The Film Photonovel
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by Jan Baetens
Discarded by archivists and disregarded by scholars despite its cultural impact on post–World War II Europe, the film photonovel represents a unique crossroads. This hybrid medium presented popular films in a magazine format that joined film stills or set pictures with captions and dialogue balloons to re-create a cinematic story, producing a tremendously popular blend of cinema and text that supported more than two dozen weekly or monthly publications.
Illuminating a long-overlooked ‘lowbrow' medium with a significant social impact, The Film Photonovel studies the history of the format as a hybrid of film novelizations, drawn novels, and nonfilm photonovels. While the field of adaptation studies has tended to focus on literary adaptations, this book explores how the juxtaposition of words and pictures functioned in this format and how page layout and photo cropping could affect reading. Finally, the book follows the film photonovel's brief history in Latin America and the United States. Adding an important dimension to the interactions between filmmakers and their audiences, this work fills a gap in the study of transnational movie culture.