Feb 07 2018 Posted: 09:41 GMT

"Polly Platt, Film History and the Question of Authorship"

Aaron Hunter, NUI Maynooth , February 22nd, 2:30 pm Huston Main.


Polly Platt was a key Hollywood designer for decades with credits including Say Anything (1989), The Last Picture Show (1970), A Star is Born (1976) and Terms of Endearment (1983). But she also played significant roles, credited and uncredited, as a writer, costume designer, location scout, and, later, producer, in a career that lasted until shortly before her death in 2011.

Much of the history and critical scholarship of creativity in 1970s Hollywood has been written about the decade’s larger-than-life men – directors like Altman and Scorsese, or producers like Bob Evans. However, the decade also saw an explosion of new talent behind the camera, in roles like cinematographer, designer, editor, and writer. And much of that creative force included women like Platt, who performed tremendous amounts of labour in creating the look, feel, and potential meanings of their films.

This talk outlines some of the signature components of Platt’s design work in the 1970s, and demonstrates how significant her contribution was to the films she worked on – the ways that, as one of the primary creative talents on her films, she acted as one of their authors.