University of Rochester

EVENT: “Beyond the Valley of the Classical Hollywood Cinema—Rethinking the Loathsome Film of 1970,” lecture by Harry M. Benshoff of the University of North Texas

TIME, DATE, AND PLACE: 6 p.m.Thursday, March 25, in Lander Auditorium in Hutchison Hall on the University of Rochester’s River Campus

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public

February 13, 2004

Noted scholar Harry M. Benshoff will give a lecture titled “Beyond the Valley of the Classical Hollywood Cinema—Rethinking the Loathsome Film of 1970” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 25, in Lander Auditorium in Hutchison Hall on the University of Rochester’s River Campus. His talk is being presented in conjunction with the George Eastman House’s March series of “Loathsome Films.”

Benshoff’s lecture will explore the phenomenon of the “loathsome film.” The term was applied to a series of Hollywood movies from the late 1960s to the early 1970s featuring unprecedented subversive content and style. Drawing on the permissiveness of the era and experimenting with styles and narrative patterns, the works were derided by critic John Simon as “loathsome.” Four of the films that became a part of the “loathsome” genre will be screened at the Dryden Theatre in March: Boom! (directed by Joseph Losey, 1968), Performance (Donald Cammell/Nicolas Roeg, 1970), Myra Breckinridge (Michael Sarne, 1970), and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Russ Meyer, 1970).

Benshoff, an assistant professor at the University of North Texas’s Department of Radio, Television, and Film, will argue that what critics found so “loathsome” in these films was their attempt to explore Hollywood constructions of gender, sexuality, and violence. Benshoff is the author of Queer Images: A History of Sexuality in American Film, Monsters in the Closet: Homosexuality and the Horror Film, the article “The Short-Lived Life of the Hollywood LSD Film,” and co-author of America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies.

The lecture is sponsored by the University of Rochester’s Film and Media Studies Program and the Program in Visual and Cultural Studies. It is co-sponsored by the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies, the Graduate Organizing Group, and the Pride Network in cooperation with the George Eastman House. The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact (585) 275-7451.




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