The first book to unpack American cinema's long history of representing death, this work considers movie sequences in which the process of dying becomes an exercise in legibility and exploration for the camera. Reading attractions-based cinema, narrative films, early sound cinema, and films using voiceover or images of medical technology, C. Scott Combs connects the slow or static process of dying to formal film innovation throughout the twentieth century. He looks at Thomas Edison'sElectrocuting an Elephant(1903), D. W. Griffith'sThe Country Doctor(1909), John Ford'sHow Green Was My Valley(1941), Billy Wilder'sSunset Boulevard(1950), Stanley Kubrick's2001: A Space Odyssey(1968), and Clint Eastwood'sMillion Dollar Baby(2004), among other films, to argue against the notion that film cannot capture the end of life because it cannot stop moving forward. Instead, he shows how the end of dying occurs more than once and in more than one place, understanding death in cinema as constantly in flux, wedged between technological precision and embodied perception.
Subjects: Film Studies, Philosophy, Art & Art History, Sociology