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Stairs in cinema : a formal and thematic investigation

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Stairs in cinema : a formal and thematic investigation

Babineau, Dan (2003) Stairs in cinema : a formal and thematic investigation. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Stairways have appeared with great regularity throughout film history, often in scenes of tremendous intensity and significance. As a complex element of architecture, and an equally complex signifier, the stairway offers filmmakers rich possibilities of expression. This thesis investigates the appearances of stairways and explains the multi-layered nature of their role in narrative cinema. Following an outline of the repertoire of possibilities signified by the staircase as an element of mise-en-scene, movement, and symbolic registers, the thesis turns to a series of case studies. Focusing on the classical Hollywood cinema, the investigation is divided into chapters on the musical, the melodrama and the films of Alfred Hitchcock. A dream element in the Hollywood musical, a dramatic site of confrontation, spectacle and expressive mise-en-scene in the melodrama, and an evocative recurring detail in Hitchcock's cinema, the thesis demonstrates the prevalence and dramatic importance of stairways. Concluding arguments point to the multiple ways that stairways have served the needs of various genres at different periods of film history, and how they have played key roles in the work of different international directors.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Babineau, Dan
Pagination:vi, 173 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:School of Cinema
Date:2003
Thesis Supervisor(s):Russell, Catherine
ID Code:2366
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:27
Last Modified:14 Dec 2012 16:24
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