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Medienwissenschaft / Hamburg: Berichte und Papiere

106 / 2010: Gefängnisfilm.

 

ISSN 1613-7477.

Redaktion und Copyright dieser Ausgabe: Marcus Stiglegger und Heinz-Hermann Meyer.

Letzte Änderung: 19. Februar  2010.

Inhalt:

Marcus Stiglegger: Gefängnisfilm: Ein enzyklopädischer Eintrag.

Heinz-Hermann Meyer: Der Gefängnisfilm. Eine Arbeitsbibliographie.



Gefängnisfilm: Ein enzyklopädischer Eintrag.
Marcus Stiglegger


Der Gefängnisfilm bildete sich als Subgenre des klassischen Gangsterfilms parallel zu dessen Entstehung zu Beginn der 1930er Jahre heraus. Die Haftanstalt nimmt in diesem Genre eine ebenso mythische wie notwendige Position ein, da der Gefängnisaufenthalt entweder das Ende einer Gangsterkarriere bedeutet oder eine Fortsetzung dieser Funktion unter veränderten Voraussetzungen. „Gefängnis und Gangster-Existenz bedingen einander so sehr, daß das eine ohne das andere kaum vorstellbar erscheint“, wie es in Kellners Gangsterfilm (1977) heißt. Der Gefängnisfilm ist letztlich ein Gangsterfilm, der seinen Haupthandlungsschauplatz in die Haftanstalt verlegt hat und dort entweder von der Läuterung des Gangsters, von dem Schicksal eines zu Unrecht Verurteilten oder einem Gefängnisaufstand erzählt. Gerade der amerikanische Gefängnisfilm nimmt oft durch die Bloßstellung inhumaner Haftbedingungen eine subversiv gesellschaftskritische Position ein, wobei die verbreitete Moralvorstellung, der Gangster habe seine Haftstrafe wohl verdient, unangetastet bleibt. Einer jener subversiven Gesellschaftsspiegel ist I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (Jagd auf James A., USA 1932) von Mervyn LeRoy: Das Gefängnis wird hier zum offenen Widerspruch der liberalen Gesellschaft.


Zahlreiche Gefängnisfilme wurden zu Steigerung ihrer authentischen Wirkung in real existierenden Gefängnissen gedreht, etwa 20.000 Years in Sing Sing (20.000 Jahre in Sing Sing, USA 1933) von Michael Curtiz oder Birdman of Alcatraz (Der Gefangene von Alcatraz, USA 1962) von John Frankenheimer. Hier wie z.B. auch in einer deutschen Variante, Reinhard Hauffs Die Verrohung des Franz Blum (BRD 1973), geht es immer wieder um die zusätzliche Brutalisierung des Individuums unter dem psychologischen Streß der Haftsituation. Das Gefängnis scheint den Gangster zu motivieren und letztlich immer neu zu produzieren.


Auch das Thema der Meuterei, des Gefangenenaufstandes, läßt sich bis in die 1930er Jahre zurückverfolgen (Mutiny in the Big House / Aufstand im Zuchthaus, USA 1939, William Nigh). Riot in Cell Block Eleven (Terror in Block 11, USA 1954) von Don Siegel gehört zu den Höhepunkten dieser Variante: Drei Gefangenen gelingt zwar die Durchführung der Revolte, sie haben am Ende jedoch nicht viel gewonnen. Siegels im harten Reportagestil gefilmtes Soziodrama stellt deutlich die Mißstände der Haft bloß. John Frankenheimer konnte 1993 an diese Tradition des semidokumentarischen Gefängnisfilms noch einmal mit Against the Wall anschließen, in dem er aus Sicht eines idealistischen Wärters von dem Aufstand in Attica erzählt, bevor Oliver Stone später in der zweiten Hälfte seiner Mediensatire Natural Born Killers (USA 1994) die Gefängsnisrevolte zum blutigen Inferno geraten ließ.

 
Gerade der Ausbruchsfilm, eine weitere Variante des Gefängnisfilms, hat oft einen unschuldig Verurteilten als Protagonisten, um dem Zuschauer die Identifikation zu erleichtern. Le Trou (Das Loch, Frankreich 1960) von Jacques Becker erzählt in beklemmenden Schwarzweißbildern vom Entstehen einer Männerfreundschaft unter den Bedingungen der Haft und einer geplanten Flucht. Sehr komplex setzt sich auch Stuart Rosenbergs Außenseiterdrama Cool Hand Luke (Der Unbeugsame, USA 1966) mit Paul Newman mit diesem Topos auseinander; hier scheint der Wille des Individuums nach und nach gebrochen zu werden. Wiederum Don Siegel gelang ein kleiner Höhepunkt dieser Variante mit dem düsteren Thriller Escape from Alcatraz (Flucht von Alcatraz, USA 1979), in dem Clint Eastwood einen verschlossenen Rebellen darstellt, dem die offenbar unmögliche Flucht von der Gefängnisinsel am Ende zu gelingen scheint.

