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Acting Social: The Cinema of Mike Nichols

Stevens, Curtis Kyle (2010) Acting Social: The Cinema of Mike Nichols. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation argues for the study of director Mike Nichols by elucidating his aesthetic, historical, social, and political importance. He ushered in the turn from "Classical" to "New" Hollywood, and studying his work illuminates unacknowledged similarities and differences in both periods. Furthermore, looking at the cultural significance of his oeuvre deepens our understanding of the cultural revolution of the 1960s, as well as key events in the ensuing five decades of American social history. By analyzing the methods for crafting scenarios that Nichols carried forward to the cinema from his seminal work in radio and theater, I generate new insight into the representation of the interpersonal on-screen, particularly through the lenses of gender and sexuality. There is no scholarship devoted to Nichols's study, and I look what his exclusion from debates in Cinema Studies tells us both about his films and about the dominant approaches and theoretical paradigms used to interpret the cinema, particularly regarding concepts such as character, performance, dialogue, the psychological, the human, and the social.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Stevens, Curtis Kylecks1@pitt.eduCKS1
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFischer, Lucylfischer@pitt.eduLFISCHER
Committee Member Maccabe, Colinmaccabe@pitt.eduMACCABE
Committee MemberShumway,
Committee MemberLandy, Marciamlandy@pitt.eduMLANDY
Committee MemberAnderson, Mark Lynnandersml@pitt.eduANDERSML
Date: 29 January 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 28 September 2009
Approval Date: 29 January 2010
Submission Date: 9 November 2009
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Angels in America; Carnal Knowledge; cinema; cinema acting; cinema and emotion; cinema dialogue; cinema improvisation; cinematic performance; close-up; Compass Theater; Compass Theatre; Dustin Hoffman; Jack Nicholson; Meryl Streep; Mike Nichols; Nichols and May; Paul Sills; performance; Postcards from the Edge; silence; Silkwood; The Birdcage; The Graduate; Viola Spolin; Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Other ID:, etd-11092009-172015
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:04
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:51


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