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Imitations of Life

A Reader on Film & Television Melodrama

Edited by Marcia Landy

Film History, Film Theory and Criticism, Filmmakers, Television Studies

Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series

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Paperback
Published: January 1991
ISBN: 9780814320655
Pages: 624 Size: 6x9

Marcia Landy has gathered thirty-seven important essays on film and melodrama that have appeared in books and journals over the last two decades. In her introduction to the book, Landy explores the recent interest in the genre in relation to theoretical work in psychoanalysis and semiotics, setting the stage for the essays that follow.

The book's seven sections examine the history of melodrama, its emphasis on emotional excess, its manicheanism, and its dependence on non-verbal strategies to communicate. Essays focus on the family melodramas of the 1950s, the role of Hollywood directors and stars in the development of the genre, and melodrama in the silent films and on television. The book concludes with an exploration of the use of melodrama in European and Latin American cinema, both silent and sound.

Imitations of Life thus provides a variety of perspectives-chronological, theoretical, and international-on the genre while investigating its cultural, social, and political significance.

Marcia Landay is a professor of English and film studies at the University of Pittsburgh. A Ph.D. from the University of Rochester, she is the author of Facism and Film: Italian Commercial Cinema, 1930-1943 as well as articles in such journals as Film Criticism, Jump Cut, and Cinema Journal.

Contributors Include:
Alan Casty, Ana M. Lopez, Charles Affron, Charles Eckert, Charlotte Brunsdon, Christian Viviani, Christine Saxton, Christopher Orr, Chuck Kleinhans, Daniel Gerould, David N. Rodowick, Ellen Seiter, Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, Griselda Pollack, Ien Ang, Jane Gaines, Jean-Loup Bourget, John Belton, John G. Cawelti, Katherine S. Woodward, Linda Williams, Marcia Landy, Mary Ann Doane, Michael Renov, Naomi Greene, Nicholas Vardac, Noel Carroll, Pam Cook, Peter Brooks, Raymond Durgnat, Richard Abel, Richard Dyer, Robert C. Allen, Ruth McCormick, Tania Modleski, Thomas Elsaesser, Thomas Schatz

Significant texts on film and television melodrama from a variety of perspectives-chronological, theoretical, international, and feminist-and their sociological significance.

– Back Stage/Shoot