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Performing the Edwardian ideal: David Mamet and "The Winslow Boy"

Morra, Irene 2005. Performing the Edwardian ideal: David Mamet and "The Winslow Boy". Modern Drama 48 (4) , pp. 744-757. 10.1353/mdr.2006.0034

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When The Winslow Boy, with screenplay and direction by David Mamet, premiered in 1999, critics scrambled to account for Mamet's uncharacteristic choice of subject and setting. Variously termed a costume piece (Null), Mer-chant-Ivory fare (Macnab), and an Edwardian drama (James 22), the film was consistently noted to be far removed from Mamet's apparently typical "hide-and-seek scenarios featuring characters who fire off tough-guy, staccato dialogue at machine-gun velocity" (Sipe) or "lowlifes and con men, gamblers and thieves" (Ebert). Although Mamet himself acknowledges that the film marks a "departure," he qualifies that observation with the statement that he is departing only "from some of [his] other work" (qtd. in Graham 231). Indeed, while critics in one breath note the vast difference between the subject of The Winslow Boy and that of Mamet's films and plays, they tend to search for and ultimately assert a thematic or linguistic emphasis consistent with that of Mamet's work. That similarity has been seen to lie in the film's apparent interest in "whether an offscreen crime really took place" (Ebert), in its use of "trademark" Mamettian ellipses and overlapping dialogue (Kelleher), and in its dissection of assumed social and domestic values (McIntire-Strasburg).

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
ISSN: 0026-7694
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:40

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