Yet, they still depend on the problem of her dangerous power. Significantly, no ancient Greek account simply eliminates Helen or her beauty from the tale of Troy, or denies that the war took place at all. And insofar as she is conceptually essential to the Trojan War, she is also essential to ancient Greek constructions of Greek identity — more specifically, masculine identity. That identity, it seems, inextricably predicates the achievement s of manhood on the danger of female beauty and its containment.
Greek warriors must fight in deed to control the person of Helen or its phantasmic representations, and Greek authors must fight in word to contain her power by manipulating her story. Achilles is predicated upon Helen. Despite the enormous distances — in time, space, culture — that divide Hollywood from the ancient Greeks, Helen remains an object of fascination and a site for the exploration of contemporary identities.
Despite a veneer of feminism, the movie does not celebrate the dangerous power of female beauty but denies it by means of an array of strategies, some of which echo ancient texts and some of which are specific to contemporary ideology and the cinematic medium. The Iliadic Helen is simultaneously dangerous and sympathetic. The sympathy depends on a substantial eclipse of the danger, yet her power still glimmers round the edges.
She appears swathed in shimmering garments, ambiguous, elusive and liminal. She is not the only reason for the Trojan War, but she is a real one, and as such indispensable. Though Helen may serve as a pretext, she is not merely a pretext. No Greek blames her for her transgression. As for the Trojans, Helen tells us she fears, or is subject to, shame and reproach from various people e. This occurs in the same famous scene in which we witness her impact on the Trojan elders.
Her effect upon men, which both explains and justifies the war, makes it impossible for the poet to show Helen blamed face-to-face. Yet, this avoidance of blame also disempowers Helen, since it denies her any responsibility for causing the war and thus any agency in her own elopement. As has often been observed, the only direct abuse of Helen in the Iliad comes from Helen herself.
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If Helen herself avows her guilt, then who are we — or Priam — to disagree? Yet, this avowal also frees the poet to present the Achaians and Trojans fighting heroically for an object that is uncontaminated by their own disparagement. Since she blames herself so stringently, they are freed from the necessity of doing so.
She has — conveniently — put herself in her place, so that they do not have to. Moreover, her remorse helps to characterize her positively in a specifically gendered fashion. The Iliadic Helen also misses Menelaus 3. This preference for Menelaus amounts to a confession that her elopement with Paris was wrong, not just ethically, but as a decision affecting her own happiness.
The point is reinforced by the fact that she also misses her parents, relatives and friends 3. In the Odyssey , we see the consequences of the re-established status quo: All things considered, Menelaus seems to have been worth coming home to. But they also provide her with a space in which to assert her own subjectivity and reclaim the agency denied to her by men. As an assertion of past agency, her self-blame may be viewed as an attempt to retain a trace of the subjectivity of her original transgression.
Where others blame only Paris, Helen links them as jointly responsible, implicitly placing their agency on an equal footing 6. She clearly retains a sense of her own agency regarding the elopement and its disastrous consequences. The abusive language she uses of herself reinforces this, both by implicitly claiming agency and by conjuring her as a menacing, destructive figure. By appropriating that discourse Helen implies that she owns such power.
Her self-blame is, in its way, an act of defiance. Helen also remains powerful in Homer in a different way. This verbal skill is complicit with her beauty in disarming external blame. When we first encounter her she is weaving a tapestry that represents the armies fighting over her 3. This role as weaver of the Trojan War aligns her both with the poet and with Zeus himself, whose plan is fulfilled through that war.
Her self-presentation is smuggled into the masculine narrative of the war as a whole, ensuring the survival of her voice as long as the epic itself survives. Despite the fascination of the Iliadic Helen, and her pivotal role as cause of the Trojan War, Achilles usurps what might have been her story. The Iliad does not pretend otherwise: Like most recent treatments of the tale, it proceeds from that initial romance to the final destruction of Troy in a way that the Iliad pointedly does not.
And even he ends up endorsing heterosexual romance.
He abandons the quest for glory through conquest, using his supreme strength only to seek out Briseis amid the blazing ruins and actually killing men on his own side who are molesting her. That expectation is not met. Rather, her significance is diminished. Some were fought for land, some for power, some for glory. Why it makes sense is not explained. In stark contrast to many of the most prominent ancient Greek heroes, the romantic hero and heroine must be likeable.
