Seeing Sarah Bernhardt: performance and silent film

Duckett, Victoria 2015, Seeing Sarah Bernhardt: performance and silent film, University of Illinois Press, Champaign, Ill..

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Title Seeing Sarah Bernhardt: performance and silent film
Author(s) Duckett, VictoriaORCID iD for Duckett, Victoria
Publication date 2015
Total pages 231
Publisher University of Illinois Press
Place of Publication Champaign, Ill.
Keyword(s) performance
silent film
Sarah Bernhardt
art nouveau
French film
theatre history
celebrity culture
Summary The most famous stage actress of the nineteenth century, Sarah Bernhardt enjoyed a surprising renaissance when the 1912 multi-reel film Queen Elizabeth brought her international acclaim. The triumph capped her already lengthy involvement with cinema while enabling the indefatigable actress to reinvent herself in an era of technological and generational change. Placing Bernhardt at the center of the industry's first two decades, Victoria Duckett challenges the perception of her as an anachronism unable to appreciate film's qualities. Instead, cinema's substitution of translated title cards for her melodic French deciphered Bernhardt for Anglo-American audiences. It also allowed the aging actress to appear in the kinds of longer dramas she could no longer physically sustain onstage. As Duckett shows, Bernhardt contributed far more than star quality. Her theatrical practice on film influenced how the young medium changed the visual and performing arts. Her promoting of experimentation, meanwhile, shaped the ways audiences looked at and understood early cinema.
ISBN 9780252081163
Language eng
Field of Research 190201 Cinema Studies
Socio Economic Objective 950504 Understanding Europe's Past
HERDC Research category A1 Books - authored - research
Grant ID Not relevant
Copyright notice ©2015, University of Illinois Press
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