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by Christopher Frayling

eBook Mad, Bad and Dangerous: The Scientist and the Cinema (LOCATIONS) download ISBN: 1861891350
Author: Christopher Frayling
Publisher: Reaktion Books (January 28, 2000)
Language: English
Pages: 224
ePub: 1497 kb
Fb2: 1155 kb
Rating: 4.6
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Category: Humour
Subcategory: Movies

In this book, Mad, Bad and Dangerous? . Christopher Fraying covers not only fictional new Prometheuses like Dr. Frankenstein and Andre Delambre (the scientist whose malfunctioning teleportation device turned him into The Fly), but "real" scientists like Madame Curie and Louis Pasteur.

In this book, Mad, Bad and Dangerous? The Scientist and the Cinema, Mr. Frayling has put together a fascinating study of how public perceptions of the scientist have been molded by movies. Somewhere on the seesaw between "mad" movie scientists and "good" movie scientists are what you might call the "political" movie scientists - - sometimes they're evil, sometimes they're good.

In this book, Mad, Bad and Dangerous? . Frayling shows how these movie styles impacted each other and influenced our view of the scientist, particularly in the aftermath of WWII, with the arrival of the boffin movies in England and the Nazi rocket scientists in the . As a long time physics and math teachers well as a movie-lover, I am familiar with much of the background material he goes through. All of which influences we still see today, as Frayling reminds us, in movies like A Beautiful Mind, Contact, The Relic, etc.

Christopher Frayling's Mad, Bad and Dangerous? shows that the stereotype of the mad scientist is no laughing . Surprisingly, this is the first "book-length study of the changing image of the scientist in the movies", covering fantasy and horror as well as biopics, comedies and docu-dramas.

Christopher Frayling's Mad, Bad and Dangerous? shows that the stereotype of the mad scientist is no laughing matter, says PD Smith. But Frayling wants to do more than explore a theme in movie history. He argues that the way scientists are presented in films feeds our current anxiety about science. In the 20th century "popular films have tended to present scientists as either impossibly mad or impossibly saintly". But it's no surprise that there are more madmen than saints.

Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know: The Fathers of Wilde, Yeats and Joyce, a book by Colm Tóibín about the relationships between the writers and their fathers . The Scientist and the Cinema, a book by Christopher Frayling.

Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know: The Fathers of Wilde, Yeats and Joyce, a book by Colm Tóibín about the relationships between the writers and their fathers and the way they appear in their works. Mad, Bad and Dangerous, 2005 album by hard rock band Blue Tears. Mad, Bad and Dangerous?: The Scientist and the Cinema, a book by Christopher Frayling. A Mad, Bad, and Dangerous People?: England 1783–1846, book by Boyd Hilton.

And what mad scientists they were! Rotwang in Fritz Lang's Metropolis; Dr Frankenstein in James Whale's Universal series and its scores of. .Frayling concludes that, while the details change, the message stays fairly constant

And what mad scientists they were! Rotwang in Fritz Lang's Metropolis; Dr Frankenstein in James Whale's Universal series and its scores of descendants, shrieking, "It's alive!"; and Dr Strangelove. Together, they encoded and amplified many deep anxieties about the modern world. Frayling concludes that, while the details change, the message stays fairly constant. It is pretty comprehensive, although I missed Alec Guinness as the Man in the White Suit.

Mad, Bad and Dangerous? book. Christopher Frayling traces the genealogy of the scientist in film, showing how the scientist has often embodied the predominant anxieties of a particular historical moment

Mad, Bad and Dangerous? book. From Victor Frankenstein to Dr. Moreau to Doc Brown in Back. Christopher Frayling traces the genealogy of the scientist in film, showing how the scientist has often embodied the predominant anxieties of a particular historical moment. The fear of nuclear holocaust in the 1950s gave rise to a rash of radioactive-mutant horror movies, while the possible dangers of cloning and biotechnology in the 1990s manifested themselves in Jurassic Park. During these eras, the scientist's actions have been viewed through a lens of fascination and fear.

In Mad, Bad and Dangerous?, Christopher Frayling explores the genealogy of the film scientist in films made in Western Europe, and especially in Hollywood after the 1930s, showing how in film the scientist has often been used to represent the prevailing phobias of the time

In Mad, Bad and Dangerous?, Christopher Frayling explores the genealogy of the film scientist in films made in Western Europe, and especially in Hollywood after the 1930s, showing how in film the scientist has often been used to represent the prevailing phobias of the time.

