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Lady in the DarkIris Barry and the Art of Film$
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Robert Sitton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165785

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165785.001.0001

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The Spectator

The Spectator

(p.91) 8 The Spectator
Lady in the Dark

Robert Sitton

Columbia University Press

This chapter details Iris Barry's writings for the Spectator. Iris began developing an aesthetic for the emerging art of film at a time when motion pictures were finding a grammar and syntax to differentiate the medium from theater and the other arts. Iris saw many of the seminal films of the period with fresh eyes, not knowing which, if any, eventually would take their place among the canons of a new art form. Her writing and analysis was sophisticated, substantial, and surprising for a self-taught critic who seemed to have derived great benefit from her informal contacts and conversations with the important British modernists she knew. As she began her career as a film critic, Iris faced two formidable challenges: how to define film as an art form and distinguish it from the other arts, and how to acknowledge foreign superiority in filmmaking in the face of rising British nationalism.

Keywords:   film critics, Spectator magazine, film reviews, motion picture

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