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Publication Date



UM campus only

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Motion Pictures (Communication)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

William Rothman

Second Committee Member

Stephen Bowles

Third Committee Member

Christina Lane

Fourth Committee Member

John Paul Russo


This dissertation is an in-depth critical analysis of four American films made during the 1970s, with emphasis placed on the films' construction of gender and sexuality. This dissertation draws from the tradition of queer film criticism presented in the writings of such theorists as Barbara Creed, Alexander Doty, Richard Dyer, Vito Russo, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. Taking a queer perspective, these film readings explore how particular works implement queer codes and foster a sexually ambiguous world on film. While not typically included in discussions of Queer Cinema or New American Cinema, these four films, Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets (1973), Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation (1974), Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975), and Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980), exhibit a family resemblance and as a cycle are products of a particular period in American cinematic experimentation. A detailed scene-by-scene analysis is enacted in order to bring to light queer moments in the films and queer concerns of the films' makers. Raising questions about how the camera constructs character identities in these films, this study is reflective of the ways queer perspectives inflect filmmaking from this era.


Jaws; The Shining; The Conversation; Mean Streets; Steven Spielberg; Francis Ford Coppola; Martin Scorsese; New American Cinema; Stanley Kubrick; Masculinity; Queer Studies