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Contemporary ‘British’ cinema and the nation’s monarchs
Andrew Higson

concerns the nature of the portrayal of the British monarchy for contemporary audiences. In particular, depictions of monarchs from different historical periods demonstrate changes in the nature of royal power and authority. These changes can be seen in the differing degrees of narrative agency afforded to different monarchs, and in the representation of the monarch as national figurehead, the spectacle of

in The British monarchy on screen
Open Access (free)
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

multitude of establishment sins. In one film, Stone suddenly found himself capturing the zeitgeist of an era, and he reaped the benefits and whirlwind all at the same time. As the fallout from the film’s release began to bite, Richard Heffner’s questioning during the Open Mind interview confirmed where Stone had taken film as political medium in the post-​Reagan, supposedly newly-​enlightened 1990s. Heffner suggested that part of the negative reaction from the press –​the ‘Lords of Print’ as he called them –​derived from their own fear of the increasingly persuasive power

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Open Access (free)
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

around some moderate centre-​ground with Stone.9 His politics throughout have been rooted in the foundational myths about America. He is a supporter of still the greatest capitalist nation on earth, but not an unbridled advocate of capitalism, much less the continued expansion of corporate power that the particular brand of American capitalism has wrought. (As mentioned previously, there is something C on c l u sio n Figure 10  Protest against US military installation, Jeju Island, South Korea, March 2013 239 Th e ci nem a of Ol iver   S to ne 240 distinctly

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Open Access (free)
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

properly underway. Gripped with the desire to make his mark as a writer, the trip to Asia provided the raw material for Stone’s first writing project: a semi-​autobiographical novel that lay dormant for many years before being published in the 1990s as A Child’s Night Dream. Figure 1  Lou and Oliver Stone, Hong Kong, February 1968 Wa r The themes of suicide and death reverberate through the pages of this early writing, and it is not hard to see how the American post-​Second World War psychoses of power, responsibility, guilt and redemption dictate much of Stone

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Open Access (free)
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

corporate power throughout. Acknowledged as business-​savvy and tough, there is a grudging recognition of her abilities as owner of the team in an overbearingly patriarchal environment. In World Trade Center, the familial love expressed by Donna McLoughlin (Maria Bello) and Allison Jimeno (Maggie Gyllenhaal) anchor the film, and provide a counterpoint to the ordeal of the Port Authority officers buried in the rubble of the towers. Stone seeks to portray and understand the small-​scale, human aspects of the story rather than be consumed by the geopolitical dimensions

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Open Access (free)
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

Jeffersonian views of democracy and power predominate.17 Stone’s on-​screen engagement with the issues of media influence, sophistry and corporate power commenced with his watchable, yet largely overlooked, study of broadcasting, Talk Radio, released in 1988. The film was loosely based on the events leading up to the assassination in 1984 of combative radio talk show host Alan Berg by white supremacists in Denver, Colorado. The screenplay credits were shared by Stone and Eric Bogosian, the latter having written an earlier play about the murder, with the story later

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Open Access (free)
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

raising in Natural Born Killers. What seems clear is that the desire to criticise the establishment was not dissipating so much as it was finding new channels to express itself –​documentaries, media appearances, protests –​leaving the dramatic work not bereft of critique, but less obviously infused with it. Whatever the critical reservations, both Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Savages were about the desire for making money, the power and influence that money incites and buys, and the extent to which moral frameworks may be stretched to accommodate those desires

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Open Access (free)
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

story on an unsuspecting world which had not thought about the prospect of one plane crashing into everything!16 Can artists survive everything except ridicule? Was the story no more than an irreverent homage to Stone’s previous power and force? After all, the director himself was no stranger to self-​parody. He was perfectly happy in the 1990s to help fellow director Ivan Reitman concoct his fantasy ‘presidential takeover by common man’ story in Dave (1993), by playing himself appearing on Larry King Live and suggesting –​rightly, of course, in the plot

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Open Access (free)
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

James Cromwell and I discussed making Bush senior an uglier figure, but I felt in the end we needed a foil for Bush Jr. With Bush [G. W.] the issue was that he was around power his whole life. When that happens you smell it, you want it. For Bush, the only way to be strong was to be stronger than his dad. In that sense, Bush’s best moment is when he decides to invade Iraq –​show his dad that he can finish the job! That’s the way he saw it. Interviewer: How did the deal for Savages get set up? Stone: I liked the book right away, and purchased it myself from Don Winslow

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Open Access (free)
The cinematic afterlife of an early modern political diva
Elisabeth Bronfen and Barbara Straumann

In the American TV mini-series Political Animals (2012), Sigourney Weaver plays Elaine Barrish Hammond, a divorced former First Lady who serves as Secretary of State. In a trailer for the series, Hammond explains her own will to power by invoking a comparison to historical female politicians: ‘I took this job as Secretary of State because I feel I can make a difference. Eleanor

in The British monarchy on screen