 
Vor allem seit den 1970er Jahren werden auch immer wieder Gefängnisfilme produziert, die sich nicht dem Gangsterfilm zuordnen lassen. Nach dem autobiografischen Roman von Henri Charrière drehte Franklin J. Schaffner den äußerst erfolgreichen Abenteuer- und Fluchtfilm Papillon (USA 1973), in dem Dustin Hoffman und Steve McQueen Häftlinge der berüchtigten Gefängnisinsel Cayenne in Französisch-Guayana spielen. Die preisgekrönte Fernsehproduktion Jericho Mile (Ein Mann kämpft allein, USA 1978) von Michael Mann zeigt die innere Befreiung des Häftlings im Marathonlauf und kann als Höhepunkt einiger sportorientierter Gefängnisfilme betrachtet werden, die vor allem in den 1970er Jahren produziert wurden. Midnight Express (12 Uhr nachts – Midnight Express, Großbritannien 1978) von dem britischen Ästheten Alan Parker folgt in seinem von Oliver Stone verfaßten Drehbuch ebenfalls einem Erlebnisbericht; in diesem Fall ist es ein junger amerikanischer Student, der für mehrere Jahre in türkische Haft gerät und dort die Hölle durchlebt, bevor ihm die Flucht gelingt. Der australische Regisseur John Hillcoat erzählt in seinem nüchtern-stilisierten Psychodrama Ghosts... of the Civil Dead (Hölle ohne Helden, Australien 1988) vom langsamen Kollaps eines Hochsicherheitsgefängnisses in der Wüste, in dem psychopathische Gewalttäter den Aufstand proben. Nicht zuletzt in den düsteren Visonen des dystopischen Science-Fiction Films wurde die Gefängnis-Thematik als Inbegriff posthistorischer Gesellschaftsverhältnisse bearbeitet (wie etwa in John Carpenters Escape from New York / Die Klapperschlange, USA 1981, in dem ganz Manhattan zu einem Gefängnis geworden ist, in dem sich ganz eigene Sozialstrukturen entwickelt haben).

 
Auch der Exploitationfilm nahm sich immer wieder der Gefängnisthematik an. Hier sind es vor allem die Frauengefängnisse, die als Schauplatz von Demütigung und Folter der Häftlingsfrauen dienen. Die women-in-prison movies (WIP movies) bilden seit langem einen eigenen kleinen Motivkreis. Caged Heat (Das Zuchthaus der verlorenen Mädchen, USA 1974) von Jonathan Demme und The Big Doll House (USA 1971) von Jack Hill gehören zu den bekannteren Beispielen; auch aus Europa kam eine Reihe dieser sexbetonten Gefängnisfilm-Spielart, z.B. House of Whipcord (Das Haus der Peitschen, Großbritannien 1977) von Pete Walker aus England und Femmes en Cage (Frauengefängnis, Schweiz 1975) von Jesus Franco Manera aus Spanien.

 
Einen aktuellen Höhepunkt erfuhr der Gefängnisfilm mit The Shawkshank Redemption (Die Verurteilten, USA 1994), den Frank Darabont nach einer Novelle von Stephen King inszenierte. Tim Robbins spielt einen zu Unrecht zu zwanzig Jahren Haft verurteilten Mann, der sich mit einem Mörder zusammentut, um sich an dem ausbeuterischen Gefängniswärter zu rächen und schließlich zu fliehen. Kameramann Roger Deakins transformierte diese humanistische Fabel in ein melancholisches Drama mit monochromer Bildwelt. Vierzehn Tage - Lebenslänglich (BRD 1996) von Roland Suso Richter dagegen kopiert schlicht amerikanische Gefängnisfilm-Muster und suggeriert mit genretypischer Folgerichtigkeit eine Gangster-Diktatur in der isolierten Welt. Erst in Tony Kayes Neonazi-Drama American History X (USA 1997) wird das Gefängnis letztlich wieder zur resozialisierenden Instanz.




Der Gefängnisfilm. Eine Arbeitsbibliographie.
Kompiliert von Heinz-Hermann Meyer.


Dank für die Ergänzungen gilt Ludger Kaczmarek.

Alber, Jan: Bodies Behind Bars: The Disciplining of the Prisoner's Body in British and American Prison Movies. In: In the grip of the law. Trials, prisons, and the space between. Edited by Monika Fludernik and Greta Olson. Frankfurt/New York: Peter Lang 2004, pp. 249-261.

 

Alber, Jan: Narrating the prison. Role and representation in Charles Dickens's novels, twentieth-century fiction, and film. Youngstown, NY: Cambria Press 2007, XVI, 295 S.

¬            Includes: Prison metaphors in novels and films of the twentieth century -- 'Positive' and 'negative' metaphors of imprisonment -- The prison as world - the world as prison, pp. 167-228.

 

Ashkenazi, Ofer: Prisoners' fantasies in Weimar film. The longing for a rational and just legal system. In: Journal of European Studies 39,3, Sept. 2009, pp. 290-304.

 

Bennett, Jamie: Ghosts... of the Civil Dead. In: The Film Journal, [7], 2002, URL: http://www.thefilmjournal.com/issue7/ghosts.html.

 

Bennett, Jamie: 24 Prisons a Second. The introduction to a series of articles on prison films which will appear in the PSJ in 2005. In: Prison Service Journal, 157, 2005, pp. 50-54.

 

Bennett, Jamie: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: The Media in Prison Films. In:  The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 45,2, May 2006, pp. 97ff.

