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What kind of contraceptive did Anna buy for Mary on “Downton Abbey”?

Quick Answer: Based on the historical advocacy of Marie Stopes, the author of the book which Mary presented to Anna prior to sending her shopping, the contraceptive was most likely a cervical cap.…

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How does the music of “Downton Abbey” service the narrative?

The acting, the costumes, the wit, the banter—people come to watch Downton Abbey (2010-2016) for many reasons, all valid, and none of which disappoint. Among the many of Downton Abbey’s…

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Ask the Professor: Why is the spinning wheel scene in “400 Blows” so memorable and iconic?

ScreenPrism: Why is the spinning wheel scene in 400 Blows (1959) so memorable and iconic? Professor Julian Cornell: I like the spinning scene’s placement within the narrative. One of the things I…

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Ask the Professor: Is “400 Blows” a semi-autobiography of Francois Truffaut?

ScreenPrism: Is Antoine in 400 Blows (1959) an alter ego of Truffaut’s? How is 400 Blows a semi-autobiography? Professor Julian Cornell: There is a famous story about why this particular actor,…

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Ask the Professor: How did “400 Blows” change the coming-of-age genre?

ScreenPrism: How did 400 Blows (1959) change the coming-of-age genre? Professor Julian Cornell: I watch a lot of films about childhood, films with children and child actors, and films that are…

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Ask the Professor: Did the French New Wave invent the idea of the “auteur”?

ScreenPrism: Did the French New Wave invent the idea of the “auteur”? Professor Julian Cornell: The French New Wave developed the notion of the filmmaker as an artist. They didn’t invent the…

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Ask the Professor: How did Truffaut transition from harsh film critic to filmmaker?

ScreenPrism: How did Truffaut transition from harsh film critic to filmmaker, and are there other examples of this path? Professor Julian Cornell: Truffaut was a critic before he became a…

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Ask the Professor: Were the five sequels to “400 Blows” a new kind of episodic storytelling?

ScreenPrism: Were the five sequels to 400 Blows (1959) a new kind of episodic storytelling? Professor Julian Cornell: I’m sure when Truffaut made 400 Blows (1959), he wasn’t thinking the way a…

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Ask the Professor: Why is the therapist scene in “400 Blows” so iconic?

ScreenPrism: Why is the therapist scene in 400 Blows (1959) so iconic? Professor Julian Cornell: The story goes – and I’m always a little skeptical because I haven’t read an interview where…

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Ask the Professor: Why does “400 Blows” end on a freeze frame? What was influential about it?

ScreenPrism: Why does 400 Blows (1959) end on a freeze frame? What was influential about this choice? Professor Julian Cornell: I can see why people were upset by it at the time. If you ask me why…

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Ask the Professor: Why does “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” end with a freeze frame?

ScreenPrism: Why does Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) end with a freeze frame? Professor Julian Cornell: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) director George Roy Hill is underrated…

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Why is “Mr. Holmes” more like “Gods and Monsters” than other Sherlock Holmes films?

Quick Answer: While Mr. Holmes features the famous Arthur Conan Doyle character Sherlock Holmes, the film presents an aged Holmes who actively defines himself against the stereotype developed in…

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