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:
In this podcast, Dr Ellen Wright has a discussion with film programmer at the BFI Southbank, Anna Bogutskaya.
The pair discuss the current Joan Crawford retrospective, ‘Fierce: the untameable Joan Crawford’ and associated public talk that Anna programmed.
Inspired by the upcoming Women in Hollywood symposium and by broader current events in the US film industry, in this podcast I talk with American scholar and invited speaker at the symposium, Kerry McElroy. Kerry is an interdisciplinary scholar currently based at Concordia University in Montreal, who researches and writes on women’s exploitation in Hollywood. She has written on the casting couch, on ethnicity in Hollywood and much more.
This blog post contains a number of resources you may find of use prior to and during the symposium discussions surrounding the current and historic poor treatment of women in the American film industry. Simply click on the image to be taken to the resource.
Currently these resources focus heavily on the recent context, but this is not intentional.
These resources collected here are in no way exhaustive. I’d like this to grow and I would very much welcome further suggestions as to what to add here.
To ensure that participants across a range of career stages and wage brackets are part of the conversation at the Women in Hollywood symposium, there is no registration fee to attend, but we are aware that there are other costs involved in attending.
To help cover the cost of attending, the Cinema and Television History research centre at DMU will be offering a travel bursary to a limited number of postgraduate students whose research interests link with the symposium and who want to attend this event.
The CATH MA Travel Bursary is a competitive fund for exceptional students completing or who have recently completed MAs but who are not registered for a PhD.
You don’t even have to be presenting at Women in Hollywood to be eligible to apply.
Email me firstname.lastname@example.org for a form or if you have any further questions.
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:
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.
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 invited me to talk about the noir spy thriller Atomic Blonde which recently ran at the cinema. The film, based on the 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City and set on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, is a visceral experience and features a blistering performance by Charlize Theron as MI6 agent protagonist Lorraine Broughton.
The film is notable for its director, David Leitch, who is a renowned stunt man but what I really wanted to talk about was what our expectations around how action-packed this film would be were regarding Theron’s performance. I also wanted to talk about the discourse around Theron in relation to the film, her star persona and reputation as a skilled actress who really throws herself into her roles, about her as an ‘aging’ star, about Lorraine as an empowered character and Theron as a producer and the history of ‘action women’ roles in Hollywood.