They may have minor flaws, but these must not be of a kind that risks undermining the sympathies of the audience. Also unlike Homeric heroes, romantic heroes need not be powerful. In fact, power is something of a drawback, since it tends to undermine sympathy, at least according to the sensibilities of modern audiences who expect even their warrior heroes to be temporarily down — if not quite out — before they rise to ultimate victory.
An easy way to make Paris and Helen innocent victims in the eyes of a modern movie audience would be to portray them as puppets of the gods — Helen merely a gift to Paris from Aphrodite in consideration of services rendered. This purportedly transhistorical human nature turns out, of course, to look remarkably modern.
The gods are therefore ruled out as a vehicle with which to engineer sympathy for the romantic dyad. This gives the impression of empowering Helen by freeing her from divine control. Yet ironically, it lessens her power from an ancient perspective.
In Greek myth, her semi-divine parentage and her intimate connection with Aphrodite are marks of exceptional status, which enhance, rather than detract from, the significance of her actions. The medium of film supplies many creative possibilities for such effects. It leaves no room for her divine traces, for any suggestion that her beauty is other-worldly, transcendently desirable, or sinister in its power.
Eliminating the gods means that some other way must be found to sustain our sympathy for Helen, by minimizing, if not excusing, her transgression. She leaves no daughter behind her in Sparta — a standard feature of the ancient story including the Iliad , and a standard cause for reproach by herself and others. In contrast to her Homeric counterpart, this Helen shows no trace of ambivalence towards Paris, even after he provides an excruciating display of cowardice in his duel with Menelaus.
The fantasy of a happy ending for their romance is left open by keeping Paris alive at the end of the movie, thus pre-empting the awkward mythological tradition that Helen remarried at Troy after his death in battle. Besides making Helen and Paris as innocent as possible under the circumstances, Troy shores up our sympathy for the romantic dyad by pitting them against the powerful and unequivocally wicked Agamemnon. In contrast to the Iliad — where the Greeks want to destroy Troy and then go home — this Agamemnon is a naked imperialist.
In the Iliad , it is implied that the rationale for war would die with Menelaus 4. If Helen had not provided Agamemnon with the excuse he needed, he would have found another. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Explore the Home Gift Guide. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. Amazon Advertising Find, attract, and engage customers. Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon.
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Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. AmazonGlobal Ship Orders Internationally. Amazon Inspire Digital Educational Resources. Theoretical Notes on Composing for the Films. A critical appreciation of Composing for the Films that systematically explains the Marxist foundations of its several arguments and prescriptions for film music practice.
Eleven essays, six of them in English abstracts for all are in an appendix. Although often separated from dramatic feature films in the scholarly literature, musicals were very much a part of classical Hollywood practice in terms of basic aesthetics, narrative patterns, and production practices. The popular or trade-book literature on many film genres is very large, and musicals are no exception. The few works listed here are oriented to research: Altman is the classic scholarly survey in the field, and Knapp is a major study of both stage and film musicals. Cohan and Marshall and Stilwell are two essay anthologies.
The American Film Musical. As much a theory of genre and genre analysis as it is a specific study of the film musical, its categories have become the standards in the field: A collection of fourteen previously published articles and book chapters, including one from Altman All topics are firmly situated in classical Hollywood and include not only considerations of the musical as a genre but also questions of gender, race, and sexual orientation seen here in terms of camp.
Princeton University Press, Film musicals lead a turn away from the national and political to the personal. Chapter 2 is specifically on the movie musical, but the case studies in later chapters include both film and stage works. Marshall, Bill, and Robynn Stilwell.
About half the essays concern classical Hollywood and work from a variety of starting points, including film structure, space and classical practice, the star, and identity. Television drew mainly on the stage, radio shows, and film shorts cartoons, serials until the mids, when studios began licensing feature films. A spate of hour-length dramatic series followed, created using film apparatus and production methods.
Personnel of studio music departments thus moved easily into television work, taking their skills and priorities with them. Burlingame offers thorough documentation, and Rodman is a strong theoretical model. Goldmark is included here because cartoons are known to most people through television rather than theatrical presentation.
