Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sword in Stone and Robin Hood Updates

Advance reviews of both The Sword in thse Stone and Robin Hood Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Edition combo packs reveal that both releases will include concept art for scenes deleted from the films. Further details at the following site:

The Sword in the Stone:

Robin Hood:

Kozintsev’s Shakespeare Films by Tiffany Ann Conroy Moore

Sorry to have missed this:

Kozintsev’s Shakespeare Films: Russian Political Protest in Hamlet and King Lear
Tiffany Ann Conroy Moore

Price: $40.00
Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-7135-5
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4766-0028-4
9 photos, notes, bibliography, index
202pp. softcover (6 x 9) 2012

Available for immediate shipment

About the Book

This book is a study of Grigory Kozintsev’s two cinematic Shakespeare adaptations, Hamlet (Gamlet, 1964), and King Lear (Korol Lir, 1970). The films are considered in relation to the historical, artistic and cultural contexts in which they appear, and in relation to the contributions of Dmitri Shostakovich, who wrote the films’ scores; and Boris Pasternak, whose translations Kozintsev used. The films are analyzed respective to their place in the translation and performance history of Hamlet and King Lear from their first appearances in Tsarist Russian arts and letters. In particular, this study is concerned with the ways in which these plays have been used as a means to critique the government and the country’s problems in an age in which official censorship was commonplace. Kozintsev’s films (as well as his theatrical productions of Hamlet and Lear) continue along this trajectory of protest by providing a vehicle for him and his collaborators to address the oppression, violence and corruption of Soviet society. It was just this sort of covert political protest that finally effected the dissolution and fall of the USSR.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii

Preface 1

Introduction 3

1. Kozintsev’s Contexts 1: Hamlet in Russia in the 18th and 19th Centuries 25

2. Kozintsev’s Contexts 2: Soviet Hamlets from the Revolution until after Stalin’s Death 52

3. Hamlet in the "Thaw" and Kozintsev’s 1964 Film Adaptation 74

4. Kozintsev’s Contexts 3: Russian and Soviet King Lears from the 18th Century through World War II 106

5. King Lear Revisited in the Brezhnev Era: Kozintsev’s 1970 Film Adaptation 136

Epilogue 179

Chapter Notes 182

Bibliography 185

Index 193

About the Author

Tiffany Ann Conroy Moore teaches writing, literature, film and public speaking at several colleges in Southern New Hampshire.

Reel Middle Ages at 15

For immediate release:

In 1999, Kevin J. Harty's The Reel Middle Ages: American, Western and Eastern European, Middle Eastern and Asian Films About Medieval Europe was published by McFarland and ushered in a renascence for the study of medieval subjects on film, television, and electronic games.

The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages seeks help in commemorating the fifteenth anniversary of this ground-breaking work. If you are interested in helping us to further the study of the medieval on screen, please sign up to our moderated discussion list Medieval Studies at the Movies at , which will be re-launched later this year, and/or become a follower of our blog Medieval Studies on Screen at . Previous members of the discussion list are asked to contact the list moderator, as many accounts are now inactive.

Michael A. Torregrossa
Co-Founder, The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages

Monday, July 29, 2013

From the Disney Vault Update

Disney is re-releasing both The Sword in the Stone (1963) and Robin Hood (1973) to Blu-ray next month as part of special anniversary editions including digital copies of both films (whether purchased as part of the DVD or Blu-Ray/DVD combo sets). Both were recently released as DVD special editions (in 2008 and 2006, respectively). No word yet on whether or not they will include any new extras. I append the advertisement from the Disney Movie Club. Both films can also be purchased from various online sellers, though, curiously, Disney's own fails to list either product.

