New publication highlights autobiography and celebrity during production of Agatha (1979)
22 July 2020
A new publication by Professor Sarah Street entitled 'Re-Writing the Past. Autobiography and Celebrity in Agatha (1979): “An Imaginary Solution to an Authentic Mystery”’ has been released in the Open Screens journal.
The article is the result of research conducted in the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, Exeter, and at the archives of Film Finances in London. The files on the film were very rich in detail about how the film Agatha evolved, including pre-production, script versions, filming and post-production.
Professor Street presented the findings at the first ever international, interdisciplinary academic conference on Agatha Christie that was held at the University of Exeter in 2014, and a version of the paper was published in 2016 in The Ageless Agatha Christie: Essays on the Mystery and the Legacy, ed. J. C. Bernthal (McFarland, 2016).
The research was revised in order that that aspects particularly pertinent to Film Studies (as opposed to Christie Studies) were emphasised, so in the version published in Open Screens the film’s interest as a biopic, literary adaptation, Anglo-American film collaboration in the 1970s, memory studies and cultures of celebrity are foregrounded.
The research is a perfect example of how the archives can take you to unexpected places, the documents therein starting new areas of enquiry, in this case into a fascinating film about Agatha Christie’s largely unexplained disappearance in 1926. As you will read in the article below, the film was as controversial as the incident on which it was based.