Broader in scope than its title suggests, this is in effect a history of music in television. Written in a highly readable trade-book style, the book is grounded in solid scholarship, based on extensive interviews and archival research. Music and the Hollywood Cartoon. Not a history but a set of case studies that collectively provide a good overview of music in short animated films during the classical Hollywood era. Does not discuss feature-length animated films.
Chapters on two major composers in studio settings—Carl Stalling at Warner Bros. American Narrative Television Music. The strongest theoretical work to date on music in television. The first three chapters present an associative theory grounded in semiotics and built on the idea of ancrage alignment or interaction of image and sound ; the remaining chapters address topics such as music performances or genres such as music in police dramas.
Repertoire covered is from to The musical practices of cinema exhibition from the beginning were complex but essentially egalitarian. Even in the first decades of the sound era, an association of diegetic music performances with popular music and underscore with classical orchestral music is inadequate to describe practice, especially as waltz songs or foxtrots were frequently incorporated into the musical underscoring. Nevertheless, the great majority of the scholarly literature focuses on underscore and its composers and says little about popular musics.
The few items listed here cover some important aspects: Furia and Patterson offers a historical survey of songs in musicals and other films.
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Song indices are listed under Music Titles and Credits. Furia, Philip, and Laurie Patterson. The Songs of Hollywood. A well-written survey of the use of songs in Hollywood sound films. Ten of the eleven chapters concern classical Hollywood; each embeds functional readings of songs in well-known films within the chronological account. Very readable and thorough, if mostly uncritical and sometimes inclined to the anecdotal. University of Chicago Press, The classic study on the representation of jazz in feature films. Chapters are set up as case studies of genres The Jazz Singer and films in its aftermath, jazz biopics , representation jazz as high art, eroticized jazz , and artists Ellington, Armstrong.
The result, nevertheless, is a wide-ranging historical narrative that demythologizes jazz as put on offer by classical Hollywood. The Sounds of Commerce: Marketing Popular Film Music. Most of this book focuses on the period — and the interactions of popular music, recording, and the film industry. Theory chapter 1 , and historical summary chapters 2 and 3 , are followed by case studies of music by Henry Mancini, John Barry, and Ennio Morricone, and a chapter on pop songs and compilation scores. Thorough historical and documentary account of popular songs not only in musicals which dominated the box office at the time but also other films that offer song performances.
Shows processes at work in the earliest years of the sound feature film that are very like those Smith charts for thirty years later. Historical musicologists traditionally focus on classical concert music and opera. Serious study of popular musics, even historical repertoires such as the Strauss waltzes of 19th-century Vienna, is quite a recent phenomenon.
Kramer and Kramer are masterful exercises in interpretation despite these biases. Citron , Gilman and Joe , and Grover-Friedlander address different aspects of cinema in relation to opera. Long has a wider repertorial range, but Stilwell is a model of the study that gives equal weight to musical and cinematic priorities. Yale University Press, Positive and searching account of the meeting of the traditional stage medium of opera with visual media.
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A study of filmed or televised opera, not dramatic feature films that highlight opera in their narratives. The essential book on the topic. Cambridge University Press, updates and continues the work, but the repertoire is outside classical Hollywood. Gilman, Sander, and Jeongwon Joe, eds. Eighteen essays, plus editorial introduction and epilogue, a short archival article, and a sixteen-page filmography. Only a half dozen essays focus on classical Hollywood sound film, but these include especially insightful case studies by Marcia Citron and Scott Paulin; rich background information can also be gleaned from the four chapters on Wagner and silent film.
The Attraction of Cinema to Opera. By Michal Grover-Friedlander, 33— The only chapter on classical Hollywood sound film in this book, which is a set of case studies thematically organized about the idea of the operatic voice in cinema. Several essays by this distinguished interpretive critic focus on, or otherwise involve, cinematic representations of traditional European concert musics.
Ashgate, , pp.
