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The Cinema of Terry GilliamIt's a Mad World$
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Jeff Birkenstein, Anna Froula, and Karen Randell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165358

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165358.001.0001

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The Animated Aesthetics of Terry Gilliam in Jabberwocky and Beyond

(p.16) Chapter One Steampunked
The Cinema of Terry Gilliam

Anna Froula

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines Terry Gilliam's influence on and adoption of the steampunk aesthetic by examining his animation and his live-action films, especially his first solo-directed film, Jabberwocky (1977). For his first almost completely live-action movie, Jabberwocky, Gilliam brought to life the nightmarish creature from Lewis Carroll's poem “Jabberwocky” (1872) to explore what he characterises as “the idea of a world where the terror created by a monster is good for business” through “a collision of fairy tales”. It follows the tale of Dennis Cooper, who dreams of taking stock and marrying the scornful girl next door, Griselda Fishfinger. The film's script reflects Gilliam's long-running resistance to the US military empire, as well as his appreciation and practice of creative craftsmanship over mediocre repetition, which illustrates steampunk's rebellious and anarchic ideology.

Keywords:   steampunk aesthetic, Jabberwocky, US military empire, steampunk, anarchic ideology

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