Excalibur is not a thing, something you can hold in your hand.
Excalibur is the good in you.
The power to do good, to stand up for what's right, to slay dragons, to capture bank robbers.
You always carry Excalibur in your heart.

Robert Tinnell, Kids of the Round Table (1995)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hoyle's Cinema of John Boorman

New from Scarecrow is an interesting-looking book on John Boorman, though a cursory glance at the bibliography leaves me rather disappointed from the get go. There is an extended treatment of Excalibur, but, unfortunately, the author offers little engagement with the prodigious scholarship on the film noting only monographs by Aberth, Aronstein, and the Umlands; Lacy's piece in The Arthurian Encyclopedia (from 1986!); and Wakefield's essay. Likewise, there is some discussion of Boorman's work on a Lord of the Rings film, but no apparent knowledge of recent work on this project by Janet Brennan Croft.

The Cinema of John Boorman
By Brian Hoyle
Scarecrow Press

Pages: 286
Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/2
978-0-8108-8395-6 • Hardback -- September 2012 • $65.00 • (£39.95)
978-0-8108-8396-3 • eBook -- September 2012 • $64.99 • (£39.95)

John Boorman has written and directed more than 25 television and feature films, including such classics as Deliverance, Point Blank, Hope and Glory, and Excalibur. He has been nominated for five Academy Awards, including twice for best Director (Deliverance and Hope and Glory). In the first full-length critical study of the director in more than two decades, author Brian Hoyle presents a comprehensive examination of Boorman’s career to date.

The Cinema of John Boorman offers a film-by-film appraisal of the director’s career, including his feature films and little-known works for television. Drawing on unpublished archive material, Hoyle provides a close reading of each of Boorman's films. Organized chronologically, each chapter examines two or three films and links them thematically. This study also describes Boorman’s interest in myths and quest narratives, as well as his relationship with writers and literature. Making the case that Boorman is both an auteur and a visionary, The Cinema of John Boorman will be of interest not only to fans of the director’s work but to film scholars in general.

Brian Hoyle lectures on film studies and English literature at the University of Dundee. He is the author of numerous articles covering British and American cinema, including articles on Orson Welles, Joseph H. Lewis, Ken Russell, and Derek Jarman.