Download An Improvised Life: A Memoir by Alan Arkin PDF

By Alan Arkin

Alan Arkin knew he was once going to be an actor from the age of 5: "Every movie I observed, each play, each piece of song fed an unquenchable have to flip myself into anything except what I was." An Improvised Life is the Oscar winner's clever and unpretentious recollection of the process--artistic and personal--of changing into an actor, and a revealing investigate the artistic brain of 1 of the easiest practitioners on level or display. In a way that's direct, down-to-earth, obtainable, and articulate, Arkin finds insights not just approximately himself (and his viewers and students), but in addition truths for the remainder of us approximately paintings, relationships, and feel of self.

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The Frankenstein monster suffers, weeps, responds to music, longs to relate to people; Henry and Elizabeth merely declaim histrionically. Even in Son of Frankenstein—the film in which the restructured monster is explicitly designated as evil and superhuman—the monster’s emotional commitment to Ygor and grief over his death carries far greater weight than any of the other relationships in the film. But the principle goes far beyond the Monster’s being sympathetic. Ambivalence extends to our attitude to normality.

However, if people have different responses to horror film, some deriving pleasure from the genre and others not, Wood and Carroll’s discussions of it has particular problems. Their accounts purport to describe the pleasures of the genre to viewers, but it is quite clear that INTRODUCTION 23 certain viewers do not gain pleasure from the genre, and as a result, not all viewers consume horror films in the same way. In Chapter 3, Andrew Tudor pays particular attention to this problem and argues that the very attempt to understand how audiences gain pleasure from horror films is misconstrued.

What the previous generation repressed in us, we, in turn, repress in our children, seeking to mold them into replicas of ourselves, perpetuators of a discredited tradition. All this may seem to have taken us rather far from our immediate subject. In fact, I have been laying the foundations, stone by stone, for a theory of the American horror film which (without being exhaustive) should provide us with a means of approaching the films seriously and responsibly. One could, I think, approach any of the genres from the same starting point; it is the horror film that responds in the most clear-cut and direct way, because central to it is the actual dramatization of the dual concept of the repressed/the Other, in the figure of the Monster.

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