Film and Fairy Tales: The Birth of Modern Fantasy


    Far from a realm of pure fantasy helping people to escape harsh realities, fairy tales and the films that rooted themselves in their tropes and traditions played an integral role in formulating and expressing the anxieties of modernity as well as its potential for radical, magical transformation. In Film and Fairy Tales, Kristian Moen examines the role played by fairy tales in shaping cinema, its culture, and its discourse during its most formative years. Well-established by the feerie of the nineteenth century as popular entertainment and visual spectacle, the wonders of mutability offered by fairy tale fantasies in the early films of Melies situated cinema itself as a realm of enchantment rife with enthralling and disturbing possibilities. Through an analysis of early film theorists and a detailed case study of Tourneur's 1918 film The Blue Bird, Moen shows how the spectacles and tropes of the fairy tale continued to shape ideas of cinema's place in modern life. Stars like Mary Pickford and Marguerite Clark, who not only played fantasy roles but presented their off-screen personae in deliberately fantastic terms, and the transformative claims of modernity expressed through visions such as Orientalist fairylands are analysed to show the extent to which fairy tales were used to negotiate different experiences of modernity - the giddy adventures of social mobility, consumer culture and identity transformation, the threats and anxieties of cultural change, impermanence and mutability. Moen traces the evolution of the fairy tale in film to its self-aestheticising peak in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, alongside ironic allusions in films like Hitchcock's Rebecca and Howard Hawks' Ball of Fire, concluding with an examination of how fairy tale visions of fantastic transformation have seen a resurgence in contemporary cinema, from Tim Burton to Harry Potter. In the process, he shows how cinema made fairy tales modern - and fairy tales helped make cinema what it is today.

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    Number of Pages: 304
    Format(s): Hardback - ISBN: 9781780762517
    Publication Date:
    Listed in: Styles & genres
    Publishers: I.B.Tauris, I.B. Tauris

    Books by Kristian Moen


    RRP: £59.50

    Sale Price: £38.16

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