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Ana Maria Sapountzi

Making Meaning of Laurence Olivier: Reading Queer Sensibilities in his Hollywood Performances Under the Motion Picture Production Code, 1939-1960

Supervised by: Dr Elisabetta Girelli

Abstract:

Undertaking theoretically informed queer analyses of British actor Laurence Olivier’s major Hollywood work, my research identifies the subversive trajectory of his star-making performances and argues as to how they fundamentally challenge the ideals of masculine heteronormativity. Creating a discussion within prolific queer theory, my thesis examines Olivier’s nuanced and complex aesthetic in his roles as lover (Wuthering Heights (1939), Rebecca (1940), Pride and Prejudice (1940), Carrie (1952), The Prince and the Showgirl (1957)) and as a military man (The Devil’s Disciple (1959), Spartacus (1960)).

The aim of this study is to investigate an academically overlooked part of Olivier’s career, and forge a new critical approach in the discourse surrounding the actor.

Teaching and Tutoring:

FM2001: Modern World Cinemas

FM1002: Film History and Historiography

FM1001: Key Concepts in Film Studies

Publications:

Articles:

“Reading and Resistance: Re-visiting The Witch’s Flight: The Cinematic, The Black Femme and the Image of Common Sense in Politically Turbulent Times.” MAI: Feminism & Visual Culture, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2018) http://maifeminism.com/reading-and-resistance-re-visiting-the-witchs-flight-the-cinematic-the-black-femme-and-the-image-of-common-sense-in-politically-turbulent-times/

 Conference Papers:

“Look, But Don’t Touch: Laurence Olivier’s Queer Erotic Self-Display in Rebecca.” 28th International Screen Studies Conference. Glasgow University, 29 June-1 July, 2018.

“Objects of Otherness: Laurence Olivier’s Queer Mr. Darcy.” 13th Annual Postgraduate Film Studies Conference. University of St Andrews. 3-4 May, 2018.

“Expressing Otherness through Objects and Surfaces: Laurence Olivier’s Queer Mr. Darcy in Robert Z. Leonard’s Pride and Prejudice (1940).” BAFTSS 6th Annual Conference. University of Kent, 12-13 April, 2018.

 “Laurence Olivier and the Challenging of Sexual ‘Normalcy’ in Hollywood.” Kaleidoscope: Post-graduate Research Network of Scotland. The University of Edinburgh, 5 June, 2017.

“Making Meaning of Laurence Olivier: Reading Queer Sensibilities in his Hollywood Performances from 1939-1960.” Roles: A Sexuality and Gender Forum 7th Annual Conference. University of Birmingham, 18 May, 2017.

“Making Meaning of Laurence Olivier: Reading Queer Sensibilities in his Hollywood Performances, 1939-1960.” Déjà-Vu Recall, Reiteration, Resistance: University of Dundee Postgraduate Conference. University of Dundee, 11-12 May, 2017.

“Making Meaning of Laurence Olivier: Reading Queer Sensibilities in his Hollywood Performances from 1939-1960.” 12th Annual Postgraduate Film Studies Conference. University of St Andrews, 27-28 April.

Book Reviews:

Lloyd Michaels, Sweet and Lowdown: Woody Allen’s Cinema of Regret (New York: Wallflower Press,2017) book review featured in Frames Cinema Journal, Issue 12.

Shane Brown, Queer Sexualities in Early Film: Cinema and Male-Male Intimacy (London: I.B. Tauris,2016) book review featured in Frames Cinema Journal, Issue 11.

Service to Profession:

Postgraduate Representative:

Postgraduate Representative, British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS), (2018-)

Postgraduate Representative, Department of Film Studies, University of St Andrews (2017-2018).

Conference Organiser:

13th Annual Postgraduate Film Studies Conference, University of St Andrews, 3-4 May 2017.