English Seminar: The Poetry of the Intertitle
Peter Kirkpatrick, University of Sydney
The Poetry of the Intertitle: The Sentimental Bloke (1919)
When they adapted C.J. Dennis’s The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke for the screen, Raymond Longford and Lottie Lyell drew extensively upon the poems themselves for intertitles, but how intrinsic are they to the film’s humour and, more specifically, its cinematic humour? Their classic film marks a point in time when poetry’s role as part of public entertainment was being swiftly replaced by newer forms such as film and radio. As film historian Tom Gunning has suggested, it was also a period in which an exhibitionist “cinema of attractions” – including vaudeville-based slapstick – was increasingly subsumed to narrative ends. This paper explores some of these wider cultural tensions between poetry and cinema as they play out in The Sentimental Bloke.
MECO Seminar Room S226
John Woolley Building (A20)
The University of Sydney