The Cinema of Isolation: A History of Physical Disability in the Movies

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9780813521039: The Cinema of Isolation: A History of Physical Disability in the Movies
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Filmmakers have often encouraged us to regard people with physical disabilities in terms of pity, awe, humor, or fearas "Others" who somehow deserve to be isolated from the rest of society. In this first history of the portrayal of physical disability in the movies, Martin Norden examines hundreds of Hollywood movies (and notable international ones), finds their place within mainstream society, and uncovers the movie industry's practices for maintaining the status quokeeping people with disabilities dependent and "in their place."

Norden offers a dazzling array of physically disabled characters who embody or break out of the stereotypes that have both influenced and been symptomatic of societys fluctuating relationship with its physically disabled minority. He shows us "sweet innocents" like Tiny Tim, "obsessive avengers" like Quasimodo, variations on the disabled veteran, and many others. He observes the arrival of a new set of stereotypes tied to the growth of science and technology in the 1970s and 1980s, and underscores movies like My Left Foot and The Waterdance that display a newfound sensitivity. Nordens in-depth knowledge of disability history makes for a particularly intelligent and sensitive approach to this long-overlooked issue in media studies.

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About the Author:

MARTIN F. NORDEN teaches film as a professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has co-authored Movies: A Language in Light and has written many articles on moving-image media.

From Library Journal:

Norden (communication, Univ. of Massachusetts) analyzes the film industry's depiction of physically disabled characters from the era of silent films to the present. He criticizes several conceptual ap-proaches, including the tendency to present narratives from an able-bodied person's perspective, as in The Elephant Man (1980), which is drawn from the attending doctor's memoirs. Especially illuminating are discussions of how films portraying a disability are perceived by people with that disability. For instance, deaf people found the signing in Children of a Lesser God (1986) difficult to follow because of bad lighting and camera angles. Sensitive to the latest consensus about correct language regarding disabilities, and infused with an advocacy that some may find excessive, this heartfelt treatise provides an invaluable assessment and supersedes the pioneering Disability Drama in Television and Film (McFarland, 1988). Highly recommended for academic libraries and all larger film and disability collections.
Richard W. Grefrath, Univ. of Nevada Lib., Reno
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780813521046: The Cinema of Isolation: A History of Physical Disability in the Movies

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ISBN 10:  0813521041 ISBN 13:  9780813521046
Publisher: Rutgers University Press, 1994
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9780788162756: Cinema of Isolation: A History of Physical Disability in the Movies

Rutger..., 1994
Hardcover

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