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 particularly interested in historical cases of authorship, stardom and performance, genre, and representation that arise from the interplays between classical film aesthetics and the culture of modernity at the middle of the twentieth century. 

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, forthcoming 2017) traces the lines that shape his reputation as a “rebel auteur” and contour the ideologies of his directorial style, from discourses on film authorship and 1950s images of male performance, to his foray into the film avant-garde and legacy in modernist art cinemas.

The book he is currently writing looks at star Gene Tierney in the context of World War II and the years that followed during her contract period with Twentieth Century-Fox. Promoted by the studio’s chief executive, Darryl F. Zanuck, as “the most beautiful woman in movie history,” Tierney also became one of the first film stars to battle the stigma of mental illness publicly. This project seeks to understand the standards by which Hollywood defined and regulated feminine beauty across the roles of pin-up model, working-woman, war bride, and maternal domestic, examining the alternative history of war effort and postwar trauma that her stardom reveals.

Prof. 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.

Research and Teaching Interests

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