All posts tagged: nicole diroff

Real Monsters and Real Disgust: Comparing Reception of “Freaks” and “Frankenstein”

INTRODUCTION              Scholarship surrounding Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932) mostly includes discussion about public perception of disability. This discussion is certainly warranted, but I am hesitant to place sole responsibility for the film’s poor reception on said perception. Indeed, to place such emphasis on viewer attitudes about disability is to ignore systematic exploitation and “othering” of disabled people on behalf of MGM and the film itself. Therefore, with this essay I aim to provide a more complete historical analysis. I cannot claim to provide a complete historical analysis, because it is probably contentious to claim whether any historical analysis is fully complete. Nonetheless, I hope this essay suffices to make the point that discussing the 1930s attitude about disability is not enough when doing this reception study. I make this point by referencing a few different historical elements. Firstly, I raise James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931) as a foil case because both films were characterized as “gruesome” the PCA files, and because they both have similar themes about ‘who the real monster is.’ Secondly, I compare the …

Nicole Diroff is a double-major in Cinema Studies and Philosophy, with a minor in Creative Writing. She’s also the editor-in-chief of this edition of Screen Culture, and hopes one day to become a full-fledged professor.

Transnational Satire: Communism v. Capitalism

Introduction and Historical Background Despite the United States’ desire to keep communism contained, it could be found everywhere in the post-war world. This essay will explore the transnationality of communism through satire, specifically Milos Forman’s The Firemen’s Ball (1967), Billy Wilder’s One, Two, Three (1961) and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove (1964). These three films examine the ideological battle between capitalism and communism. Forman’s allegorical film is a reflection of Czechoslovakia in the 1960s, and it was also part of the Czech New Wave, which was a movement associated with filmmakers like Forman who had no ties to the communist party, and also had no desire to nurture Czechoslovakia into a socialist paradise[1]. The Firemen’s Ball was released in 1967 as a mere comedy, but was banned in 1968 after the Soviet invasion. On another side of the world came Wilder’s film, which exists in the comic juxtaposition between East and West Germany. Wilder himself came to America after he escaped Nazi Germany, and for this reason was skeptical of totalitarian states, and thus the communist states at the …

Nicole Diroff is a double-major in Cinema Studies and Philosophy, with a minor in Creative Writing. She’s also the editor-in-chief of this edition of Screen Culture, and hopes one day to become a full-fledged professor.