The Films of Fred Zinnemann
The Re-Focus series from Edinburgh University Press is dedicated to reappraising the work of neglected and undervalued Hollywood filmmakers. Following the forthcoming inaugural volume on the films of Budd Boetticher, the second collection will be dedicated to Fred Zinnemann.
During his five-decade-long career as a filmmaker, Fred Zinnemann rose to the top of his profession. He personally won four Academy Awards and directed six Oscar winning performances. Several of his films are acknowledged classics, including High Noon (1952), From Here to Eternity (1953), The Nun's Story (1959) and A Man for All Seasons (1966). He also helped to discover actors such as Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift, and made films across a wide variety of genres, including the Western, film noir, musical, war movie, biopic and literary adaptation. Despite all of this, surprisingly little has been written about him and his career.
This critical neglect may, in part, be due to the perception that Zinnemann was not considered to be an auteur. Rather, he has been damned with faint praise as merely a conscientious and meticulous craftsman. This is, however, a generalisation, and Zinnemann made more than his share of personal films which were politically engaged and concerned with philosophical and ethical questions. However, regardless of a project's origins, he approached each film with the same attention to detail, always using his mise-en-scène expressively and drawing carefully crafted performances from his casts.
This collection of essays seeks to redress the critical imbalance and reassess Zinnemann's career. We are therefore looking for contributions which offer new and original perspectives on his work, and while we are interested in all aspects of it, we particularly welcome proposals in the following areas:
Readings of individual films, particularly the lesser known works
Key themes and motifs across his career
Zinnemann's short films
His visual style and mise-en-scène
Zinnemann and actors / writers
The ethics / philosophy of his films
Zinnemann as political filmmaker
Zinnemann and genre / docodrama
Zinnemann and the studio system
Music and sound in Zinnemann's films