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Carceral Fantasies – Cinema and Prison in Early Twentieth-Century America - Columbia Scholarship Online
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Carceral Fantasies: Cinema and Prison in Early Twentieth-Century America

Alison Griffiths


A groundbreaking contribution to the study of nontheatrical film exhibition, Carceral Fantasies tells the little-known story of how cinema found a home in the U.S. penitentiary system and how the prison emerged as a setting and narrative trope in modern cinema. Focusing on films shown in prisons before 1935, Alison Griffiths explores the unique experience of viewing cinema while incarcerated and the complex cultural roots of cinematic renderings of prison life. Griffiths considers a diverse mix of cinematic genres, from early actualities and reenactments of notorious executions to reformist ex ... More

Keywords: Prison film exhibition, non-theatrical exhibition, prison history, film history, reform films, women’s prison history, electrocution and popular culture, punishment, visual spectacle, Sing Sing prison, Auburn prison, escape, prison and the senses

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780231161060
Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2017 DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231161060.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Alison Griffiths, author
City University of New York