Why has a nineteenth-century author with an elitist reputation proved so popular with directors as varied as William Wyler, François Truffaut, and James Ivory? A partial answer lies in the way many of Henry James's recurring themes still haunt us: the workings of power, the position of women in society, the complexities of sexuality and desire.
Susan Griffin has assembled fifteen of the world's foremost authorities on Henry James to examine both the impact of James on film and the impact of film on James. Anthony Mazella traces the various adaptations of The Turn of the Screw, from novel to play to opera to film. Peggy McCormack examines the ways the personal lives of Peter Bogdanovich and then-girlfriend Cybill Shepherd influenced critical reaction to Daisy Miller (1974). Leland Person points out the consequences of casting Christopher Reeve — then better known as Superman — in The Bostonians (1984) during the conservative political context of the first Reagan presidency. Nancy Bentley defends Jane Campion's anachronistic reading of Portrait of a Lady (1996) as being more “authentic” than the more common period costume dramas. Dale Bauer observes James's influence on such films as Next Stop, Wonderland (1998) and Notting Hill (1999). Marc Bousquet explores the ways Wings of the Dove (1997) addresses the economic and cultural situations of Gen-X viewers. Other fascinating essays as well as a complete filmography and bibliography of work on James and film round out the collection.