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Introduction: Who’s Kidding?— Approaching Elaine May

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

in ReFocus: The Films of Elaine May

Published in print:
2019
Published Online:
May 2020
ISBN:
9781474440189
eISBN:
9781474476607
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440189.003.0001
Subject:
Film, Television and Radio, Film

While not unknown, the films of Elaine May and the importance of her career have been hidden in plain sight. Beginning her career in stand-up comedy with her long-time collaborator Mike Nichols, ... More


Dangerous Business—Elaine May as Existential Improviser

Jake Wilson

in ReFocus: The Films of Elaine May

Published in print:
2019
Published Online:
May 2020
ISBN:
9781474440189
eISBN:
9781474476607
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440189.003.0004
Subject:
Film, Television and Radio, Film

Before Elaine May was a film director, she was famous for her improvised comedy skits with Mike Nichols. While May's subsequent films may not be improvised in the literal sense, this essay will argue ... More


Hollywood Can’t Wait: Elaine May and the Delusions of 1970s American Cinema

Maya Montañez Smukler

in ReFocus: The Films of Elaine May

Published in print:
2019
Published Online:
May 2020
ISBN:
9781474440189
eISBN:
9781474476607
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440189.003.0003
Subject:
Film, Television and Radio, Film

Elaine May began her career as a filmmaker during the 1970s when the mythology of the New Hollywood male auteur defined the decade; and the number of women directors, boosted by second wave feminism, ... More


In/Significant Gestures— Elaine May, Screen Performance, and Embodied Collaboration

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

in ReFocus: The Films of Elaine May

Published in print:
2019
Published Online:
May 2020
ISBN:
9781474440189
eISBN:
9781474476607
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440189.003.0009
Subject:
Film, Television and Radio, Film

In Elaine May’s professional biography, her role as actor tends to traditionally fall somewhere in line after the fields for which she is most immediately recognized – comic, screenwriter, director. ... More


Spectral Elaine May—The Later Mike Nichols Collaborations and the Myth of the Recluse

Tim O’Farrell

in ReFocus: The Films of Elaine May

Published in print:
2019
Published Online:
May 2020
ISBN:
9781474440189
eISBN:
9781474476607
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440189.003.0011
Subject:
Film, Television and Radio, Film

Elaine May's documentary Mike Nichols: An American Master (2016) surveys Nichols' life and, in particular, work as a noted Hollywood director. The American Masters series, described on the PBS ... More


When in Doubt, Seduce: An Interview with Screenwriter Allie Hagan

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Dean Brandum

in ReFocus: The Films of Elaine May

Published in print:
2019
Published Online:
May 2020
ISBN:
9781474440189
eISBN:
9781474476607
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440189.003.0012
Subject:
Film, Television and Radio, Film

This chapter is an interview with Allie Hagan, the screenwriter of When in Doubt, Seduce, a forthcoming film based on the comedy collaboration between Elaine May and Mike Nichols. Hagan discusses the ... More


ReFocus: The Films of Elaine May

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Dean Brandum (eds)

Published in print:
2019
Published Online:
May 2020
ISBN:
9781474440189
eISBN:
9781474476607
Item type:
book
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440189.001.0001
Subject:
Film, Television and Radio, Film

This book explores the diverse career of director, screenwriter, comic and actor, Elaine May Spanning from obscurity to notoriety, the films of director, screenwriter, actor and comic Elaine May have ... More


Teenagers on Stage—The Comedy of Elaine May and Mike Nichols

Mark Freeman

in ReFocus: The Films of Elaine May

Published in print:
2019
Published Online:
May 2020
ISBN:
9781474440189
eISBN:
9781474476607
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440189.003.0002
Subject:
Film, Television and Radio, Film

Elaine May began her career as one half of a comedy duo in collaboration with Mike Nichols, before both ventured into their own projects in writing and directing. This chapter takes as its focus the ... More


Otto É. May(zo)—Elaine May’s Screenplay of Otto Preminger’s Such Good Friends (1971) as Affirmation that Hell is Other People

Paul Jeffery

in ReFocus: The Films of Elaine May

Published in print:
2019
Published Online:
May 2020
ISBN:
9781474440189
eISBN:
9781474476607
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440189.003.0010
Subject:
Film, Television and Radio, Film

In February 1971, while her studio-seized debut feature A New Leaf was being readied its premiere, Elaine May took a job-for-hire – adapting Lois Gould's newly published, fictionalized semi-memoir ... More


Kneeling on Glass—Elaine May’s A New Leaf (1971) as Screwball Black Comedy

Samm Deighan

in ReFocus: The Films of Elaine May

Published in print:
2019
Published Online:
May 2020
ISBN:
9781474440189
eISBN:
9781474476607
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440189.003.0005
Subject:
Film, Television and Radio, Film

Elaine May’s 1971 directorial debut, A New Leaf was a watershed moment within May’s career, but as a film important to the contemporary development of American comedy cinema. This chapter will ... More


Mikey and Nicky (1976)—Elaine May and the Cassavetes Connection

Jeremy Carr

in ReFocus: The Films of Elaine May

Published in print:
2019
Published Online:
May 2020
ISBN:
9781474440189
eISBN:
9781474476607
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440189.003.0007
Subject:
Film, Television and Radio, Film

Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky (1976) bears an obvious indebtedness to John Cassavetes, not just because of his commanding presence as one of the film’s two primary stars, but in a kindred approach to ... More


“Don’t Put A Milky Way in Someone’s Mouth When They Don’t Want It”: A Contemporary Feminist Rereading of Elaine May’s The Heartbreak Kid (1972)

Clem Bastow

in ReFocus: The Films of Elaine May

Published in print:
2019
Published Online:
May 2020
ISBN:
9781474440189
eISBN:
9781474476607
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440189.003.0006
Subject:
Film, Television and Radio, Film

Is it possible to reclaim certain works as part of the feminist film canon, even if they were never intended as such? If Elaine May ever self-identified as a feminist, her public stance on the topic ... More


Cartographies of Catastrophe— Elaine May’s Ishtar (1987)

Dean Brandum

in ReFocus: The Films of Elaine May

Published in print:
2019
Published Online:
May 2020
ISBN:
9781474440189
eISBN:
9781474476607
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440189.003.0008
Subject:
Film, Television and Radio, Film

If there is a single moment of ‘fame’ that can be ascribed to Elaine May, it is one clouded by notoriety. So savage was the response to her 1987 comedy Ishtar that it effectively ended May’s ... More


“I Don’t Know What to Do With my Hands”: John Cassavetes’s The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

George Kouvaros

in When the Movies Mattered: The New Hollywood Revisited

Published in print:
2019
Published Online:
January 2020
ISBN:
9781501736094
eISBN:
9781501736117
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:
10.7591/cornell/9781501736094.003.0009
Subject:
Film, Television and Radio, Film

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie is not a gangster film, writer-director John Cassavetes insists, but the precise rendition of a world—both everyday and larger than life. This chapter will consider ... More


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