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By Lawrence Kramer, 71— The one in this volume is the most general of them, in that music performances in film are a case study p. Imagining the Classic in Musical Media. A rich text ranging over all the past century in respect to the classic which means neither classical Hollywood nor classical music but the idea of the historical or traditional. Frequently exasperating in its shifts of rhetorical pitch, the book nevertheless offers a highly imaginative attempt at a postclassical historical narrative of a kind that comfortably enfolds film music. The film is outside the era of classical Hollywood—though in many respects classically constructed—but this now classic essay is a model of a deeply informed film narrative reading that interprets traditional concert music successfully while avoiding overreading.
Information by and about composers of underscore for classical Hollywood films may be found in a variety of source: McCarty cited under Music Titles and Credits has detailed and reliable lists of composer credits. Surveys organized by chapters on individual composers are among the staples of the literature: A few historical narratives were written by composers themselves: Bazelon and Burt Biographies such as Smith are still few and far between, though Danly provides something analogous by collecting documentary sources.
Skinner is a special case: Notes on Film Music. Van Nostrand Reinhold, Tries to cover ample ground with a historical perspective, which leads to a chapter on contemporary film composition, followed by chapters on aesthetics and analysis. The Art of Film Music: Northeastern University Press, Although presented as a theory of film-music functions, it is better understood as a collection of historical observations and analyses. The subtitle points to its distinctive feature: A gathering of documents on the composer who worked as an orchestrator in the s and s notably for Max Steiner , before becoming known as a composer himself.
The editor contributes a biographical chapter, but the heart of the book is a long interview conducted as part of an oral history project in the s. Darby, William, and Jack Du Bois. Major Composers, Techniques, Trends, — Fourteen chapters on individual composers, ranging from Max Steiner to John Williams. Consists mainly of descriptions of music in their films.
Six additional chapters provide some additional historical context. Many brief musical examples. The Composer in Hollywood. Arranged chronologically in the form of chapters on individual composers. Cast as a critical history of film music in classical Hollywood, the book offers more historical context than Darby and Du Bois , but its narrative is marred by bias toward Miklos Rozsa and Bernard Herrmann, both of whom Palmer had worked for. Skinner worked in the music department at Universal. Many musical examples in score or short-score format. Original publication, Los Angeles: Skinner Music Company, The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann.
A standard biography of the composer who was active in concert music and radio in New York in the s, worked with Orson Welles Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons in the early s, and collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock Vertigo, Psycho, and others in the s and s. Revised and expanded version of Film Score: The View from the Podium New York: Brief introduction and twenty-five chapters on individual composers, including some not given ample attention in Darby and Du Bois or Palmer such as Ernest Gold, Hans Salter, and Bronislau Kaper.
Comments on film music from the composers themselves. Composer-director collaborations similar to that of John Williams and Steven Spielberg in recent decades were rare in the studio production environment of classical Hollywood. The studies listed here take a different tack: Kalinak and Sullivan , for example, survey music in films by a single director. How the West Was Sung: Music in the Westerns of John Ford. The Uncanny Soundtrack in Dr. Edited by Neil Lerner, 55— Music as an element of sound design, though a routine part of practice since the introduction of Dolby, was sporadically but sometimes memorably a feature of films even in the transition decade, when certain directors experimented with sound aesthetic.
This is an excellent contextually situated case study of a film by a director known for his imaginative treatment of sound. The necessary focus on Hitchcock sometimes exaggerates his influence and slights the composer. The Film Score Guide series was initiated by series editor Kate Daubney as a venue for monographs that create biographical, professional, and production contexts for the music of a single feature film as the preliminaries for a detailed analysis and interpretation.
An important feature is the numerous musical examples that illustrate the readings. Nearly half the titles to date are on films from classical Hollywood; all are listed below Cooper and Cooper , Daubney , Davison , Wierzbicki , and Winters The series continues to be active, generating one to three new volumes each year.
A Film Score Guide. The very detailed score analysis chapter 5 takes up half the book. The author demonstrates that Alex North was obliged to maneuver around a variety of narrative ambiguities in writing the music. Excellent historical documentation of the work of the obscure couple who created the all-electronic musical background for this famous science fiction film. Winters is not led astray by a common perception of Korngold as the paradigm of classical Hollywood.
For all his fame, he was an atypical film composer. Sign up for My OBO. Publications Pages Publications Pages.
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