Terence Davies and Bill Douglas: the poetics of memory

John Orr

in Romantics and Modernists in British Cinema

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780748640140
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671090 | DOI:
Terence Davies and Bill Douglas: the poetics of memory

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In the latter part of the twentieth century, two indigenous visions arguably dominate in terms of vision, not in terms of output: in Scottish cinema that of Bill Douglas, in English cinema that of Terence Davies. Both careers were haunted by failure to realise key projects. Douglas had devoted much of his time to a screen version of James Hogg's classic Scottish novel The Confessions of a Justified Sinner, for which there exists an extant screenplay but little more; Davies has tried for many years to bankroll a version of Lewis Grassic Gibbon's Sunset Song — two great Scottish artworks but neither in the end brought to the big screen. This chapter explores mimetic modernism and family mysteries in the Douglas trilogy: My Childhood, My Ain Folk and My Way Home. It also discusses romanticism and the poetry of memory in Davies' films such as Distant Voices, Still Lives, Children, Death and Transfiguration, Madonna and Child, The Long Day Closes and The House of Mirth. The chapter also looks at Iain Softley's The Wings of the Dove.

Keywords: Terence Davies; Bill Douglas; poetry of memory; romanticism; mimetic modernism; family mysteries; trilogy; The Long Day Closes; The House of Mirth; The Wings of the Dove

Chapter.  7452 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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