From Vaudeville to the Arthouse to the Grindhouse: The Ancient Epic Subverted
Kevin M. McGeough [+]
University of Lethbridge
Moving away from the epic tradition, Chapter 4 examines comedic and subversive treatments of the ancient world in film. It discusses vaudeville traditions in comedic musicals about ancient Rome and traces this through to Jesus Christ Superstar. It relates this to British comedic traditions such as the Carry On series and Monty Python’s Life of Brian also discussing American satire in Mel Brooks’ films and more recent attempts (like Meet the Spartans). It looks at darker treatments of the ancient world, such as Fellini’s Satyricon and the brief but pivotal moments where the ancient world is depicted in A Clockwork Orange. The chapter then goes on to discuss the depiction of the ancient world in grindhouse and exploitation cinema and concludes with a discussion of how the television series I, Claudius reflects a type of anti-spectacle.