¬            Generally, people have low levels of exposure to prisons through personal experience and therefore the media plays an important role in informing beliefs and actions. In particular prison films are an important and extensive form of media depiction. However, media depiction of crime and imprisonment has been criticised on ethical, political and social grounds. This article explores how prison films have depicted the relationship between the media, crime and punishment. It argues that this is a significant and integrated part of the prison film genre. It also argues that these representations are important both as a narrative device and in making the media a focus of pressure for reform. [Blackwell Synergy]

 

Berlatsky, Noah: Men in Women-in-Prison: Masochism, Feminism, Fetish. In: Bright Lights Films Journal, 61, Aug. 2008, URL: http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/61/61womeninprison.html.

 

Bernstein, Matthew: Institutions and individuals: Riot in Cell Block 11. In: Velvet Light Trap, 28, Fall 1991, pp. 3-31.

¬            Auteurist reappraisal of Riot in Cell Block 11, arguing whether the atypical approach to the genre of prison films can be attributed to director Donald Siegel or producer Walter Wanger. [FIAF]

 

Black, David A.: Law in Film: Resonance and Representation. Urbana: University of Illinois Press 1999, x, 192 S.

¬   Part 4: Power, Prison, Pain; Bound and Determined, pp. 161-184.

 

Bouclin, Suzanne: Women in Prison Movies as Feminist Jurisprudence. In: Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 21,1,  2009, pp. 19-34.

¬            Engagement with "women-in-prison" movies (WIPs), which are a relatively obscure and certainly under-read genre, can provide the impetus for the revision of law through a feminist lens. I do not propose that WIPs reveal anything about the actual conditions of incarcerated women. Clearly, they vary in their cultural verisimilitude. Yet, these fictional stories often leave us feeling unsettled about prisons and about the women who are warehoused within them. Accordingly, rather than measuring the realism of WIPs, I examine the dialogical relationship between these representations of women in prison and the manner in which formalized legal institutions and official legal agents label particular women "criminals." I have found that some WIPs may offer ways to imagine the violence of state and legal practices and the inhumanity of total institutions to suggest broader gender, race, and class injustices that render particular women more vulnerable to criminalization and incarceration. Some WIPs reproduce the gendered operations and assumptions of the criminal law while also challenging its institutions and apparatuses of power. I argue that Caged (1950), in particular, invites viewers to think through contemporary feminist concerns around the criminalization of women. By virtue of its discursive determinations, normative dimensions, and inter-textual references, Caged is feminist jurisprudence.

 

Browning, Mark: Stephen King on the Big Screen. Bristol/Chicago: Intellect 2009, 251 S.

¬  Ch. 6. The Great Escape: Prison Drama: The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1994); The Green Mile (Frank Darabont, 1999); The Running Man (Paul Michael Glaser, 1987), pp. 147-169]

 

Carruthers, Susan L.: Redeeming the captives. In: Film History 10,3, 1998, pp. 275-294.

 

Caster, Peter: Prisons, race, and masculinity in twentieth-century U.S. literature and film. Columbus: Ohio State University Press 2008, xx, 279 pp.

¬            Contents: Imprisonment in U.S. history and the cultural imagination -- Literary execution: race, crime, and punishment in three Faulkner novels -- Soul on ice, schizoanalysis, and the subject of imprisonment -- The executioner's song and the narration of history -- The contradictions of documentary realism in American history X -- "Based upon a true story": the hurricane and the problem of prison redemption -- The farm: "This is no dream or nothing made up, this is for real" -- Staging prisons and the performance of history.

 

Cecil, Dawn K.: Looking Beyond Caged Heat. In: Feminist Criminology 2,4, 2007, pp. 304-326.

¬   Female prisoners are an invisible correctional population; thus, media images are critical in shaping people's understanding of this social issue. Although research has examined how Hollywood depicts female prisoners, it has not delved into images found in reality-based programs. This study examined documentaries, televised news magazines, and talk shows to determine how these programs portray this incarcerated population and to identify how the issue is framed. Findings indicate that although some of the critical issues facing incarcerated women are presented, these programs still highlight factors that excite viewers, including violence and sex, thereby creating a sensationalized and damaging image of women behind bars.

 

Cheatwood, Derral: Prison movies: films about adult, male, civilian prisons: 1929-1995. In: Popular culture, crime, and justice. Ed. by Frankie Y. Bailey and Donna C. Hale. Belmont: Wadsworth  1998 (Contemporary Issues in Crime and Justice Series.).

 

Ciasullo, Ann: Containing "Deviant" Desire: Lesbianism, Heterosexuality, and the Women-in-Prison Narrative. In: Journal of Popular Culture 41,2, April , pp. 195-224.

 

Clowers, Marsha: Dykes, gangs, and danger: Debunking popular myths about maximum-security life. In: Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture 9,1, 2001, pp.

¬            Although the number of incarcerated females is rapidly increasing, few of us will have actual contact with women in a correctional setting. For the most part, our ideas about female inmates and the prisons they are housed in come from filmic images--images that, though highly accessible to the public, depict inaccurate accounts of prison life. From the use of unlikely characters and their corresponding improbable behavior to the maintenance of insecure facilities and impossible happenings, the four films reviewed for this article propagate common, negative stereotypes of inmates. After providing numerous filmic images of inaccurate depictions, the author provides counterexamples based on her own work in a maximum-security prison as an educator of female inmates. More than being wrong, celluloid portrayals of female prisoners inspire additional marginalization of a group who, though convicted of serious crimes, will eventually be released into society. [Communication Abstracts]

 

Combs, Richard: Less is more: Don Siegel from the block to the rock. In: Sight & Sound 49,2, Spring 1980, pp. 117-121.

