Journal Article

A Necessary Signifier: The Adaptation of Robinson's Body-image in ‘The Jackie Robinson Story’

Alessandra Raengo

in Adaptation

Volume 1, issue 2, pages 79-105
Published in print September 2008 | ISSN: 1755-0637
Published online September 2008 | e-ISSN: 1755-0645 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/adaptation/apn019
A Necessary Signifier: The Adaptation of Robinson's Body-image in ‘The Jackie Robinson Story’

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The essay singles out The Jackie Robinson Story, as an iconophiliac adaptation driven by the authorizing and authenticating presence of Robinson's body on screen, which functions as both the ‘source material’ and its ‘adaptation’. It argues that the film needs to be appreciated within a larger nexus of texts indicated as ‘The Jackie Robinson Story,’ revealing a larger process of embodiment of the integration drama grafted onto Robinson’s body-image in the years preceding and following the release of the film. Read in the context of Robinson’s presence in post World War II visual culture as emblem of the successful realization of its color blind utopias, ‘The Jackie Robinson Story’ appears to participate in the process of visual accommodation that brought the assimilationist imagination to elect Robinson’s body as the signifier of yet another adaptation process: the incarnated visuality of the integration drama itself.

Keywords: Visual culture; even playing field; assimilationist imagination; body-image; overembodiment

Journal Article.  10171 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film ; Television ; Literature

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