Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Levin’s proposal

True love in opposition. Levin and Kitty’s match set against the triangle of Anna, her husband Karenin, and her lover Vronsky. How can Tolstoy’s crushing rejection scene (drawn from his own life) be portrayed on screen? A new film adaptation of Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightly and directed by Joe Wright, has opened worldwide, and we’ve paired a scene from the film with an excerpt of the work below.

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‘And the Oscar went to …’

In his acceptance speech at the 1981 Oscars (best original screenplay, Chariots of Fire), Colin Welland offered the now famous prediction that ‘The British are coming!’ There have since been some notable British Oscar successes: Jessica Tandy for Driving Miss Daisy (1989); director Anthony Minghella for The English Patient (1996); Helen Mirren (in The Queen, 2006).

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Anna Karenina’s happiness

It’s Valentine’s Day on Thursday, so let us celebrate the happiness of brief, all-encompassing love. We’ve paired a scene from the recent film adaptation of Anna Karenina, currently nominated for fours Oscars, with an excerpt of the novel below. In it, Anna and Vronsky discuss the happiness of their newfound love.

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The strange career of Birth of a Nation

Today represents a red letter day — and a black mark – for US cultural history. Exactly 98 years ago, D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation premiered in Los Angeles. American cinema has been decisively shaped, and shadowed, by the massive legacy of this film.

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Based on a “true” story: expecting reality in movies

By Arthur P. Shimamura
This year’s academy award nominations of Argo, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty, attest to our fascination of watching “true stories” depicted on the screen. We adopt a special set of expectations when we believe a movie is based on actual events, a sentiment the Coen Brothers parodied when they stated at the beginning of Fargo that “this is a true story,” even though it wasn’t.

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Growing up going to bed with The Tonight Show

By Krin Gabbard
If you remember a time when there was no Tonight Show, then you probably remember a time when there was no American television industry. In 1954, NBC took Steve Allen’s local New York TV show, broadcast it nationally five days a week, and called it Tonight. The show did not become an institution until Johnny Carson became its host exactly fifty years ago in October 2012.

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A Very Short Film competition

By Chloe Foster
After more than three months of students carefully planning and creating their entries, the Very Short Film competition has closed and the longlisted submissions have been announced.

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How ardently I admire and love you…

On 28 January 1813, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was published. Originally titled ‘First Impressions’, Austen was forced to re-title it with a phrase from Frances Burney’s Cecilia after the publication of Margaret Holford’s First Impressions. We’ve paired an extract from the book with a scene from the most recent dramatization to see how Austen’s words have survived the centuries.

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The Subject is Jazz

The New Year is a time of looking forward to the future and back to the past. Looking back, last year witnessed the death of Dave Brubeck, one of the all time great jazz musicians. Brubeck became famous through his live performances and his recordings, especially the seminal Time Out album released in 1958. But he also became famous through his many appearances on American and international television.

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HFR and The Hobbit: There and Back Again

By Arthur P. Shimamura
Is it the sense of experiencing reality that makes movies so compelling? Technological advances in film, such as sound, color, widescreen, 3-D, and now high frame rate (HFR), have offered ever increasing semblances of realism on the screen. In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we are introduced to the world of 48 frames per second (fps), which presents much sharper moving images than what we’ve seen in movies produced at the standard 24 fps.

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Holy Court of Owls, Batman!

By Mark Peters
My name is Mark Peters, and I am a Batman-aholic. I blame Christopher Nolan. Between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, I felt an insatiable thirst for more Batman than Mr. Nolan was providing. In my desperation, I turned to a childhood addiction: comic books.

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Downton’s Secrets

By Deborah Cohen
Not long now, Downton fans. The beribboned third season wafts ashore in America today, though if the students I teach are any indication, the younger set (fervent Occupiers, some of them — savor the irony!) have already partaken via illegal means.

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A definition of ‘hobbit’ for the OED

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit… What’s a hobbit and how did J.R.R. Tolkien come by this word? Was it invented, adapted, or stolen? To celebrate the release of The Hobbit film and renewed interest in J.R.R Tolkien’s work, we’ve excerpted this passage from The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary by Peter Gilliver, Jeremy Marshall, and Edmund Weiner.

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Love and appetite in Anna Karenina

A timely reminder to act while you still can for New Year’s Eve… A new film adaptation of Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightly and directed by Joe Wright, has opened worldwide, so we wanted to put it to the test. How faithful is the script to the novel? We’ve paired a scene from the film with an excerpt of the work below. One of the greatest novels ever written, Anna Karenina sets the impossible and destructive triangle of Anna, her husband Karenin, and her lover Vronsky against the marriage of Levin and Kitty, thus illuminating the most important questions that face humanity.

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The women of Les Miz

On Christmas Day, the eagerly-awaited movie musical Les Misérables — “A Musical Phenomenon” the advertisement promises — will open across the United States. If it makes half the splash that its Broadway source did in 1987, we’re in for a long ride. The musical ran for 6680 performances, and won Tony awards for Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Score. It closed and then re-opened for another 463-performance run in 2006. It continues to tour the US.

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Football, festivity, and music

Sports fans eagerly anticipate television broadcasts of their favorite sports, whether it is baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, boxing, golf, auto racing, or any of the other events aired on the tube. In the USA, the biggest television sports event is undoubtedly (American) professional football: the National Football League. In 2011, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was the highest-rated program on American TV.

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