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TV & Film Archives | OUPblog

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Great man drumming: Birdman, Whiplash, and myth of the male artist

Among this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Picture were two films with drum scores: Whiplash, in which a highly regarded but abusive conductor molds an aspiring young jazz musician into the genius he was meant to be, and Birdman, in which an aging film actor who was never a genius at all stars in a play and possibly flies. In spite of their innovative soundtracks, neither film received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel and the mental capacity to make a will

Picture this. A legendary hotel concierge and serial womaniser seduces a rich, elderly, widow who regularly stays in the hotel where he works. Just before her death, she has a new will prepared and leaves her vast fortune to him rather than her family. Wills have always provided the public with endless fascination, and are often the subject of great books and dramas.

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Fresh Off the Boat and the language of the Asian-American experience

Fresh Off the Boat, the newest addition to ABC’s primetime lineup, has garnered more than its share of attention in the lead-up to its recent debut: based on restaurateur Eddie Huang’s critically-acclaimed memoir, it’s the first sitcom in 20 years since Margaret Cho’s All-American Girl to feature an Asian-American family at its epicenter, assuming a place among the network’s recent crop of 21st-century family comedies, including Modern Family, Blackish, and Cristela.

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Selma and re-writing history: Is it a copyright problem?

A few days ago The Hollywood Reporter featured another interesting story concerning Martin Luther King or – to be more precise – his pretty litigious estate. This time the fuss is about already critically acclaimed (The New York Times critic in residence, AO Scott, called it “a triumph of efficient, emphatic cinematic storytelling”) biopic Selma, starring David Oyelowo as the Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Bob Hope, North Korea, and film censorship

Seth Rogen isn’t the only actor to have a film about North Korea nixed: A script helmed by Bob Hope met a similar fate in 1954. If US government sources are correct, North Korea cowed Sony Pictures into withholding a bawdy comedy about assassinating supreme leader Kim Jong-un.

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The Lerner Letters: Part 3 – the unknown collaborators

This final post on my collection of the lyricist Alan Jay Lerner focuses on another exciting series of letters: correspondence with famous composers with whom Lerner hoped to work, but never completed a musical. Some of these letters reveal how certain figures – such as Hoagy Carmichael – wrote to Lerner but were politely declined.

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An enigma: the codes, the machine, the man

Prometheus, a Titan god, was exiled from Mount Olympus by Zeus because he stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind. He was condemned, punished and chained to a rock while eagles ate at his liver. His name, in ancient Greek, means “forethinker “and literary history lauds him as a prophetic hero who rebels against his society to help man progress.

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Annie and girl culture

The musical version of little orphan Annie – as distinct from her original, cartoon incarnation – was born a fully formed ten-year-old in 1977, and she quickly became an icon of girlhood.

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Lifetime’s Women of the Bible and conservative Christian theology

On the surface, the Lifetime channel’s special Women of the Bible tells a very different story than The Red Tent. The two-hour program which aired just prior to the miniseries premiere claims to read with the Bible rather than against it, suggesting that the text itself depicts strong and faithful women—no retelling necessary.

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Biblical women and Lifetime’s The Red Tent

The Red Tent was perfect for the Lifetime channel. The network’s four-hour miniseries closely followed Anita Diamont’s 1997 novel, which gave voice—and agency—to the biblical character of Dinah.

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Top five Robert Altman films by sound

Director Robert Altman made more than thirty feature films and dozens of television episodes over the course of his career. The Altman retrospective currently showing at MoMA is a treasure trove for rediscovering Altman’s best known films (M*A*S*H, Nashville, Gosford Park) as well as introducing unreleased shorts and his little-known early work as a writer.

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Frozen and the Disney Princess Song

There are plenty of operas about teenage girls—love-sick, obsessed, hysterical teenage girls who dance, scheme, and murder in a frenzy of musical passion. Disney Princess films are also about teenage girls—lonely, skinny, logical teenage girls who follow their hearts because the plot gives them no other option. The music Disney Princesses sing can be divided into three periods that correspond to distinct animation styles

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Christmas crime films

In order to spread some festive cheer, Blackstone’s Policing has compiled a watchlist of some of the best criminal Christmas films. From a child inadvertently left home alone to a cop with a vested interest, and from a vigilante superhero to a degenerate pair of blaggers, it seems that (in Hollywood at least) there’s something about this time of year that calls for a special kind of policing. So let’s take a look at some of Tinseltown’s most arresting Christmas films.

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Scoring loss across the multimedia universe

Well known is music’s power to stir the emotions; less well known is that the stirring of specific emotions can result from the use of very simple but still characteristic music. Consider the music that accompanies this sweet, sorrowful conclusion of pop culture’s latest cinematic saga.

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