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July 1993


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Jeremy Butler <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 12 Jul 1993 14:37:52 CDT
text/plain (63 lines)
Did I post this already?  Forgive me if I did...
I've been doing some housecleaning and stumbled across this.
----------------------------Original message----------------------------
        Since the appearance of Maurice Tourneur's first silent film of
*Victory* in 1919, more than forty versions of Conrad's works have been
filmed by directors including Alfred Hitchcock, Marc Allegret, Carol Reed,
Andrzej Wajda, Ridley Scott, and Francis Ford Coppola, and with stars
ranging from Wallace Beery, Ronald Colman, and Jean-Louis Barrault to
Peter O'Toole, Anthony Quinn, and David Carradine.  These films have been
discussed in reviews and articles in various literary and film journals,
but it seems high time to address the many issues raised by Conrad films
in a single volume.
        Would you be interested in contributing to a volume of essays
about Conrad films?  The issues to be addressed here may include (but are
by no means limited to) the following:
        - What happens to Conrad's texts in the course of bringing them to
film?  How are these changes motivated?  Why, for example, are Conrad's
native or half-caste heroines in the Malay novels often replaced with
European white women?  Why do films of *Victory* always have a "happy
ending" unfaithful to the original text?
        - What did Conrad think of the medium of film?  How do the film
versions of his works compare with theatrical adaptations, including
those he himself prepared of *The Secret Agent*, *One Day More*, and
*Laughing Anne*, or his own "film-play" scenario of "Gaspar Ruiz"?
        - As Conrad himself was aware, the complex ironies of his prose
do not "translate" easily into film.  Why does his style tend so often
toward sentimental melodrama when "reduced" to its visual elements and
to quoted speech?
        - What are some of the practical problems faced by writers,
directors, and actors involved in film versions of Conrad's works, and
how have they been surmounted?  How has the development of film
technology altered the way in which Conrad's works are presented on
film?  Which of the Conrad films have survived, and which are now lost?
        - Why is Conrad's "film canon" so different from his literary
canon?  Why have there been so many film versions of *Victory* (nine at
last count, not to mention Harold Pinter's unfilmed screenplay), and
none at all of other works including *Chance*, *The Arrow of Gold*, or
"An Outpost of Progress"?
        - How have Conrad's films been received?  How have they altered
his reputation with the general public, and how have they influenced
other films and other directors?
        Historical contributions documenting the "untold story" of
Conrad films will be particularly appreciated.  Contributors are
encouraged to consider illustrating their contributions with still
photographs, posters, or other visual or archival materials.  The volume
will include an up-to-date Filmography of all films known to be based on
Conrad's works, together with a full Bibliography of publications
discussing Conrad films.
        *Conrad on Film* will be published either by an academic press or
in the *Conradian* series published by Rodopi in Amsterdam in connection
with *The Conradian*, the journal of the Joseph Conrad Society (U.K.).
        Those interested in contributing are requested to submit
tentative titles and brief abstracts to the editor by 10 September 1993;
the final deadline for complete submissions (plus disk in IBM/WordPerfect
or ASCII) will be one year later, 10 September 1994.  Please address all
correspondence to: Gene M. Moore, Engels Seminarium, Universiteit van
Amsterdam, Spuistraat 210, 1012 VT Amsterdam, Netherlands; fax 31-20-525-3052;
e-mail (internet): [log in to unmask]