
Earlier this month saw one of my yearly teaching highlights, the annual screening of ‘the best worst film ever,’ 2003 melodrama, The Room.
It is ironic that a film renowned in part for such poor performances became the ultimate performative text, prompting a whole range of audience behaviours at its regular screenings.
Every year for the past three years, a participatory screening of this film has served as the climax of my third year Cult Film module, and it is promised to students at the start of the module, as a reward for their hard work and inevitably enthusiastic contributions over the course of the eleven week undergraduate module.
I was recently interviewed by PhD candidate Becky Jones* for Phoenix Talks – her podcast in association with the Leicester’s independent cinema, the Phoenix.
Becky kindly invited me to talk with her about biopic The Battle Of The Sexes which recently ran at the cinema. The film tells the story of the famous tennis match of the same name that took place in 1973 between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.
I wanted to talk with Becky about some of the ways in which this film raises issues around the media representation of sporting women’s bodies (which are often understood to be a problem as the power and potential they convey means they aren’t feminine or pliant enough) about toxic masculinity and about feminism. It’s a bit rambly, but hey, it was the end of term!
A couple of weeks ago I was part of an all-female panel discussion of the treatment of older women in Hollywood. The discussion followed a screening of the recent Paul McGuigan biopic Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpoolwhich charts the relationship between ageing Hollywood star Gloria Grahame and younger British actor Peter Turner.
I enjoyed the film very much and was excited to be asked by marketing assistant and my PhD supervisee, Becky Jones, to be part of the discussion event at the wonderful Phoenix cinema in Leicester.
The film itself was very good, beautifully shot and both Benning and Bell’s performances were excellent. It also raised a number of issues around the idea of the ageing female star and the broader treatment of women in Hollywood which really seemed to chime with the recent Weinstein allegations and the public debate around the #MeToo campaign.
In this podcast I talk with PhD candidate Emma Purce about her research into the British seaside freak show in 20th century Britain. Whilst a lot has already been written on the freak show in the 19th century and particularly in America, Emma is really helping to shape our understanding of the 20th century freak show.
We discuss the notion of liminal, permissive working class spaces and the history, the legacy and the politics of the freak show and of the curious, scrutinising gaze employed when attending such an entertainment