We use cookies on this website, you can read about them here. To use the website as intended please... ACCEPT COOKIES
UAL Research Online

From Dancing Queen to Plaster Virgin; Elizabeth and the End of English Heritage

Church Gibson, Pamela (2002) From Dancing Queen to Plaster Virgin; Elizabeth and the End of English Heritage. The Journal of Popular British Cinema, 5. pp. 133-142. ISSN 1461104X

Type of Research: Article
Creators: Church Gibson, Pamela

This is not the first essay to look at the film 'Elizabeth' (UK, Shekhar Kapur, 1999) but it is the first essay to link it up with the two other 'royal' films which preceded it in the 1990s. It argues that these three films advance beyond the previously acknowledged confines of the 'heritage' film and so change the trajectory of heritage cinema.

By linking 'heritage' cinema with contemporary social and political events, these films take on a new significance and create a new climate for film-makers within this genre, rather than the previous tendency simply to idealize 'the world we have lost'. The essay takes as its starting-point Guy Debord's famous polemic 'The Society of the Spectacle', and argues that now, as never before, the concept of 'spectacle' - and of culture as the star commodity of the 'spectacular' society - are not only central to any social critique but inform all cultural production. The essay draws on Regis Debray's controversial article' Admirable England?', delineating the social and political implications of Princess Diana's funeral and the attendant public hysteria.

It concludes by suggesting that not only do the trilogy of films under scrutiny form a new strand within the genre - but that 'Elizabeth' goes further, making of itself the first postmodern heritage film, the first to jettison period fidelity, to engage in ostentatious pastiche, and to open up new artistic and political possibilities for future 'heritage' cinema.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

Pamela Church Gibson

Research Interests

Film and fashion, History and heritage, Cities and consumption, Gender and spectacle

Current Research

I have continued my work around the complex relationship between film, fashion, fandom and the contemporary star system. I am now moving into new interdisciplinary territory as I examine the relationship between cities, cinema, consumption and gendering the post-war period as part of my contribution to and role within the ESRC funded project, ‘Shopping Routes’ for which I have two articles awaiting publication and am helping to organise an exhibition at the V&A. In the wider remit of gender studies, contemporary critical theory and cinema, I have completed and published various essays. I have also published a complete reworking of an earlier BFI anthology, this one entitled ‘More Dirty Looks: Gender, Pornography and Power’ (2004) for which I commissioned twelve new essays, half of them from American academics, while myself writing a completely new 'Introduction'. I am also currently writing a book entitled ‘Cities, Cinema and Consumption in the Post-War Period’.

Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Flicks books
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Research Centres No Longer Active > Fashion, The Body And Material Cultures Research Centre (FBMC)
Date: 1 June 2002
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2009 21:29
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2010 08:42
Item ID: 1736
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1736

Repository Staff Only: item control page | University Staff: Request a correction