Monday 23 December 2013

Voluptuous Masochism: Gothic Melodrama Studies in Memory of Joan Fontaine

Updated January 20, 2014

A video essay, completed in memory of Joan Fontaine, studying the liminal moments of her character in Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940). This low resolution, educational compilation also samples and remixes music originally composed for the film by Franz Waxman.

Film Studies For Free presents its last entry of the year on the gothic film melodrama. Sadly, this entry appears just a short time after the death of one of the most notable stars of Hollywood's female Gothic tradition -- Joan Fontaine (22 October 1917 − 15 December 2013) -- and is dedicated to her memory. Other tributes have been comprehensively collected by David Hudson at his Keyframe/Fandor site, including a particularly fine one by Josephine Botting for the British Film Institute

FSFF's own collection of resources begins with an item that also doubles as a tribute: its own videographic study of Fontaine's masterly physical performance of "voluptuous masochism" (to borrow the brilliant words of Molly Haskell in From Reverence to Rape [p. 191]) in the context of Alfred Hitchcock's mise-en-scene for Rebecca (1940), together with Franz Waxman's lushly uncanny musical score for this film.

The resources continue at length below in a customary -- for FSFF -- list of links to online scholarly resources on the cinematic gothic more generally. You can also find further, closely related studies in FSFF's earlier entry on Final Girl Studies.

FSFF warmly wishes its readers very happy holidays if they're having them! It will be back with lots more open access film studies in the new year.

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