¬  A study of Siegel's career, and his two most notable prison films, Riot in Cell Block 11 and Escape from Alcatraz.

 

Crowther, Bruce: Captured on film: the prison movie. London: B.T. Batsford 1989, 184 pp.

¬  Rev. (Ferguson, Ken) in: Film Monthly 1, Jan. 1990, p. 34.

 

Cull, Nicholas J.: Great Escapes: 'Englishness' and the Prisoner of War Genre. In: Film History: An International Journal 14,3-4, 2002, pp. 282-295.

 

Cunneen, Joseph E.: Robert Bresson: A Spiritual Style in Film. New York: Continuum 2003, 199 S.

¬  4. The Spirit Blows through Prison: A Man Escaped, pp. 58-70.

 

Dooley, Roger: From Scarface to Scarlett: American films in the 1930s. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1979, pp. 328-334.

 

Dow, David R.: Fictional documentaries and truthful fictions: the death penalty in recent American film. In: Constitutional Commentary 17,3, Winter 2000, pp. 511ff.

 

Eigenberg, Helen / Baro, Agnes: If You Drop the Soap in the Shower You Are on Your Own: Images of Male Rape in Selected Prison Movies. In: Sexuality & Culture 7,4, Fall 2003, pp. 56-89.

¬            Analyzes 15 movies to explore whether films about prison life include male rape & whether this is an accurate reflection of the existing literature. Each film is analyzed to determine if male rape is presented as a common occurrence, is an essential part of the plot of the movie, & if the victims & perpetrators fit the stereotypical profiles of those believed to be victims & offenders in the prison culture. It was found that 50% of the films included an attempted or completed rape & nearly 75% mentioned rape & treated it as a common prison event. Consensual homosexual behavior & prostitution were not represented. Physical force was usually involved, & the victim displayed fear, but resisted physically. Prison officials were portrayed as passively accepting the practice of male rape. The results stand in contrast to studies that have found male rape in prison to be a relatively rare event. The sensationalization of male rape in prison may contribute to its acceptance as a deterrent of crime & may discourage the moral outrage that such vulnerability should receive. [Sociological Abstracts]

 

Ek, Auli Anneli: Criminal Identities in the War on Crime. Race and Masculinity in Contemporary American Prison Narratives. Ph. D. Thesis, University of California at Santa Barbara 2002.

¬  See Dissertation Abstracts International 63,9, March 2003, p. 3192 (= no. DA3064713).

¬            Printed version: Race and Masculinity in Contemporary American Prison Narratives. New York/London: Routledge 2005, ix, 148 S. (Studies in African American History and Culture.).

¬   My dissertation interrogates the ways in which prison narratives (1) perpetuate the popular stereotypic images of prisoner identities by representing criminality as transparently racialized--through a focus on non-white criminality and white male supremacy, (2) fetishize prisoner bodies by eroticizing male-male interaction in the homosocial space of prisons, (3) negate homosexuality by representing same-sex relationships as temporary prison sexuality, (4) analyze the changing minority-majority positions that are becoming an actuality in much of the United States, and (5) resist the marginalizing representation of prisoner identity through individualizing prisoner subjectivity and through questioning the political function of the institutional penal discourses and the image of the prisoner reproduced by the visual media. - Finally, my study examines the dynamics of current war-on-crime ideologies and their impact on the U.S. policies of crime and punishment and on the logic of imprisonment that feeds on fear of crime and creates an anxiety about the human rights of the prisoners in the globalizing prison industry.

 

Eke, Maureen / Tomaselli, Keyan / Davison, Patricia: Transcending prison as a metaphor of apartheid. In: Visual Anthropology 9,3-4, 1997, pp.  285-300.

 

Fiddler, Michael: Projecting the prison: The depiction of the uncanny in The Shawshank Redemption. In: Crime, Media, Culture 3,2, 2007, 192-206.

 

Findley, Mary: The Prisoner, the Pen, and the Number One Fan: Misery as a Prison Film. In: The Films of Stephen King: From Carrie to Secret Window. Ed. by Tony Magisrale. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan 2008, pp. 91-100.

 

Fludernik, Monika / Olson, Greta (eds.): In the grip of the law. Trials, prisons, and the space between. Frankfurt/New York: Peter Lang 2004.

 

Glenn, Cerise L. / Cunningham, Landra J.: The Power of Black Magic: The Magical Negro and White Salvation in Film. In: Journal of Black Studies 40,2, Nov. 2009, pp. 135-152.

 

Gonthier, David: American prison film since 1930, from The Big House to The Shawshank Redemption. Lewiston, N.Y. : Edwin Mellen Press 2006, 236 pp.

