From Vaudeville to the Arthouse to the Grindhouse: The Ancient Epic Subverted

From Griffith to Grindhouse - Representations of Antiquity in Film - Kevin M. McGeough

Kevin M. McGeough [+-]
University of Lethbridge
Kevin M. McGeough is professor of archaeology in the Department of Geography at the University of Lethbridge. Having excavated in Israel, Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt, he is the editor of The Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research. He is currently researching the reception of Near Eastern Archaeology in a variety of media and has recently published a three-volume book on archaeological reception in the Victorian era, The Ancient Near East in the Nineteenth Century (2015).

Description

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.

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Citation

McGeough, Kevin. From Vaudeville to the Arthouse to the Grindhouse: The Ancient Epic Subverted. From Griffith to Grindhouse - Representations of Antiquity in Film. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2022. ISBN 9781781799819. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=39764. Date accessed: 18 Oct 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.39764. Oct 2022

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