Mind Reeling

Psychopathology on Film

Edited by Homer B. Pettey

Subjects: Film Studies, Psychiatry, Psychology, Cultural Studies
Series: SUNY series, Horizons of Cinema
Paperback : 9781438481005, 258 pages, July 2021
Hardcover : 9781438481012, 258 pages, December 2020

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

1. Introduction: A Very Brief History of Psychopathology in Cinema
Homer B. Pettey

2. Adèle H. , Camille Claudel, and Margot de Valois: Isabelle Adjani's Real "Mad" Women? Costume Drama and the Disruptive Female
Susan Hayward

3. Musical Madness on Hangover Square
Murray Pomerance

4. Screening Multiple Personality Disorder in the Age of Kinsey: Lizzie and The Three Faces of Eve
R. Barton Palmer

5. The Cine-Telescopic Psyche: 1950s Serial Killers and Sexual Psychopathology in The Sniper and While the City Sleeps
Robert Miklitsch

6. Pathologies of Pedagogy in Midcentury Melodrama: The Miracle Worker and A Child Is Waiting
Jennifer L. Jenkins

7. Passion and Delirium: Representing Madness in Spider and Asylum
Jim Leach

8. Scorched: Landscape, Trauma, and Embodied Experience in Incendies
Tarja Laine

9. Ghostly and Ghastly Desires and Disorders in Young Adult: KenTacoHuts in Mercury
Julie Grossman

10. Criminal Biographies and Visual Culture
Homer B. Pettey


Across a variety of genres, shows how mental disorders are depicted in cinema.


Mind Reeling investigates how cinema displays and mirrors psychological disorders, such as bipolar disorder, amnesia, psychotic delusions, obsessive compulsive behavior, trauma, paranoia, and borderline personalities. It explores a range of genres, including biopics, comedies, film noirs, contemporary dramedies, thrillers, Gothic mysteries, and docufictions. The contributors open up critical approaches to audience fascination with film depictions of serious disturbances within the human psyche. Many films examined here have had little scholarly attention and commentary. These essays focus on how cinematic techniques contribute to popular culture's conception of mental dysfunction, trauma, and illness. This book reveals the complex artistic and generic patterns that produce contemporary images of psychopathology in cinema.

Homer B. Pettey is Professor of Film and Comparative Literature at the University of Arizona. He is the editor of several books, including Hitchcock's Moral Gaze (with R. Barton Palmer and Steven M. Sanders) and Rule Brittannia! The Biopic and British National Identity (with R. Barton Palmer), both also published by SUNY Press.


"Pettey's distinctive, innovative collection departs from staid psychological analysis and introduces readers to a narrative, aesthetic method by which to analyze the representation of psychopathology in film, a method both engaging and enlightening … Highly recommended. " — CHOICE