¬  This book studies a number of well-known prison films from an analytical and historical perspective. Throughout the years, prison movies have appeared to be neglected within the canon of genres like westerns, screwball comedies, horror films and the like; they have been recognized merely an adjunct subgenre to the more prominent genres like gangster films. The prison movie is indeed its own separate genre, and the book proves this by utilizing existing genre criticism, especially from leading scholars like Thomas Schatz. Although there have been a number of cross-genre films (Blade Runner is a fusion of science fiction, film noir, and action/adventure; Star Wars is a science fiction western action film, etc.), the prison movie is perhaps the only pure-bred genre that yields so many other genres within its original framework: gangster prison films (The Big House), film noir prison films (Brute Force), western prison films (There Was a Crooked Man), sports prison films (The Longest Yard), science fiction prison films (Escape from New York), the POW film (Stalag 17), even musicals (Chicago). In addition to surveying the genre from 1930-2000, the book deconstructs twelve films in great detail through full annotated summaries based on the codes and conventions of the proposed genre - films like Stalag 17, Cool Hand Luke, Midnight Express, Escape from Alcatraz, and The Shawshank Redemption are among the films considered.

 

Gushahgir, Izzat al-Sadat: Women's Prison (review). In: In: Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 2,1, Winter 2006, pp. 138-140.

¬  The concept of prison and imprisonment in the film Women's Prison by Manijeh Hekmat (2002), the Iranian filmmaker, raises a fundamental question about the link between repression, power, and sexuality in Iranian society. Hekmat believes "a prison is a small version of society with many of the characteristics of the society it is among, and that it can reflect the economic, social, and political situation of the particular society." In this allegorical film, which was made in 2001 and produced in an actual women's prison in Tehran, Hekmat documents an historical perspective. She provides a political analysis on the status of women in contemporary Iran, where women struggle to fight and negate the innumerable mechanisms of oppression in order to survive.

 

Gutterman, Mel: Abuse, Racism, Torture, Savagery: Hollywood Pictures the Dark Side of American Prisons. In: Humanist 65,5, Sept./Oct. 2005, pp. 24-30.

 

Herman, D.: Bad Girls Changed My Life: Homonormativity in a Women's Prison Drama. In: Critical Studies in Media Communication 20,2, June 2003, pp. 141-159.

¬  This paper explores representations of sexuality in a popular British television drama. The author argues that the program in question, Bad Girls, a drama set in a women's prison, conveys a set of values that are homonormative. In other words, unlike other mainstream television products that may have lesbian or gay characters within a prevailing context of heteronormativity, BG represents lesbian sexuality as normal, desirable, and possible. At the same time, BG reproduces dominant understandings of social relations in other areas, particularly around race. The broader significance of the series lies in its impact on viewers' lives, its nonconformity with dominant "gay market" images, and its significance as a space within popular culture from which meanings of gender and sexuality can be contested.

 

Hilliard, Robert L.: Hollywood Speaks Out: Pictures that Dared to Protest Real World Issues. Malden, MA / Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, xi, 261 S.

¬   Darin: 4. Prison and Justice Systems, pp. 63-81.

 

Holtman, Janet: Documentary Prison Films and the Production of Disciplinary Institutional 'Truth'. In: Postmodern Culture: An Electronic Journal of Interdisciplinary Criticism (PMC) 13,1, Sept. 2002, URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/postmodern_culture/v013/13.1holtman.html.

 

Jarvis, Brian: Inside the American prison film. In: Cruel and unusual. Punishment and US culture. London/Sterling, Va.: Pluto Press 2004, ch. 6, S. 164-244.

 

Johns, Howard / Kiefer, Steve: Hollywood goes to prison. In: Filmfax: the Magazine of Unusual Film & Television, 56, May/June 1996, pp. 51-54.

 

Kahana, Jonathan: Intelligence Work: The Politics of American Documentary. New York: Columbia University Press 2008, xiii, 436 S. (Film and Culture.).

¬   4. Documentary Counterpublics: Filming Prison, pp. 205-266.

 

Marlow, Johnathan M.: An Exploration of Recidivism and the Shared Experience of Incarceration through Feature Film. Ph.D.-Thesis, San Antonio, TX: University of The Incarnate Word, 2006, 237 S.

¬            Dissertation Abstracts International, Section A, 67,3, 2006, p. 812.

¬   This dissertation, based on reaction papers and survey data at a Texas Department of Criminal Justice unit of incarceration, focuses on feature films as true depictions of crime and incarceration, explores select feature films to modify attitudes that lead to recidivism and examines the shared experience of those serving time behind bars. This study analyzes the responses of 50 incarcerated college students to see if the depictions in three selected feature films are accurate in their portrayal of life in prison. There are a number of feature films released each year whose main characters are incarcerated, but few, if any, accurately portray the day to day life or major events of life spent behind bars. Much scholarship exists to support that viewing feature film forms anti-social attitudes and behaviors, but few studies explore the use of feature film for pro-social purposes. Ultimately, I explore the data for information to better inform educators, social workers and criminal justice experts of what it is really like to live behind bars. If most feature films use prison as a means or device to communicate a certain human struggle without much attention to the realities and meaning of a life behind bars, then the question remains. What can their shared experience behind bars tell us? Therefore, recidivism's detrimental strain on the prison system, and the cuts in rehabilitative services within prisons nationwide, demonstrate that any inquiry into the incarcerated person's experience that could provide some understanding of how we can reduce recidivism should be examined.

 

Mason, Paul: The Prison in Cinema. In: Images, [6], n.d., URL: http://www.imagesjournal.com/issue06/features/prison.htm.

