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October 1996, Week 5


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Leo Enticknap <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 28 Oct 1996 11:30:35 GMT
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On Sun, 27 Oct 1996 11:48:29 -0400 Mike Frank wrote:
> in other words, can't a formal or rhetorical analysis of the films serve as
> as a historicist account to explain the differences in reception?
I wasn't (I hope!) suggesting the two were incompatible, and I certainly
 acknowledge that a textual approach to these two
films can (and already has) produce many plausible accounts in the differences
 in reception.  But the question that sparked
this discussion off (I think) asked why "Psycho" WAS well-received, and "Peeping
 Tom" wasn't; thus we are dealing with
issues of reception that were in place 36 years ago, not today.  There was a
 broad concensus among serious critics in 1960
that "Peeping Tom" was reprehensible, and now, most of them regard it as a
 masterpiece.  So I don't really think it's viable
to rely on the idea of self-generated meaning within a film text, as (in this
 case at least) such meaning is influenced by the
historical specificities in which such a 'text' is 'read'.
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