The University Record, December 10, 1996

Evening at Rackham highlights 100th anniversary of motion picture

By Bernie DeGroat
News and Information Services


As the centennial year of the birth of the motion picture comes to a close, the University will celebrate the history and mystique of film during the Evenings at the Rackham lecture series at 7 p.m. Wed. (Dec. 11) in the Rackham Building Auditorium.

Free to the public, "The Power and the Pleasures of the Movie" will feature talks by scholars and poets who will use film clips for illustration.

"Arthur Miller has called film `the single great cultural invention of this civilization,'" says Nancy Cantor, dean of the Rackham School of Graduate Studies. "How and why it touches our lives is often mysterious, and that is reason enough to probe its icons, its texts, its technology and its profound impact on our lives. In this centennial year, Rackham takes pleasure in sponsoring a forum for the better understanding of cinema past and cinema present."

Featured presentations include:


"Movie Theaters" by William Paul, associate professor of film and video and author of Ernst Lubitsch's American Comedy, Laughing Screaming: Modern Hollywood Horror and Comedy, and a forthcoming book on movie theater architecture and the development of Hollywood cinema.


"Propaganda and Propagation in Silent Film: The Black Stork, 1916-1928" by Martin Pernick, professor of history and author of the new book The Black Stork, which looks at eugenic euthanasia in American medicine and film.


"Birmingham Brown's Turn" and "Hattie and the Power of Biscuits" by Thylias Moss, professor of English, winner of a 1996 Guggenheim Fellowship and author of the recent collection of selected poems Small Congregations.


"Flat, Dusty and Dull: Westerns and the Secret Cinematic Pleasures of a Girlhood in Lubbock, Texas" by Gaylyn Studlar, director of the Program in Film and Video Studies, professor of English and women's studies, and co-editor of a forthcoming book on the westerns of John Ford.


"Femininities in the Fifties: Ambiguity in the Star Image `Kim Novak'" by Jackie Byars, associate professor of communication and co-director of film studies at Wayne State University, and an expert on feminist film theory and criticism and Hollywood melodramas of the 1950s.


"Superman: A Film Review in the Form of a Poem" and "In Person: Bette Davis" by Laurence Goldstein, professor of English, editor of the Michigan Quarterly Review, and author of The American Poet at the Movies: A Critical History and The Movies: Texts, Receptions, Exposures.


"In Praise of Doris Day" by Tobin Siebers, professor of English and aficionado of Doris Day movies.


"Monotony and Banality: The Economy of Jeanne Dielman" by Carina Yervasi, assistant professor of French, who currently is working on projects on the cinema, culture and politics of Europe in the 1970s and on the cinematic representations of Joan of Arc.


"Reading Bonjour Tristesse at the Florence Crittenden Home for Unwed Mothers," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Hot Flickers, Movie Light" by Diane Wakoski, poet-in-residence at Michigan State University, whose books of poetry contain themes of Hollywood movies.


"The Czech New Wave and the Slyly Subversive Cinema of Central Europe" by Herbert Eagle, director in the Residential College, associate professor of Slavic languages and literatures, and expert on Russian and East European film.

The Evenings at the Rackham lecture series, sponsored by the Rackham Graduate School, offers "a multitude of avenues for addressing matters of scholarly but popular interest in ways that articulate, reaffirm and, at times, debate the values of the University, with a commitment to fostering the diversity of people, ideas and perspectives."

"The Power and the Pleasures of the Movie" is organized by the Program in Film and Video Studies. For more information, contact Vi Benner of Rackham at 647-4566 or