 

Mason, Paul: Men, Machines and the Mincer: The Prison Movie. In: Picturing Justice, n.d., URL: http://www.usfca.edu/pj/articles/Prison.htm.

 

Mason, Paul: Prison Decayed: Cinematic Penal Discourse and Populism 1995-2005. In: Social Semiotics 16,4, Dec. 2006, pp. 607-626.

¬   The increased populist and punitive turn in criminal justice policy in the United Kingdom over recent years has led to punishment becoming politicised, harsher and more ostentatious. The role of media and popular culture discourses of prison is rarely examined in this account. Adopting a Foucauldian discourse analysis of prison films released over the past 10 years, this article explores the prison film as one important element of the discursive regime. It seeks to investigate what representational practices are at work, how they limit the meaning of prison and prisoners, and how this may contribute to debates about the nature and aim of prison in contemporary society. It argues that several discursive practices exist in cinematic representations of the incarceration that strengthen support for the use of prison. The explicit and recurring depiction of violence in most prison films over the past 10 years, while appearing to offer evidence for prison reform, does the opposite. This paper suggests that discourses around the futility and inhumanity of incarceration are scant, replaced by scenes of prison violence; rape and death appear, which appear to exist purely for the pleasure of the spectator: a generic feature of the prison film. Secondly, prisoners are largely constructed as an inhuman other: a danger to society and deserving of harsh punishment. Consequently, the discursive regime of prison in cinema over the past decade constructs prison as not only necessary, but as the only process for crime control and reduction. [Taylor and Francis]

 

Mason, Paul: The Screen Machine: Cinematic Representation of Prisons. In: Criminal visions. Media representations of crime and justice. Ed. by Paul Mason. Cullompton, Devon/Portland, Oreg.: Willan 2003.

 

Mason, Paul (ed.): Captured by the media. Prison discourse in popular culture. Cullompton/Portland, Oreg.: Willan 2006, xii, 240 pp.

¬  Rev. (O'Sullivan, Sean / Wilson, David) in: Crime, Media, Culture 2,3, 2006, S. 341-343.

¬            Contents: Turn on, tune in, slop out. - The function of fiction for a punitive public. - Red tops, populists and the irresistible rise of the public voice(s). - Crime sound bites : a view from both sides of the microphone. - What works in changing public attitudes to prison : lessons from rethinking crime and punishment. - Delivering death : capital punishment, botched executions and the American news media. - 'Buried alive' : representations of the separate system in Victorian England. - Undermining the simplicities : the films of Rex Bloomstein. - Creating a stir? : prisons, popular media and the power to reform. - The violence of images : inside the prison TV drama Oz. - The anti-heroines of Holloway : the prison films of Joan Henry and J. Lee Thompson. - Relocating Hollywood's prison film discourse. - Future punishment in American science fiction films.

 

Mayne, Judith: Caged and framed: the women-in-prison film. In her: Framed. Lesbians, feminists, and media culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press 2000.

 

McKendy, John P.: 'I'm very careful about that': narrative and agency of men in prison. In: Discourse & Society 17,4, 2006, S. 473-502.

 

McLaughlin, Cahal: Inside stories, memories from the Maze and Long Kesh Prison. In: Journal of Media Practice 7,2, Nov.2006, pp. 123-133.

¬   In the audio visual recording of memories from political conflict, I look at how memory finds a narrative, how that is informed by location, how the participants perform while being recorded, how ownership of material influences authorship and who the audiences are for these testimonies. Inside Stories, the example that I use in this essay, contains the stories of three former occupants of the Long Kesh/Maze prison complex in the North of Ireland.

 

Miller, Toby: Historical citizenship and the Fremantle prison follies: Frederick Wiseman comes to Western Australia. In: Continuum 7,2, 1994, pp. 269-289.

¬  On Wiseman‘s The Titicut Follies.

 

Morey, Anne: The Judge Called Me an Accessory': Women's Prison Films, 1950-1962. In: Journal of Popular Film & Television 23,2, Summer 1995, pp. 80-87.

¬            Theoretical analysis of four women's prison films: Caged, Women's Prison, Girls in Prison and House of Women.

 

Nellis, Mike: British Prison Movies: The Case of  Now Barabbas. In: The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 27,1, 1988, pp. 2-31.

¬  My aim in this paper is to contribute both to penal and film history, by examining the relative absence of feature films dealing with adult imprisonment in Britain (compared to America) and discussing in detail the making of the first British example. Now Barabbas (1949) was a film of some importance, but has been surprisingly neglected by film historians. I will attempt to explain that neglect.

 

Nellis, Mike: The aesthetics of redemption. Released prisoners in American film and literature. In: Theoretical Criminology 13,1, 2009, pp. 129-146.

¬   The released prisoner was a stock figure in American popular culture throughout the 20th century, and there is an enduring aesthetic associated with such narratives. Despite the artifice of the aesthetic, the best of them attempt to say serious things about the perils and pleasures of `straight time'. This paper explores the way in which a cluster of books and films, dating from the 1990s, has addressed the experiences of released prisoners and notes an emergent focus on the personal agony of redemption. This has a contingent rather than an integral relation to the concern with rehabilitation and control espoused by criminal justice officials, but none the less enables the communication of culturally enriching stories to audiences who might not otherwise be interested in the problems of released prisoners. Academic criminology should take heed of these stories, and make more use of them, pedagogically and politically.

