Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

James Sutton

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Vernon Dickson

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Kenneth Johnson

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


King Lear, film, film studies, adaptation studies, film adaptation, House of Strangers, Broken Lance, Film Noir, Western, Shakespeare, Yvonne Griggs, literature, genre films, English

Date of Defense



The purpose of this thesis is to evaluate and refute Yvonne Griggs’ claims that the films “House of Strangers” (1949) and “Broken Lance” (1954) are as Griggs deems “genre-based adaptations” of William Shakespeare’s “King Lear. I argue that the films, although they have some essential elements of “King Lear, lack intentionality and reception, pivotal components in determining viability as a Shakespearean film adaptation. Using Griggs’ book as my critical background, I will show that these films are better classified under their respective genre categories, Western and film noir, not as “King Lear” genre adaptations. I will also suggest criteria for determining the level of canonicity of a “King Lear” film adaptation. Popularity of films does not determine validity, and a film does not need purported Shakespearean provenance to validate its ratings. Some films, like these, merely reference or pay homage to Shakespeare through use of essential elements of “King Lear”; here, I deem such affinities to be more unintentional than intentional.





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