An Elusive Passage
This book explores the theme of death and dying in American cinema. It situates cinema along a specific technological trajectory in order to understand its death sign by looking at some of the earlier moments in medical history and popular culture when experimentation and doubt converged around machines. Two different but related ambiguities stand out in this history: one, the overlap and confusion between machine and human mobility (and vitality); two, the understanding of electricity as both a vital and lethal force. Through readings of films such as Electrocuting an Elephant, The Country Doctor, and How Green Was My Valley, the book examines the relationship between embodied human perception and mechanical surplus. In particular, it considers two supplemental devices that are thought to be capable of immediately visualizing death as occurring in time: the electric chair and the heart monitor. The book concludes by considering recent recordings (film and video) made in hospital or at home that structure real death “cinematically”.
Columbia Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .