Will Scheibel

Assistant Professor English

As an American film scholar, Will Scheibel researches and writes about Hollywood cinema of the studio and post-World War II eras. He is interested in the relations between classical film aesthetics and the culture of modernity at the middle of the twentieth century, particularly surrounding issues of authorship, stardom and performance, genre, and representation.

With Steven Rybin, he co-edited Lonely Places, Dangerous Ground (SUNY Press, 2014), a collection of twenty essays on the films and career of director Nicholas Ray that also includes a 1977 interview published in English for the first time in its entirety. Continuing his work on Ray, the monograph American Stranger (SUNY Press, 2017) traces the lines that shape his reputation as a “rebel auteur” and contour the ideologies of his directorial style, from critical discourses on film authorship and 1950s performances of masculinity, to his foray into the film avant-garde and legacy in modernist art cinemas.

Currently, Professor Scheibel is writing a book on Hollywood actress Gene Tierney, a major contract star at Twentieth Century-Fox in films such as Laura (1944), Leave Her to Heaven (1945), and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947). Promoted as “the most beautiful woman in movie history,” she also became one of the first stars to battle the stigma of mental illness publicly. This project contextualizes her making (and unmaking) as a star during World War II and the years that followed, but seeks to understand an alternative history of war effort and postwar trauma that defined and regulated her image across the roles of pin-up model and working-woman, war bride, maternal domestic, and “troubled beauty.”

Professor Scheibel holds a Ph.D. in Film & Media Studies from Indiana University, an M.A. in Film & Literature from Northern Illinois University, and a B.A. in Cinema from the University of Iowa. In addition to teaching in the Department of English, he is also Advising Faculty in the Goldring Arts Journalism Program in the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Research and Teaching Interests

Film aesthetics, history, and criticism; film and media theory; Hollywood cinema of the studio and postwar eras; director/authorship studies; star/performance studies; identity, difference, and representation in cinema; film genre; American modernism, modernity, and mass culture

Recent Courses

Undergraduate Courses
Interpretation of Film (ETS 154)
American Cinema: From Beginnings to Present (ETS 170)
Hollywood Directors of the 1950s (ETS 320)
Film Noir/Noir Cultures (ETS 340)
Performance & Stardom in Classical Hollywood (ETS 420)
Latinos in Cinema (ETS 450) 

Graduate Courses
Classical Hollywood Cinema (ENG 630)
American Film Melodrama (ENG 730) 


Lonely Places, Dangerous Ground:
Nicholas Ray in American Cinema
(SUNY Press)


American Stranger:
Modernisms, Hollywood, and the Cinema of Nicholas Ray
(SUNY Press)