ReFocus: The Films of Jack Arnold

deadline for submissions: 
May 1, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Michael L Shuman / University of South Florida

ReFocus: The Films of Jack Arnold

CALL FOR CHAPTERS / CFP

We invite chapter proposals (300-500 words) for an edited volume of critical essays dealing with film director Jack Arnold to be published as part of the University of Edinburgh ReFocus series, which examines overlooked American directors (series editors Robert Singer, Frances Smith, and Gary D. Rhodes).

This edited collection, while emphasizing Arnold’s films in the science fiction and horror fields, will also examine the director’s work in the Western, Comedy, and Detective and Film Noir genres, as well as his innovative use of the emerging 3D film technology and his extensive involvement with television series during his later career.

Jack Arnold, in collaboration with John Landis, had planned a mid-80s rendition of The Lost World, the science fiction novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle originally filmed in 1925, employing modern-day special effects technology. That project never advanced beyond the script and story board phases, but in its absence, this missing film provides both tantalizing footnote for film scholars as well as a metaphor for the organizing principle of this edited collection.

Arnold’s films often projected the stereotyped situations and characters typical of 50s and 60s entertainment media but were elevated above these conventions by Arnold’s distinctive use of black and white cinematography, fast-paced action, and the suspenseful, sometimes eerie atmosphere pervading his work. Today’s audiences, attracted by Arnold’s compelling stories and his distinctive style, thus have access to a “lost world” of film conventions, a cinematic landscape where relationships and situations follow predictable and comforting norms and, in doing so, expose essential characteristics of the mid-century social order. The audience experiences, in effect, two distinct lost worlds created by Arnold: one of bygone cinematic conventions portraying an aspirational notion of the social order, and one revealing, if only tangentially, the actual ethics and mores of the time.

Arnold’s influence on contemporary cinema, exemplified by Guillermo del Toro’s appropriation of The Creature from the Black Lagoon’s amphibious being for his film The Shape of Water, demonstrates the director’s ability for identifying timeless narratives and iconic characters and bringing them to movie theaters, sometimes in 3D. This collection examines Arnold’s unique status in film history as both a director with a distinct, compelling style and as a creator of icons, an auteur of imaginative cinema.  

We especially solicit essays on the following films, television shows, and contextual topics:

 Films and TV:

 Science Fiction & Horror

  • It Came from Outer Space
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon
  • Revenge of the Creature
  • Tarantula
  • The Incredible Shrinking Man
  • Monster on Campus
  • Science Fiction Theatre (TV)
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (TV)

 Western

  • The Man from Bitter Ridge
  •  Red Sundown
  •  No Name on the Bullet

Detective and Film Noir

  • Girls in the Night                               
  • Outside the Law
  • Black Eye
  • Peter Gunn (TV)
  • Mr. Lucky (TV)
  • Ellery Queen (TV)
  • It Takes a Thief (TV)

 Comedy

  • The Mouse that Roared
  • Bachelor in Paradise
  • A Global Affair
  • The Bunny Caper
  • Sex and the Married Woman
  • The Brady Bunch (TV)
  • Mr. Terrific (TV)

                       

Contextual Topics:

  • Jack Arnold’s Influence on Contemporary Cinema
  • Issues of Representation and Class in Arnold’s Mysteries and Film Noir
  • Jack Arnold and the Development of Cinematic 3D
  • Film Conventions vs. the Social Order in the Directorial Work of Jack Arnold
  • Film to TV: Arnold’s Directorial Style Adapted for the Small Screen
  • Uncredited: Jack Arnold on Metaluna
  • The Mouse Re-imagined: The Mouse that Roared in Theatres and on TV
  • Directing the Stars: Jack Arnold on the Set with Bob Hope, Lana Turner, and Peter Sellers

We also invite essays on your choice of other films, TV episodes, and contextual topics.

 

Deadline for submission of proposals: May 1, 2022

 

Important Dates

Proposal Abstract and Author Bio: May 1, 2022

 Decision Date: June 1, 2022

 Final Version of Accepted Projects: October 1, 2022

 

 Proposal Submission

Interested scholars should send a 300-500 word proposal and a 150 word bio by May 1, 2022, to Michael L. Shuman at:

jackarnoldproject@gmail.com

 

Michael L. Shuman is Professor of Instruction in the Department of English at University of South Florida. His recent publications in film studies include “Dracula’s Deuce: How Horror Films Haunt Garage and Surf Music,” an analysis of film tropes and popular music for Weird Fiction Review, and “Accidental Outlaw: Agency and Genre in Ida Lupino’s The Bigamist,” a chapter in Ida Lupino, Filmmaker, edited by Phillip Sipiora. An essay on the 1947 film serial Jack Armstrong: All American Boy is forthcoming in ReFocus: The Films of Wallace Fox, edited by Gary D. Rhodes and Joanna Hearne. He is Deputy Editor of The Mailer Review, a publication dedicated to the work of author Norman Mailer, and regularly contributes articles and book reviews to that annual journal. Recent work for the Review includes “When Genres Collide: ‘The Last Night’ as Science Fiction,” a study of Mailer’s 1963 film treatment anticipating global nuclear catastrophe.