Also of interest, the Disney Movie Club is offering Season 2, Volume 2 of the popular 1990s' series Gargoyles as a 3-disc club exclusive. The set completes the season (first released to DVD in 2005). The Gargoyles are originally from 10th century Scotland but active in the modern world, where they interact with a number of figures from medieval myth and legend, including Macbeth, King Arthur, the Lady of the Lake, Cú Chulainn, Odin, and the Weird Sisters from Macbeth. In addition, this half of the season introduces Titania (from Midsummer Night's Dream) into the Gargoyles universe and also integrates both her and Puck (also from MND) firmly into the Gargoyle's extended family.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Contents for Beowulf on Film

According to WorldCat here are the contents for Haydock and Risden's Beowulf on Film: Adaptations and Variations due out from McFarland this fall:

Introduction-a Freud complex and the problem of Beowulf in film / E.L. Risden --

Film theory, the sister arts tradition and the cinematic Beowulf / Nickolas Haydock --

The cinematic commoditization of Beowulf: The serial fetishizing of a hero / E.L. Risden --

Making sacrifices / Nickolas Haydock --

The hero, the mad male Id, and a feminist Beowulf: the sexualizing of an Epic / E.L. Risden --

Dragon, where art thou? "othering" in Beowulf films / E.L. Risden --

Meat puzzles: Beowulf and the horror film / Nickolas Haydock --

Our man Beowulf: Bowra, Ker, and the contemporary struggle with heroism / E.L. Risden --

Conclusion-the postmodern Beowulf / Nickolas Haydock.

In addition, in terms of cataloging, the book is listed solely as Beowulf -- Film adaptations; this is unfortunate, for it fails to link to the larger range of scholarship on medievalisms on screen.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Haines's Music in Films on the Middle Ages

Update number three for the night highlights an intriguing new book from Routledge (unfortunately the price may limit its reach):

Music in Films on the Middle Ages: Authenticity vs. Fantasy
By John Haines

To Be Published October 14th 2013 by Routledge

Series: Routledge Research in Music

Hardback: $125.00
Available for pre-order


This book explores the role of music in the some five hundred feature-length films on the Middle Ages produced between the late 1890s and the present day, ranging from historical epics such as Joan the Woman (1917) to medievalist stories such as The Lord of the Rings (2001-3). Haines focuses on the tension in these films between authenticity and fantasy, between the surviving evidence for medieval music and the idiomatic tradition of cinematic music. The latter is taken broadly as any musical sound occurring in a film, from the clang of a bell off-screen to a minstrel singing his song; it includes both diegetic and non-diegetic modes. Medieval film music must is considered in the broader historical context of pre-cinematic medievalisms, on the one hand, and, on the other, of medievalist cinema’s main development in the course of the twentieth century as an American appropriation of European culture. The book treats six pervasive moments that define the genre of what could be called medieval film: the church-tower bell, the trumpet fanfare or horn call, the music of banquets and courts, the singing minstrel, performances of Gregorian chant, and the music that accompanies horse-riding knights, with each chapter visiting representative films as case studies. These six signal musical moments create a fundamental visual-aural core that is central to making a film feel medieval to modern audiences, and these musical stereotypes originate in medievalist works predating cinema by some three centuries.


1. The Making of the Middle Ages
2. The Bell
3. The Trumpet Fanfare and the Horn Call
4. Banquet and Court Music
5. The Singing Minstrel
6. Chant
7. The Riding Warrior
8. Conclusion


John Haines is Professor of Music History and Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Return of A Knight at the Movies

Two of three updates for the night:

This just in from Routledge--

A Knight at the Movies: Medieval History on Film, 2nd Edition 
By John Aberth

To Be Published June 30th 2014 by Routledge – 352 pages

Purchasing Options:

Not yet available

Not yet available

Details on the first edition are available from the publisher at and on at

The new edition includes about 20 additional pages. It is unknown at this point how extensive the revisions will be. It also not yet available for pre-ordering from Amazon.

Catching Up 7-18

A quick update for today.

Expect the recent TV listings for Chiller and Syfy to be updated by the end of the week. I am also slowly adding more productions to the link list on the margins of the blog.

Michael Torregrossa