Professor Bingham’s presentation of Life, Death and All That Jazz: Bob Fosse and the Hollywood Renaissance of the 1970s on December 5, 2014 will explore the film style of the director-choreographer Bob Fosse (1927-1987), examining Fosse’s heretofore unacknowledged role in the “Hollywood Renaissance” of the 1970s. Bingham artfully examines how Fosse changed Hollywood cinema and American culture in ways that, though not always positive, have been lasting and pervasive. The talk focuses on Fosse’s first two films, Sweet Charity (1969) and especially, Cabaret (1972). These musicals feature unmotivated protagonists and discontinuous editing styles redolent of avant-garde and European Art Cinema. In their tendency toward ambivalence and ambiguity they deconstruct their traditionally optimistic genre, resulting in a uniquely revisionist form of the film musical.
In addition to being a director and choreographer for both film and musical theater, Fosse was also a dancer, screenwriter, and actor. He won an unprecedented eight Tony Awards for choreography, as well as one for direction. He was nominated for an Academy Award four times, winning one. Fosse’s first film, Sweet Charity, starring Shirley MacLaine, is an adaptation of the Broadway musical he had directed and choreographed. His second film, Cabaret, won eight Academy Awards, including Best Director, which he won over Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather starring Marlon Brando, as well as Oscars for both Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey for their roles.
About the Liberal Arts Sabbatical Series Lectures
The Sabbatical Speaker Series was established to provide a venue for sharing research completed by Liberal Arts faculty while on sabbatical leaves. It is a sampling of the diverse work and excellence of IUPUI faculty, and an opportunity to come together for an hour of intellectual exploration with students, alumni, faculty, staff, retirees and friends from the community.
About the speaker
The academic interests of Dr. Dennis Bingham, professor of English and director of the film studies program, include film theory, gender theory, film biography and stardom and acting. In 2011, Professor Bingham was a finalist for the Theatre Library Association Richard Wall Memorial Award for “Whose Lives Are They Anyway: The Biopic as Contemporary Film Genre” published by Rutgers University Press. He has published numerous articles and entries on Clint Eastwood and Biopics on Oxford Bibliographies Online.