Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Faith Gardner Humanities and Social Science

From Pulp Fiction to Film Noir: Cinematic Translation of a Literary Style

This research explores three pulp novels by 20th century American writer James M. Cain and their subsequent film adaptations of the 1940&Mac226;s: The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce and Double Indemnity. These three movies are a few famous examples of film noir, an American cinematic style that reached its heyday in the 1940&Mac226;s. My research explores the text of these novels in comparison with their film translations, along with theoretical, historical and other secondary resources. I hope to better understand how instruments such as syntax, narrative structure and point of view create a distinct textual style, and how that translates into a distinct cinematic style, despite different directors, in their film noir adaptations. This research will provide the basis for my English undergraduate thesis.

Message To Sponsor

This opportunity grants me the time to put a significant amount of background work and thought into research for next year's English thesis. I am incorporating some quite different and interesting areas of study, such as visual theory, literary criticism and Hollywood history. In the end I hope this interdisciplinary aspect of the research will lend itself to newfound ideas concerning the process of adaptation itself, and the limitations and abilities of novels versus films. The relationship of literature to film is what I plan to further study in grad school, sothis fellowship offers me valuable practice and experience in the field I hope to pursue in the future.
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Major: English, Interdisciplinary Studies Field
Mentor: Julia Bader, English
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