 

Nellis, Mike / Hale, Christopher: The prison film. London: Radical Alternatives to Prison 1982, 64 S.

 

O'Sullivan, Sean: Representations of Prison in Nineties Hollywood Cinema: From Con Air to The Shawshank Redemption. In: Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 40,4, Nov. 2001, pp. 317-334.

¬   The 1990s saw a steady growth in the world prison population with the US contributing significantly to the upward trend. But, while it has been suggested that media-led panics & the propagation of "prison myths" have legitimated prison growth, there has been little work done on the significance of representations of prison in popular cinema for social & cultural

understandings of imprisonment. The current article attempts to redress this neglect. After a brief

review of some of the existing literature, an analysis of four significant "prison films" of the 1990s is presented. It is concluded that, with respect to film, the notion of challenging media misrepresentations of prisons & prisoners is problematic. [Sociological Abstracts]

 

O‘Sullivan, Sean: Prison Film Series: Midnight Express revisited. In: Prison Service Journal, 159, May 2005, pp. 37-42.

 

Packer, HerbertThe Limits of the Criminal Sanction. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press 1968.

 

Parish, James Robert: Prison pictures from Hollywood: plots, critiques, casts, and credits for 293 theatrical and made-for-television releases. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland 1991, xi, 532 pp.

¬  Rev. (McKibbins, Adrienne) in: Filmnews 22,2, 1992, p. 10.

¬            Rev. (Nangle, John) in:  Films in Review 43, Jan./Febr. 1992, p. 60.

¬            Rev. (Neibaur, James L.) in: Film Quarterly 45,3, 1992, p. 62.

 

Querry, Ronald B.: Prison movies: an annotated filmography 1921 to the present. In: Journal of Popular Film and Television 2,2, Spring 1973, pp.181-197.

 

Rafter, Nicole Hahn: Shots in the mirror. Crime films and society. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press 2000.

 

Reader, Keith: Robert Bresson. Manchester/New York: Manchester University Press 2000, x, 166 S. (French Film Directors.).

¬  3. The 'prison cycle': Un condamné à mort s'est échappé, Pickpocket and Le Procès de Jeanne d'Arc, pp. 43-75.

 

Sannwald, Daniela: Der Frauenknast als Sündenpfuhl. In: Frauen und Film, 58-59, Juli 1996, pp. 139-145.

 

Santoro, Patricia: Kiss of the Spider Woman. Novel, Play, and Film: Homosexuality and the Discourse of the Maternal in a Third World Prison. In: Framing Latin American Cinema: Contemporary Critical Perspectives. Ed. by Ann Marie Stock. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press 1997, pp. 120-140 (Hispanic Issues. 15.).

 

Sarat, Austin: State killing in popular culture : responsibility and representation in Dead Man Walking, Last Dance, and The Green Mile. In his: When the state kills. Capital punishment and the American condition. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press 2001 [2002].

 

Schauer, Terrie: Masculinity Incarcerated: Insurrectionary Speech and Masculinities in Prison Fiction. In: Journal for Crime, Conflict and the Media 1,3, 2004, pp.  28-42.

¬            Existing research on prison film--where it addresses gender--has largely focused on the relationship between represented incarceration and hegemonic masculinities (Jarvis, 2004; Mason, 2003; O'Sullivan, 2001). Although arguments are far more complex, the general consensus appears to be that prison film as a whole symbolically confirms, rather than challenges the existing hierarchical organization of masculinities. This article questions the preceding proposition. The debate begins at a theoretical level, with a brief overview of some elements of masculinity studies theory that are relevant to analysis of prison film. Next, I introduce Butler's concept of 'insurrectionary speech'. Through textual analysis, 'insurrectionary speech' (Butler, 1997) becomes a vehicle for reading certain fictional representations of prison as renegotiations of conventional hegemonic masculinity is present-day North America. In light of a number of recent productions, the article considers the insurrectionary potential of prison film as a genre.

 

Schuster, Heather: Prison/Labor/Film: A Montage.. In: Studies in Law, Politics, and Society 24,1, 2002, pp. 103-131.

¬  Most contemporary American prison films represent the relationship between the inside & the outside of the prison through the prison escape. Paradoxically, the prison break both produces & undermines the distinction between inside & outside, which doesn't allow us to know very much about the prison itself. The audience is able to walk out of the theater without much thought regarding how prison structures our everyday lives. But the prison montage that opens Sam Peckinpah's 1972 film The Getaway expresses how the prison functions as a microcosm of social totality at the same time it is the locus of the most radical exclusion from the social. In this way, prison actually fragments or destroys the fascistic fantasy of tantalization, which is based on an omnipotent vision of the whole. And cinematic montage becomes a mighty means through which to express this new understanding of totality. [Sociological Abstracts]

 

Smith, Juliana Jamel: The Cultural Dynamic of the Prison Industrial Complex: A Critique of Political Rhetoric and Popular Film during the 1980's. M.A.-Thesis, San Diego, CA: University of California, San Diego, 2008, vi, 135 p.

¬   Abstr.: Masters Abstracts International 46,4, 2008, p. 1923.

¬  On Colors (USA 1988, Dennis Hopper), Menace II Society (USA 1993, Albert Hughes/Allen Hughes), Boyz n the Hood (USA 1991, John Singleton) and Clockers (USA 1995, Spike Lee).

