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'Now is the time (to put on your glasses): 3-D Film Exhibition in 1950s Britain' Film History 23 (2011): 93-103.
'Ealing's Colour Aesthetic: Saraband for Dead Lovers.' Journal of British Cinema and Television 7, 1 (Spring 2010), pp. 21-33.
'Underground, Overground: Remembering The Wombles,' in Sue Harper & Laurel Forster (eds.), British Culture and Society in the 1970s: The Lost Decade,' pp. 154-63. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010.
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'Selling Genre in the 1930s: The Universal Horror Trailer,' Film International May 2007
The following is an extract from an article by Keith M. Johnston which was published online by the journal Film International in 2007:
For a cinemagoer in the 1930s, the Universal horror film was an identifiable and well-known concept. In the late 1920s and early 1930s the studio produced compelling film interpretations of classic characters and source material through a series of movies that established many of the narrative and stylistic rules of the cinematic horror genre. Audience knowledge of these rules did not come from the films alone: it was established for them through the ‘coming attraction’ film trailers that promoted this series of films. These horror trailers created genre-based expectations and educated audiences in the Universal horror brand aesthetic regardless of whether audiences saw the full-length feature. Such trailers functioned as a key site of interaction between audience and studio, and represent a field of study that offers considerably more scope than that suggested by 1930s definitions that reduce them to a selection of ‘interesting and colourful’ highlights from the feature edited together as ‘bait’ to attract an audience (Lasky, 1938, p.13-14; Lewis, 1933, p.248). This opinion has coloured trailer study in the years since. Unlike the feature film, which gained artistic credibility over time and became the site of academic study, trailers have remained a neglected resource: a product of a faceless studio promotions department, not marked as a unique creation in themselves, and with no sign of an author (even less an auteur) in that process of creation. In fact, genre trailers are compelling short films that create atmosphere, establish character and offer specific visual and aural cues, promising audiences the repetition of known genre pleasures. What I want to suggest here is that the tools of analysis used to deepen our appreciation of the longer feature film can be applied just as profitably towards an examination of the two-to-three minute trailer. The trailer and the feature are different beasts, but they share a common ancestry of image, audience manipulation and address that can be subjected to the same level of close textual analysis as a feature film. In the case of the Universal horror trailers, this textual work can be placed within the historical context of industrial and production practices, in the hope of illuminating a specific moment in cinema as well as the establishment of a mode of genre construction.
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