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A Companion to Ancient Greece and Rome on Screen



A Companion to Ancient Greece and Rome on Screen

Arthur J. Pomeroy (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-74144-3 June 2017 Wiley-Blackwell 568 Pages


A comprehensive treatment of the Classical World in film and television, A Companion to Ancient Greece and Rome on Screen closely examines the films and TV shows centered on Greek and Roman cultures and explores the tension between pagan and Christian worlds.

Written by a team of experts in their fields, this work considers productions that discuss social settings as reflections of their times and as indicative of the technical advances in production and the economics of film and television. Productions included are a mix of Hollywood and European spanning from the silent film era though modern day television series, and topics discussed include Hollywood politics in film, soundtrack and sound design, high art and low art, European art cinemas, and the ancient world as comedy. 

Written for students of film and television as well as those interested in studies of ancient Rome and Greece, A Companion to Ancient Greece and Rome on Screen provides comprehensive, current thinking on how the depiction of Ancient Greece and Rome on screen has developed over the past century. It reviews how films of the ancient world mirrored shifting attitudes towards Christianity, the impact of changing techniques in film production, and fascinating explorations of science fiction and technical fantasy in the ancient world on popular TV shows like Star Trek, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, and Dr. Who.

Notes on Contributors ix

Introduction 1
Arthur J. Pomeroy

PART I The Development of the Depiction of Ancient Greece and Rome on Screen 15

1 Greece and Rome on Screen: On the Possibilities and Promises of a New Medium 17
Pantelis Michelakis

2 The Creation of the Epic: Italian Silent Film to 1915 37
Irmbert Schenk

3 From 1916 to the Arrival of Sound: The Systematization, Expressivity and Self–reflection of the Feature Film 61
Maria Wyke

4 The Resurgence of Epics in the 1950s: Classical Antiquity in Post–war Hollywood 91
Konstantinos P. Nikoloutsos

5 Hollywood Ascendant: Ben–Hur and Spartacus 119
Fiona Radford

6 The Peplum Era 145
Arthur J. Pomeroy

PART II Comedy, Drama, and Adaptation 161

7 Hollywood Meets Art-House Cinema: Michael Cacoyannis’s “Hybrid” Euripidean Trilogy 163
Anastasia Bakogianni

8 Greek Tragedy as Theater in Screen-Media 187
Meredith E. Safran

9 Greece and Rome on the Comic Screen 209
Lisa Maurice

10 The Return of a Genre 233
Jerry Benjamin Pierce

11 Franco Rossi’s Adaptations of the Classics 253
Arthur J. Pomeroy

12 I, Claudius and Ancient Rome as Televised Period Drama 271
Juliette Harrisson

13 Premium Cable Television 293
Monica S. Cyrino

14 Thinking through the Ancient World: “Late Antique Movies” as a Mirror of Shifting Attitudes towards
Christian Religion 307
Filippo Carlà–Uhink

15 Non-western Approaches to the Ancient World: India and Japan—Classical Heritage or Exotic Occidentalism? 329
Anja Wieber

PART III Film Production and Ancient World Cinema 349

16 Man to Man: Music and Masculine Relations in  Ben–Hur (1925 and 1959) 351
Stephan Prock

17 Visual Poetry on Screen: Sets and Costumes for Ancient Greek Tragedy 385
Alejandro Valverde García

18 Filming the Ancient World: Have Film Historians Made a Spectacular Omission of Epic Proportions? 403
Harriet Margolis

PART IV The Ancient World as an Idea 427

19 High Art and Low Art Expectations: Ancient Greece in Film and Popular Culture 429
Alastair J. L. Blanshard

20 “Soft” Science Fiction and Technical Fantasy: The Ancient World in Star Trek, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica and Dr Who 449
Otta Wenskus

21 The Ancient World is Part of Us: Classical Tragedy in Modern Film and Television 467
Anastasia Bakogianni

22 Ancient World Documentaries 491
Fiona Hobden

23 Mythology for the Young at Heart 515
Martin Lindner

Index 535