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Title:Fred Zinnemann and the Documentary Fiction Film
Author(s):Super, Joel Nicholas
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Carringer, Robert L.
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:This dissertation examines the history, genesis, and documentary ethos that inform some of Fred Zinnemann's key films that synthesize elements of the documentary film and the Hollywood narrative film into a hybrid form I call the documentary fiction. The study addresses a lack of critical attention to Zinnemann's career by setting up a framework within which to appreciate his films. Chapter 1 demonstrates that, although most of Zinnemann's films, such as High Noon (1952) and From Here to Eternity (1953), were critically and popularly well-received, his social realism, expressing a liberal, progressive outlook, was at odds with the generally reactionary critical milieu created by the ascendant auteur critics of the fifties. In Chapter 2, I lay the groundwork for a reevaluation of Zinnemann's early films, which expressed documentary impulses without being either traditional documentaries or the semidocumentaries of the period. In addition, I deepen the historical context for Zinnemann's postwar films as unique expressions of the documentary impulse by discussing the use of documentary signifiers and conventions in some of the better known semidocumentaries--The House on 92nd Street (1946) and The Naked City (1948), for example. Chapter 3 treats the production history of Fred Zinnemann's The Wave (1937) as a means of establishing the case for Zinnemann's co-authorship of a film whose authorship has hitherto been solely credited to its producer and photographer, Paul Strand, and giving a reading of the film which relates it to Zinnemann's later documentary fictions. Chapter 4 isolates the six shared characteristics that define the films I call Zinnemann's documentary fictions and discusses their permutations in The Search (1948), The Men (1950), and Teresa (1951). Chapter 5 concludes the study with an analysis of A Man for All Seasons, which produces a richer understanding of how this film, sometimes seen as an anomaly for the director of From Here to Eternity and High Noon, fits into the Zinnemann canon.
Issue Date:1998
Description:302 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9904603
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1998

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