The University Record, January 30, 1996

MQR releases volume two of special centennial issue on movies

By Bernie DeGroat
News and Information Services 

Although many film students today regard the golden age of cinema as a topic of classroom discussion only, many of the writers in the second volume of the Michigan Quarterly Review's (MQR) special centennial issue on the movies make it clear that film was far from an academic subject in their experience.

"We are reminded by their testimony, and their nostalgia, of the bedrock significance of film for so many people in so many cultures," say co-editors Laurence Goldstein, professor of English, and Ira Konigsberg, professor of English and of film/video studies, in the introduction to MQR.

"What passes now as classic cinema was more than a mind-blowing distraction, more than an escape, a place of refuge from the hard realities outside the theater. It was an art form central to the cultural life of the planet, one that people took in like milk, that gave them nourishment and hope."

The second part of MQR's The Movies: A Centennial Issue, an anthology of essays, reviews, fiction, poetry and graphics on the subject of film, includes works by William Paul, associate professor of English and of film/video studies; alumnus John Briley, who won an Academy Award for his screenplay for "Gandhi;" and Poonam Arora, who teaches film and cultural studies at U-M-Dearborn.

Paul's essay calls attention to a topic usually neglected in film scholarship: the screen---its size, its shape and its place in the motion picture theater. In a short memoir, Briley refers to film as the major art form of the 20th century and expresses gratitude for having participated in a film industry conscious of the quality of its product and its moral impact on audiences. Arora reviews four books that deal with multicultural cinema, one each on the movies of China and India and two collections of essays on ethnographic film.

In all, the writings of more than two dozen contributors appear in the second part of MQR's special movies issue, including:


Michael Anderegg's account of how the separation between the performer in the real world and on the screen has eroded at times, especially in the case of Orson Welles.


Bonnie Friedman's essay on what "The Wizard of Oz" meant to her as a child and the conformist message it sends to young girls.


Martin Marks' essay on how Warner Brothers used music in diverse ways to enhance "Casablanca" and "The Maltese Falcon."


The late producer Samuel Marx's account of meetings with Truman, Marshall and Oppenheimer in the process of making the first movie about the A-bomb.


Director Pier Paolo Pasolini's poem of homage to MarilynMonroe.


Television writer Burt Prelutsky's interview with director Billy Wilder.


Alan West's examination of the opera film.

Part 2 is now available at local bookstores and at the MQR office in Room 3032, Rackham Building. For more information, call 764-9265.