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Jonathan Frome

Melodramas are sometimes called "tearjerkers" because of their ability to make viewers cry, but there is currently no detailed account of how they succeed at this task. Psychological research suggests that crying occurs when people feel helpless in the face of intense emotion. The emotion felt most intensely when watching melodramas is sadness, and sadness has a structure and specific features that determine its intensity. I describe the ways the conventions of melodrama fulfill the criteria for intense sadness and perceived helplessness that underlie these films' ability to make viewers cry. I illustrate this model with a detailed analysis of Stella Dallas (1937).

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Queer Sensations

Postwar American Melodrama and the Crisis of Queer Juvenility

Cael Keegan

This essay analyzes the cinematic genre convention of the “sensation scene” as a vehicle for the representation of queer crises in American juvenility during the postwar era. Through popular cinema, post-WWII America organized and communicated concerns about the production of “fit” masculine and heterosexual juveniles who would be capable of carrying out the postwar expansion of American democratic and capitalist ideologies. The sensation scene was deployed by popular films to mark queer and racialized masculinities in an aesthetic system that mirrored institutional efforts to prevent “unfit” juveniles from accessing the benefits of full social and political participation. Today, the genre device continues to structure popular film representations of and common thinking about the relative value of young, male American lives.

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Mariaconcetta Costantini

At the beginning of the new century (and the new millennium) Victorian revivalism is still a large-scale cultural phenomenon. Instead of abating, the obsession with the past seems to have intensified. Rewritings of the Victorian age have continued to flourish in many cultural domains, while critics have increasingly answered to the appeal for a 'rigorous scholarly analysis' of 'the prominence of the nineteenth century for postmodernism'. On the literary scene, young writers have joined the ranks of the earlier postmodern revivalists. These writers have contributed to keeping alive the interest in the Victorian past, but they have also introduced some thematic and formal innovations which require critical attention.

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Torben Grodal

Based on film examples and evolutionary psychology, this article discusses why viewers are fascinated not only with funny and pleasure-evoking films, but also with sad and disgust-evoking ones. This article argues that although the basic emotional mechanisms are made to avoid negative experiences and approach pleasant ones, a series of adaptations modify such mechanisms. Goal-setting in narratives implies that a certain amount of negative experiences are gratifying challenges, and comic mechanisms make it possible to deal with negative social emotions such as shame. Innate adaptations make negative events fascinating because of the clear survival value, as when children are fascinated by stories about loss of parental attachment. Furthermore, it seems that the interest in tragic stories ending in death is an innate adaptation to reaffirm social attachment by the shared ritual of sadness, often linked to acceptance of group living and a tribal identity.

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Stephen Prince

This issue of Projections ranges across the avant-garde cinema, tear-jerking melodramas, the nature of historical trauma, and narratives that assume playful, game-like formats and that may be found in title sequences and trailers.

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Staging Sport

Dion Boucicault, the Victorian Spectacular Theatre, and the Manly Ideal

Shannon R. Smith

The following article discusses the way in which the sporting spectacular melodramas of Irish playwright and master of the genre Dion Boucicault presented theatre audiences of the 1860s with an incarnation of the sportsman that differed from other popular constructs of this figure in the Victorian popular imagination. If, following the changes to the sporting sphere brought about by the Industrial Revolution, public discourse often worked to craft a sportsman who was healthy and heroic, Boucicault's Flying Scud; or, a Four-Legged Fortune (1866) and Formosa, the Most Beautiful; or, The Railroad to Ruin (1869) present a critique of this ideal by placing the sportsman in situations that challenge and temporarily subdue his manly energies. The plays both illustrate the limits of the sportsman and offer audiences reformulations of the figure that are better able to cope with the increasingly problematic urban environment in which sport was taking place. When confronted with the challenges presented by the Victorian city, the sportsman may stumble, but he does not fall; in Boucicault's spectacular sporting melodramas he is a figure of resilience.

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Esther Claudio

Paco Roca (b. 1969, Valencia) creates stories that tackle the universal through the local. He examines historic and social conflicts through the everyday experiences of his characters, whom he treats with affection, detail and respect. His works explore personal concerns and relationships without falling into melodrama, always looking for a balanced and sober style. Arguably, the most successful aspect of his work is the harmonious, beautiful drawing, which makes it accessible and appealing to a wide audience. As is common in today’s graphic novel, his stories feature losers: characters whose struggle is finally defeated by greater forces but whose trajectory tells us about dignity, friendship and courage. In this interview, we talk about his major graphic novels, and we are given access to his methods of work.

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Sam Roggen

Adventure/Melodrama 1.37:1 8.9 1954 The Glenn Miller Story Biopic/Music 1.85:1 (spherical) 11.4 1954 The Far Country Western 1.75:1 (spherical) 7.6 1955 Strategic Air Command Melodrama/War 1.85:1 (VistaVision) 10.0 1955 The Man from Laramie Western 2

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Performing humanitarian militarism

Public security and the military in Brazil

Stephanie Savell

). Throughout this article, I touch repeatedly on how the media and the military partner in the performance of security. Jean and John Comaroff (2004) argue that there is always some degree of melodrama in policing. Especially in cases where “governance is

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The Schoolboy Sports Story

A Phenomenon and a Period Distinctive in the Cultural History of America

R.W. (Bob) Reising

a battle detached from “The Yale Spirit” and discussions of parenthood and “breadwinning” (102). Athletics and travel also figured, as did reader responses, suggestions, and hopes. Finally, after four years of melodrama, Merriwell “proposed to