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Carceral FantasiesCinema and Prison in Early Twentieth-Century America$
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Alison Griffiths

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161060

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161060.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Tableaux Mort

Tableaux Mort

Execution, Cinema, and Carceral Fantasies

(p.13) Chapter One Tableaux Mort
Carceral Fantasies

Alison Griffiths

Columbia University Press

Chapter 1: “Tableaux Mort: Execution, Cinema, and Carceral Fantasies” explores the nature of the carceral imaginary within the context of the early execution films, Galvanism and the electrical wonder show, and the Phantasmagoria. I use the contested cultural meanings of electricity and capital punishment as suggested in The Execution of Czolgoszto discern how electrocution represented in examples as diverse as an episode of Harry Houdini’s Master Mystery series (1919), a fictional reconstruction of Ruth Snyder’s 1928 electrocution in Picture Snatcher(Lloyd Bacon, 1933), and The Green Mile(Frank Darabont, 1999). These films satisfy a psychic impulse to witness punishment and incarceration while illuminating the long durée of punishment as embodied spectacle in numerous nineteenth century entertainment.

Keywords:   Electrocution, Punishment, Spectacle, Leon Czolgosz, Phantasmagoria, William Kemmler

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