Taxi Driver on its 40th Anniversary

When we talk about films that have reached “classic” status, it’s easy to forget that they weren’t always a sure thing. Taxi Driver was a product of a particular time in U.S. history, and it was Paul Schrader’s script with Martin Scorsese at the helm that tapped into the cultural climate and brought it to the screen. Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is an outsider, a loner, disgusted with the world he sees around him. He is also a veteran of the Vietnam War, and has returned from his experiences of combat with a disturbed mind and an incomplete journey. There was a kind of national trauma felt after the unpopular war crawled to its close, an unsettled atmosphere that fitted well with Bickle’s paranoid psychosis. Continue reading →

“The Men Who Sent Us On This Journey Are Long Since Dead”: Shifting Masculinities in ‘Planet of the Apes’ (1968)

My first piece for Manoscopy:


The Planet of the Apes series is one of the longest running and most lucrative franchises, one that spawned four sequels, two television series, book tie-ins, several comic runs, a remake, and two prequels (with another on its way). What may be surprising to the uninitiated, is that it is also politically progressive, often allegorical, and subversive. The series is vehemently anti-war, condemning the involvement of religious fundamentalism in law and science; and in the case of the two recent instalments of the reboot/prequel series, has a focus on animal rights and the cyclical nature of conflict. The original film was written by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling– the former being blacklisted for supposedly being a communist, and the latter well-known as the ‘Angry Young Man’ of Hollywood for his clashes with executives over racism and censorship.

Yet the original Planet of the Apes (1968) has an often overlooked theme that isn’t…

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