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Professor Charles Barr

The Trinity Long Room Hub was delighted to welcome Professor Charles Barr from St Mary’s University College, London.


Charles Barr is Professorial Research Fellow at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham. No stranger to Ireland, he recently spent three years as Visiting Professor in Film Studies at University College Dublin, and also (in 2010-11) as Adjunct Professor at NUI Galway, in the John Huston School of Film and Digital Media. Prior to this he was Director of the Program in Film and Media at Washington University in St Louis. For thirty years he was based at the University of East Anglia (1976 to 2006) where he initiated and helped to build one of the UK’s leading centres for Film and TV Studies at undergraduate and graduate level.


Much of Prof Barr’s recent work has centred on Alfred Hitchcock, following on from his book on English Hitchcock (Cameron & Hollis, 1999). A new edition of his study of Vertigo, for the BFI Classics series, was published by BFI/Palgrave in 2012, and his most recent project is Hitchcock: Lost and Found, co-authored with the Parisian scholar Alain Kerzoncuf for publication by the University of Kentucky Press early in 2015. This is based on extensive archival research in Britain and the US, funded by an Emeritus Fellowship from the Leverhulme Foundation. His other main research area continues to be British cinema history; he was co-writer, with its presenter Stephen Frears, of Channel 4’s centenary history, Typically British (1996), and his book on Ealing Studios (1977) has been through three editions. He also has work in progress on the Swedish director Victor Sjostrom and on the Hollywood melodramas of John M.Stahl.

During his visiting research fellowship at the Trinity Long Room Hub, Professor Barr focused on Irish playwright Sean O’Casey. He researched the Irish connections of Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford, who happen to be directors of the only two mainstream films to be based on plays by Sean O’Casey, respectively ‘Juno and the Paycock’ (UK 1929) and ‘The Plough and the Stars’ (US 1936). Ford was also co-director of the 1965 film ‘Young Cassidy’, based on O’Casey’s early life. Prof Barr will also work on a chapter for Professor Anthony Roche’s collection ‘The Cambridge Companion to O’Casey’, planned for 2015.

His research related to Trinity’s research theme on ‘Identities in Transformation’, especially to the strand ‘Narratives and Performances of Identity’. These films by Hitchcock and Ford are widely disseminated performances of Irish identity, mediated through other national cinemas and non-Irish lead actors; and they have been received in dramatically different ways in different places and at different times. During his visit, Professor Barr also engaged closely with the School of Drama, Film and Music.

Professor Barr gave a lecture entitled ‘Alfred Hitchcock: The Irish connection, and other untold stories’ on Thursday May 15th 2014 at 6.15pm.

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