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Essay Guidelines
For this assignment, you will study the evolution of a genre ​(biography/biopic)​, in the way that we have been studying the Zombie Horror in class. Working with two thematically linked films (​Queen Christina (MGM, 1934) + Mary, Queen of Scots (1971))​ in your genre from different periods and outside research from at least three sources to help you identify the genre’s history, myths, conventions, and iconography, you will develop a thesis about the genre and how it works across time and in an ever-changing culture. Your paper should consider how genre creates meaning in these two films and how this reflects a larger argument about the genre’s relation to the culture in which it is produced (both the U.S. social culture and the Hollywood industry).

This is, first and foremost, ​a paper about genre​. Your films are illustrative examples of the genre within a h​istorical/cultural context ​that will help you understand how and why it has changed over time. ​They will also help limit your focus, as not every generic myth, convention, or icon will be relevant to your films and your thesis. You are not simply discussing your films’ similarities and differences. Your argument and analysis must demonstrate a historical understanding of the genre and how your films work within the genre. ​You should examine the ​generic myths, conventions, and iconography at work in the films, as well as the ways in which the style (or formal elements) influence how audiences understand and interpret these various generic elements. For example:​ How is the convention of the lone gunslinger different in a classical versus a modernist Western? How is this difference indicative of the broader changes in the genre between the two periods?

Genre: ​Biography/Biopic
Movies: ​Queen Christina (MGM, 1934) + Mary, Queen of Scots (1971)

To write a​ paper, ​using both original analysis and outside research. You will be expected to develop your own thesis and then argue that thesis with a coherent and organized discussion of the topic. Your thesis must make a claim about how and why your genre (biography/biopic) has changed over time and engage with the class concepts on Genre and the Classical, Postclassical, and Modernist periods (whichever apply to your films). Be sure to use the terminology and concepts provided in lecture and/or those in the course readings on these issues.

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The evolution of biography/biopic genre
The films Queen Christina and Mary, Queen of Scots, are a pair of biopic or biography movies hailed for their power of elucidating the way the genre has evolved, beginning just after the classical period and towards the end of modernism. On the one hand, Queen Christina, which is a 1933 production by Mamoulian, portrays the life of Queen Christina of Sweden. The film covers her story after she becomes the monarch at a tender age of six years and develops to become an influential and powerful leader. Other than the demands she leads the Thirty Years’ War, people expect the queen to marry an appropriate royal figure to bear an heir. She falls in love with a visiting Spanish herald. The queen has to choose between her royal duty and love. Mary, Queen of Scots, produced in 1971 by Jarrott, follows the story of the teenage Mary. Mary is the wife to the king of France. She returns to Scotland following the demise of her husband. Queen Elizabeth I, who is Mary’s cousin, believes that she, coupled with her Roman Catholic ideals, is a political threat. Therefore, she creates a cascade of romantic dilemmas (marriage to Lord Darnley, relationship with David Riccio, and finally marriage to Lord Bothwell, just to distract her. These dilemmas force Mary to abdicate the throne and go to exile. The two movies, as they retell the same stories about women and provides historical ties through a biographic approach shown on the screens, allows the readers to understand the generic myths, conventions, and iconography at work in the post-classical and modernism films better by making the narrative more interesting than reading a boring bio on the text....

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