British Crime Film
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|154525||British Crime Film||2 HS||Mi 12:15 - 13:45||Schmitt|
“Who says crime doesn’t pay? £3 Million says it does!”
(Tagline to Robbery, 1967)
When it comes to the box office, crime does pay indeed. Films featuring gangster bosses, detectives, drug dealers, robbers, rapists, blackmailers, serial killers, kidnappers, pimps, prostitutes and corrupt police officers have always been popular with British and international audiences. Crime in all its shapes has featured prominently in British film history ever since the first narrative films and the first British sound film, Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail (1930). Every decade, it seems, has produced its own distinct crime films, and many of them continue to pop up in lists of the best British films of all time, from Brighton Rock (1947) to Get Carter (1971) and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998).
In this seminar, we will analyse and interpret exemplary films within their socio-cultural contexts to find out what crime cinema can tell us about the (changing) social norms of a culture. We will look at the aesthetics and the structure of feeling of crime cinema and will try to find out what might be so appealing about watching representations of moral transgression.
Please note that some of the films discussed in this seminar might be emotionally distressing for some viewers. Individual “content warnings” will not be issued. It is the participants’ responsibility to inform themselves about the films prior to the respective sessions (the list of films will be handed out in the first session) and to take care of their own emotional wellbeing.
Suggestions for introductory reading:
- Steve Chibnall and Robert Murphy (eds.). British Crime Cinema. Routledge, 1999.
- Paul Elliott. Studying the British Crime Film. Auteur, 2014.
- Barry Forshaw. British Crime Film: Subverting the Social Order. Palgrave, 2012.
- Kirsten Moana Thompson. Crime Films: Investigating the Scene. Wallflower Press, 2007.
Regular attendance and active participation plus writing assignment or seminar presentation depending on your course of studies.
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