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ReFocus: The Films of Delmer Daves

Edited by Matthew Carter, Andrew Patrick Nelson

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New essays on the life and work of veteran Hollywood filmmaker Delmer Daves

From Destination Tokyo (1943) to The Battle of the Villa Fiorita (1965), Delmer Daves was responsible for a unique body of work, but few filmmakers have been as critically overlooked in existing scholarly literature. Often regarded as an embodiment of the self-effacing craftsmanship of classical and post-War Hollywood, films such as Broken Arrow (1950) and 3:10 to Yuma (1957) reveal a filmmaker concerned with style as much as sociocultural significance. As the first comprehensive study of Daves’s career, this collection of essays seeks to deepen our understanding of his work, and also to problematize existing conceptions of him as a competent, conventional and even naïve studio man.

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Introduction: No One Would Know It Was Mine: Delmer Daves, Modest Auteur
Chapter One: Don’t Be Too Quick to Dismiss Them: Authorship and the Westerns of Delmer Daves, Andrew Patrick Nelson
Chapter Two: Trying to Ameliorate the Within: Delmer Daves’s Westerns from the 1950s, John White
Chapter Three: Bent, or Lifted Out By Its Roots: Daves’ Broken Arrow and Drum Beat as Narratives of Conditional Sympathy, Józef Jaskulski
Chapter Four: This Room is My Castle of Quiet: The Collaborations of Delmer Daves and Glenn Ford, Adrian Danks
Chapter Five: Delmar Daves, Authenticity, and Auteur Elements: Celebrating the Ordinary in Cowboy , Sue Matheson
Chapter Six: Home and the Range : Spencer’s Mountain as Revisionist Family Melodrama, Joseph Pomp
Chapter Seven: Delmer Daves’ 3:10 to Yuma: Aesthetics, Reception and Cultural Significance, Fran Pheasant-Kelly
Chapter Eight: Changing Societies: The Red House, The Hanging Tree, Spencer's Mountain and Postwar America, Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns
Chapter Nine: Partial Rehabilitation: Task Force and the Case of Billy Mitchell, Andrew Howe
Chapter Ten: “This is where he brought me: 10,000 acres of nothing!” The Femme Fatale and other Film Noir Tropes in Delmer Daves’ Jubal, Matthew Carter

About the Author

Matthew Carter is Senior Lecturer in Film, Television, and Cultural Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Andrew Patrick Nelson is Assistant Professor of Film History and Critical Studies at Montana State University.


'The American director Delmer Daves has never enjoyed the critical attention lavished on other Hollywood professionals such as Don Siegel. Finally, however, in this collection of insightful new essays on the life and work of the veteran Hollywood filmmaker, he is granted his critical due. This collection of pieces (covering the director’s entire career, including his shamelessly enjoyable ‘women’s pictures’ such as A Summer Place and Parrish) aims to enrich both our appreciation of the director’s work and changing perceptions of him as simple studio craftsman… the perceptive and provocative case studies of such film as Broken Arrow (1950), 3:10 to Yuma (1957) and Destination Tokyo (1943) produce much fascinating analysis here.'

- Barry Forshaw , and

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