Mad scientist (also mad doctor or mad professor) is a stock character . Frayling, Christopher – Mad, Bad and Dangerous?: The Scientist and the Cinema (Reaktion Books, 2005).

Mad scientist (also mad doctor or mad professor) is a stock character of a scientist who is described as "mad" or "insane" owing to a combination of unusual or unsettling personality traits and the unabashedly ambitious, taboo or hubristic nature of their experiments. The book is said to be a precursor of a new genre, science fiction, although as an example of gothic horror it is connected with other antecedents as well. Garboden, Nick (2007).

CHRISTOPHER FRAYLING. Are you sure you want to remove MAD, BAD AND DANGEROUS?

Christopher frayling. Mad, bad and dangerous?: The scientist and the cinema. 1 2 3 4 5. Want to Read. Are you sure you want to remove MAD, BAD AND DANGEROUS?: THE SCIENTIST AND THE CINEMA. from your list? Mad, bad and dangerous?: The scientist and the cinema. by CHRISTOPHER FRAYLING. Published by REAKTION BOOKS in LONDON. Written in Undetermined.

Mad, Bad and Dangerous explores the portrayal of the scientist in the movies from the crazy and scheming weirdo to the hero. In different periods the scientist has been used to evoke the fears and phobias of the time, including the 1950s movies of atomic scientists creating radioactive zombies, and the 1970s preoccupation with scientists as "baddies." Fictional portrayals are examined by Frayling alongside bio-pics of real-life scientists, revealing the madman and the saint as two sides of the same Hollywood coin.

Christopher Frayling is Rector of the Royal College of Art, London, and well known as an historian, critic, and award-winning radio and tele-vision broadcaster. His books in-clude Spaghetti Westerns (1980) and Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula (1991).

Comments: (3)
Mildorah
In this book, Mad, Bad and Dangerous? The Scientist and the Cinema, Mr. Frayling has put together a fascinating study of how public perceptions of the scientist have been molded by movies. As a long time physics and math teachers well as a movie-lover, I am familiar with much of the background material he goes through. Still, I was impressed by the wide scope of Mr. Frayling's work and the well-drawn conclusions he makes.

One of the techniques I sometimes use in my classroom is to have students identify math and science mistakes in the movies. This book opens with a classic--the Scarecrow's recitation of "the Pythagorean Theorem" in The Wizard of Oz. But this book really isn't concerned with such obvious mistakes. It is much more powerful is piecing together how mistakes and simplifications have led to a shorthand stereotype of the scientist we see in the movies: lab coat, glasses, disheveled hair, etc. This scientist may be the classic "mad" scientist, the distant pronouncer of hard to understand ideas, the nerd, as so on. And yet, this shorthand, often necessary for the success of a film, has become how people often actually view scientists.

After briefly looking back to the classics of stage and fiction that will heavily influence the earliest silent films (Faustus, Frankenstein, etc.), Frayling digs deep into one of the most influential characterizations of a scientist on film: Rotwang in Metropolis. Half alchemist, half scientist, Rotwang is the prototype of the impossible to understand, yet powerful man who made decisions that impact all those around him. This characterization and the graphic style of Metropolis had a huge impact on the movies that followed up to the present day (see Flash Gordon to Dr. Strangelove). If you've never seen the movie Metropolis, watch it (it is excellent) and then go to chapter 3 of this book. It will open your eyes.

Starting in the 1930's, there is a split. The "mad" scientist movie, which have their first peak in Frankenstein countered by the more "true" science movies like Things to Come. Both styles are still with us, though the first probably peaked with the sci-fi/horror films of the 60's while the second (a harder sell) probably peaked with the bio pics of the 40's (Madame Curie, Louis Pasteur, etc.). Frayling shows how these movie styles impacted each other and influenced our view of the scientist, particularly in the aftermath of WWII, with the arrival of the boffin movies in England and the Nazi rocket scientists in the U.S.

All of which influences we still see today, as Frayling reminds us, in movies like A Beautiful Mind, Contact, The Relic, etc. There is a ton of information and analysis in the pages of this book. Insight into a number of movies as well as, more importantly, insight into our understanding of the scientist. Anyone interested in either would be foolish to pass up this book.
Gralsa
Mad, Bad and Dangerous: The Scientist and the Cinema is about scientists in the movies, but not just about MAD scientists in the movies. Christopher Fraying covers not only fictional new Prometheuses like Dr. Frankenstein and Andre Delambre (the scientist whose malfunctioning teleportation device turned him into The Fly), but "real" scientists like Madame Curie and Louis Pasteur.

