Flaming Creatures

Flaming Creatures

by Constantine Verevis


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Banned soon after its first midnight screenings, the prints seized and the organizers arrested, Jack Smith’s incendiary Flaming Creatures (1963) quickly became a cause célèbre of the New York underground. Championed and defended by Jonas Mekas and Susan Sontag, among others, the film wildly and gleefully transgresses nearly every norm of Hollywood morality and aesthetics. In a surreal and visually dense series of episodes, the titular “creatures” reenact scenes drawn from the collective cinematic unconscious, playing on mainstream film culture’s moral code in a way that is at once a love letter to classical Hollywood and a searing send-up of its absurdities.

Tracing the film’s production and reception history, Constantine Verevis argues that it embodies a unique type of cinematic rewriting, one that combines Smith’s multifaceted artistic work with exotic fragments drawn from the cinematic past. This study of Smith’s magnum opus explores its status as a cult film that appropriates the visual texture, erotic nuance, and overt fabrication of old Hollywood exoticism.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231191470
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 11/26/2019
Series: Cultographies
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 4.30(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Constantine Verevis is associate professor of film and screen studies at Monash University. He is the author of Film Remakes (2005) and coeditor of B Is for Bad Cinema (2014), among other titles.

Table of Contents

1. Background and Production
2. Reception and Controversy
3. The Film Work: Flaming Creatures
4. Aftermath and Legacy

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