 

Starfield, Penny: La Prison comme monde à part dans le cinéma américain. In: La Justice à l'écran. Ed. par Françoise Puaux. Condé-sur-Noireau: Corlet 2002, pp. 204-215.

 

Sullivan, Megan: Women in Northern Ireland: Cultural Studies and Material Conditions. Gainesville, Fla.: University Press of Florida 1999, x, 193 S.

¬  4. Feminist Film after Pat Murphy: Mother Ireland, Hush-A-Bye Baby, and The Visit, pp. 101-136.

 

Sutton, David L. / Winn, J. Emmett: 'Do We Get to Win This Time?: POW/MIA Rescue Films and the American Monomyth. In: Journal of American & Comparative Cultures 24,1-2, Spring 2001, pp. 25-30.

 

Terrace, Vincent: Encyclopedia of Television Subjects, Themes and Settings. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007, viii, 427 S.

¬   Darin: Prison, p. 222.

 

Thomas, Chantal: Les prisons. In: Caméra/Stylo, 5, Janv. 1985, pp. 11-14.

 

Walters, Suzanna Danuta: Caged Heat: The (R)Evolution of Women-in-Prison. In: Reel knockouts. Violent women in the movies. Ed. by Martha McCaughey and Neal King. Austin: University of Texas Press 2001, pp. 106-123.

 

Wilkins, Mike: Jail Birds. In: Film Comment 22,4, July 1986, pp. 63ff.

¬   The girls-in-gangs adult film genre is examined. Women-in-prison films are highlighted. Pornographic girls-in-gangs films enjoyed peak publicity during the 1960s.

 

Williams, Melanie: Women in Prison and Women in Dressing Gowns: Rediscovering the 1950s Films of J. Lee Thompson. In: Journal of Gender Studies 11,1, March 2002, pp. 5-15.

¬  British cinema of the 1950s has recently been the subject of substantial reappraisal which has sought to rescue it from its former image as dull and reactionary. However, one thing that has stayed the same is the notion of this period of British cinema as male-dominated, particularly through the critical focus on the war film genre. An analysis of director J. Lee Thompson's career in the 1950s provides an interesting corrective to this. Thompson's films focus predominantly on women, particularly those who do not or cannot fit in with accepted modes of female behaviour. These include two films about women in prison, The Weak and the Wicked (1953) and Yield to the Night (1956), and one about an unhappy housewife, Woman in a Dressing Gown (1957). This article also discusses Thompson's contribution to the war film, Ice Cold in Alex (1958), which interestingly, is one of the few examples of the genre to give a central role to a female character. Although the personnel behind these films are mainly men, including Thompson himself, these films powerfully expose the contradictions and problems in constructions of femininity at the time, and merit more critical attention than they have previously received. [Taylor & Francis]

 

Wilson, David / O'Sullivan, Sean: Images of incarceration. Representations of prison in film and television drama. Winchester: Waterside Press 2004, VI, 192 S.

 

Wilson, David: Inside observations. In: Screen 34,1, Spring 1993, pp. 76-79.

¬            Discusses the use of cliched or 'mythical' images of prisons in US films.

 

Wilson, David: Prison Film Series: Pitch Black. In: Prison Service Journal, 162, Nov. 2005, pp. 70-71.

 

Wilson, David / O'Sullivan, Sean: Re-theorizing the penal reform functions of the prison film. Revelation, humanization, empathy and benchmarking. In: Theoretical Criminology 9,4, Nov. 2005, pp. 471-491.

¬            Previous literature on ‘the prison film’ has generally been sceptical as to the value of portrayals of prisons and prisoners in popular film. The prison film is said to contain little real information on penal conditions and to have contributed little or nothing to penal reform. The current article rejects this assessment and argues that the prison film can discharge several useful penal reform functions and that the importance of screen portrayals of prisons and prisoners has been understated.

 

Wulff, Hans J.: Drei Bemerkungen zur Motiv- und Genreanalyse am Beispiel des Gefängnisfilms. In: 6. Film- und Fernsehwissenschaftliches Kolloquium, Berlin '93. [Akten.] Berlin: Gesellschaft für Theorie & Geschichte audiovisueller Kommunikation 1994, S. 149-154.

 

Wulff, Hans J.: Ein Gefängnisfilm aus Österreich: Fleischwolf von Houchang Allahyari. In: Der neue österreichische Film. Hrsg. v. Gottfried Schlemmer. Wien: Wespennest 1996, S. 253-265.

 

Young, Charles S.: Missing Action: POW Films, Brainwashing, and the Korean War, 1954-1968. In: Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 18,1, March 1998, pp. 49-74.

 

Yousman, Bill: Inside "Oz"- Hyperviolence, Race and Class Nightmares, and the Engrossing Spectacle of Terror. In: Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 6,3, 2009, pp. 265-284.

 

Zalcock, Bev: Renegade sisters. Girls gangs on film. New and updated ed. London/San Francisco: Creation Books 2001, 238 S.

¬   At first 1998. See ch. 1, Women in Prison, pp. 19-38.

 

Zalcock, Beverley / Robinson, Jocelyn: Inside cell block H: hard steel and soft soap. In: Continuum 9,1, 1996, pp. 88-97.

 

  Impressum   Letzte Änderung: 21.10.2010