Understanding sound tracks through film theory.

By: Walker, Elsie M, 1975-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2015Description: ix, 435 pages : illustrations (black and white) ; 26 cm.ISBN: 9780199896325.Subject(s): Film, Television and Radio | Motion pictures-Sound effects | Motion pictures-Aesthetics | Sound motion pictures | Sound in motion picturesDDC classification: 791.43024WAL
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Understanding Sound Tracks Through Film Theory breaks new ground by redirecting the arguments of foundational texts within film theory to film sound tracks. Walker includes sustained analyses of particular films according to a range of theoretical approaches: psychoanalysis, feminism, genrestudies, post-colonialism, and queer theory. The films come from disparate temporal and industrial contexts: from Classical Hollywood Gothic melodrama (Rebecca) to contemporary, critically-acclaimed science fiction (Gravity). Along with sound tracks from canonical American films including TheSearchers and To Have and Have Not, Walker analyzes independent Australasian films: examples include Heavenly Creatures, a New Zealand film that uses music to empower its queer female protagonists; and Ten Canoes, the first Australian feature film with a script entirely in Aboriginal languages.Understanding Sound Tracks Through Film Theory thus not only calls new attention to the significance of sound tracks, but also focuses on the sonic power of characters representing those whose voices have all too often been drowned out.Understanding Sound Tracks Through Film Theory is both rigorous and accessible to all students and scholars with a grasp of cinematic and musical structures. Moreover, the book brings together film studies, musicology, history, politics, and culture and therefore resonates across the liberalarts.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Acknowledgments (p. ix)
  • General Introduction (p. 1)
  • Part I Genre Studies
  • 1 Introduction: "A Semantic/Syntactic Approach to Film Genre" (p. 15)
  • 2 The Searchers (p. 21)
  • 3 Dead Man (p. 52)
  • Part II Postcolonialism
  • 4 Introduction: "Colonialism, Racism, and Representation: An Introduction" (p. 89)
  • 5 Rabbit-Proof Fence (p. 101)
  • 6 Ten Canoes (p. 137)
  • Part III Feminism
  • 7 Introduction: "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" (p. 173)
  • 8 To Have and Have Not (p. 179)
  • 9 The Piano (p. 203)
  • Part IV Psychoanalysis
  • 10 Introduction: "Looking for the Gaze: Lacanian Film Theory and Its Vicissitudes" (p. 245)
  • 11 Bigger Than Life (p. 258)
  • 12 Shutter Island (p. 286)
  • Part V Queer Theory
  • 13 Introduction: "Imitation and Gender Insubordination" (p. 325)
  • 14 Rebecca (p. 339)
  • 15 Heavenly Creatures (p. 371)
  • Coda (p. 407)
  • Select Filmography (p. 419)
  • Further Perceiving (p. 421)
  • Select Glossary (p. 423)
  • Index (p. 429)

Reviews provided by Syndetics


Walker (film studies, Salisbury Univ.) builds on recent scholarly attention to film music and sound by critics and academics such as Claudia Gorbman; Kathryn Kalinak; Rick Altman; and, particularly, James Buhler, David Neumeyer, and Rob Deemer (authors of Hearing the Movies, 2010). She effectively synthesizes a range of theoretical approaches with the study of film sound. Using the rubrics of genre studies, postcolonialism, feminism, psychoanalysis, and queer theory, the author responds to the "increasing emphasis on sound tracks within film scholarship and university curricula" with a multidisciplinary analysis. Though the book is geared toward those already familiar with some of the terminology and methodology of recent scholarship, Walker's writing style is accessible, so anyone interested in challenging the "'visual chauvinism' of much other scholarship" (Walker quoting Kalinak) will find this study engaging and illuminating. In addition to contextualizing and synthesizing her analysis theoretically, Walker situates her primary texts--The Searchers, Dead Man, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Ten Canoes, To Have and Have Not, The Piano, Bigger Than Life, Shutter Island, Rebecca, and Heavenly Creatures--in terms of both history and the industry. This expertly researched book is a must read for those interested in film studies. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers. --Ramsay Bishop Wise, University of Missouri