Somewhere on the seesaw between "mad" movie scientists and "good" movie scientists are what you might call the "political" movie scientists - - sometimes they're evil, sometimes they're good. (A lot depends on which side of the year 1945 it is, and whether the scientists work for the Soviets or the US.)

In any event, whether they're mad, good, or political, it's important to remember these are movie scientists, and even their so-called true life stories are full of half-truths at best. They have what Frayling (referring to The Story of Louis Pasteur) calls "surface realism with a formulaic plot about the triumph of common sense."

It shouldn't be surprising that a lot of twentieth-century scientists whose work intersected with the political realm were German. Frayling's chapter about the "biography" of Wernher von Braun, I Aim at the Stars, is one of the best parts of the book. (A British review of the movie biography starring Curt Jurgens was titled "I Aim at the Stars - - But Sometimes I Hit London." Even by 1960, when the movie came out, Londoners hadn't completely forgotten the V-2 rockets.)

World War II affected actors and filmmakers in a similar way to the way it did scientists. In a parallel to von Braun, who first built rockets for the Nazis and then for the Americans, Jurgens himself as an actor had different identities depending on whether he was working in European or American productions. In European movies he often spoke German and was credited as Curd. In American war movies like The Longest Day, where he played "honorable" German officers, he could speak English and was known as Curt. (Jurgens wasn't a Nazi. My only point here is that European, especially German-speaking, actors - - for instance Maximilian Schell, who played the defense attorney in Stanley Kramer's Judgment at Nuremberg - - had to speak English and "act" a kind of foreigner that American movie audiences would recognize.)

Later movies continued the fiction that once Hitler committed suicide the morality of German military scientists changed. In The Right Stuff one of President Lyndon Johnson's advisors says, "Our Germans are better than their Germans." But a director as perceptive (and cynical) as Alfred Hitchcock was unable to let his audience off the hook. He knew the lie he had to perpetuate in order to update a thriller like Notorious to the Cold War. (The "lie" being that there is much difference between the two sides.) So Hitchcock rubbed the audience's nose in it. In Torn Curtain the scene everyone remembers is Paul Newman as a handsome young (of course) American scientist holding a communist agent's head in a gas oven, taking an uncomfortably long time to kill him.

Frayling shows that British war movies didn't put accuracy first any more than American scientist-as-savior movies like did. Movies like Spitfire and The Dam Busters made heroes of the "boffins." And you can see how the "real" scientists portrayed in these movies by Leslie Howard and Michael Redgrave turned into the heroes of later British sci-fi and horror movies like Quatermass and the Pit and the recent British TV miniseries Invasion: Earth. (Invasion: Earth is an old-fashioned British end-of-the-world story in the style of John Wyndham, updated to the age of terrorism.)

It's too bad Frayling wasn't able to write about "their" Cold War scientists. "Ours" might be good (the Disneyfied Wernher von Braun) or monsters (Dr. Strangelove), but scientists on the other side of the Iron Curtain are nonexistent. There may be Soviet films about hero scientists from the post-Stalin era, but I'm not aware of any. Soviet scientists in American movies are usually trying to escape to freedom.

In American movies the scientists are avuncular prophets whose warnings about the dangers of technological progress ultimately support the military-industrial complex by giving us the delusion that individual Americans could stop the Pentagon and Lockheed if we chose. Like Edmund Gwen's speech at the end of Them!, a movie about ants turned into giant monsters by nuclear testing.

This phony dystopianism hasn't changed. Hollywood is still lulling us to sleep, telling us we have control. When The Day After Tomorrow (a movie about ecological disaster brought on by ignoring the effects of global warming) came out in 2004, the character of the vice president was made to look and act like Dick Cheney, and to be responsible in large part for the catastrophe. Publicity made it seem like the film was a risky slap at the Bush administration for not signing the Kyoto Accords and for its energy policies in general.

But at the end of the movie the fictional vice president (now president) apologizes to the American people for his mistakes and expresses gratitude to the foreign country (Mexico) that has taken in American refugees fleeing the new ice age. Who believes our present leaders would do anything like that? In that situation they would probably declare war on Mexico and confiscate its oil industry. Then they would build concentration camps for anyone who dissented.

As the reporter warns us at the end of The Thing from Another World, we should "Keep watching the skies!" But it might be a good idea to pay attention to things a little closer, too.
Mr.Death
The first chapter rambles and has very little to actually say on the topic. He frequently loses his way and often has wrong information. He loves the word "probably" and it doesn't read as if he's seen many of these films. If you find this on a used table for under a dollar, it might be ok. Otherwise, don't waste your money.