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Charles Maland

Charles Maland

J. Douglas Bruce Professor


Chuck Maland teaches courses in film studies, American cultural studies and American literature. His central area of interest is in American narratives—film and literature—and their relationship to American culture. His scholarly work has centered primarily on American films and filmmakers, particularly those directors whose careers thrived during the Great Depression, and exploring how their work was grounded in the evolution of the film industry and the broader culture in which they worked.

He has just completed an edition of James Agee’s movie writings called Complete Film Criticism: Reviews, Essays, Manuscripts, for which he also wrote a historical introduction about Agee’s career as a movie reviewer in the 1940s for Time and The Nation.  The volume contains all of Agee’s film columns that appeared in the Nation magazine and—for the first time—all of the reviews and essays he wrote for Time magazine, including cover story essays on such movie figures as Gregory Peck, Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, and Hedda Hopper.  It also includes all of Agee’s other published writing on movies—like his famous essay on silent film comedy called “Comedy’s Greatest Era”--and a number of previously unpublished essays on the movies, discovered in the Agee papers in special collections at the University of Texas and the University of Tennessee.   In 1944 the British poet W. H. Auden praised the “astonishing excellence” of Agee’s film columns in the Nation, calling the column the “most remarkable regular event in American journalism today.”   Dr. Maland’s edition, published by the University of Tennessee Press as a part of its ongoing series, The Complete Works of James Agee, constitutes the definitive collection of Agee’s movie reviews and criticism.   Currently Dr. Maland is also working on a book for the Cineteca di Bologna which traces the production and distribution history of Chaplin’s City Lights, drawing on the extensive Chaplin studio records housed at the Cineteca.  His audio commentary for the new Criterion Blu-ray/DVD edition of Chaplin’s 1921 masterpiece, The Kid, appeared in 2016


MA, PhD, Program in American Culture, University of Michigan


  • Complete Film Criticism: Reviews, Essays, Manuscripts, The Complete Works of James Agee, Volume 5 (University of Tennessee Press, 2017).
  • City Lights.  London: British Film Institute, Film Classics Series, 2007.
  • Chaplin and American Culture: The Evolution of a Star Image (Princeton University Press, 1989; paperback edition, 1991). Theater Arts Association Award for Outstanding Book in the Area of Recorded Performance (Film, Radio, and Television)
  • Frank Capra (Twayne Publishers, 1980; rev. ed., 1995)
  • American Visions: The Films of Chaplin, Ford, Capra, and Welles, 1936-1941 (Arno Press, 1977).


Representative articles and book chapters

  •  “Tramp, Deamer, Survivor: Chaplin’s ‘Many-Sided Fellow’ From Infancy to Age Seventeen,” La Figure de Charol et Ses Avatars, ed. Morgane Jourdren and Pierre-Marie Loizeau: 27-42.   Rennes: Des Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2015.
  • “The Persisting Appeal of Charlie and Chaplin,” Introduction, Re-Focusing Chaplin: A Screen Icon in Critical Contexts, edited by James E. Caron, Benjamin Click, and Lawrence Howe: v-x.  New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013.
  •   “Chaplin and American Silent Comedy,” in Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film, Vol. 1, Origins to 1928, ed. by Roy Grundmann, Cynthia Lucia, and Art Simon: 251-270.   Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.
  • “Chaplin at Keystone Restored.”  The Moving Image 11: 2 (Fall 2011): 120-24.
  • “1939: Movies and American Culture in the Annus Mirabilis,” in The 1930s, ed. Ina Rae Hark, Screen Decades Series  (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers UP, 2007): 228-249.
  • “1978: Movies and Changing Times.” The 1970s, ed. Lester Friedman, Screen Decades Series  (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers UP, 2007): 205-227.
  • “Chaplin’s Modern Times,” in Film Analysis, ed. R. L. Rutsky (NY: W. M. Norton, 2005): 238-259
  • “A Star is Born: Chaplin, American Culture, and the Dynamics of Charlie’s Star Image, 1913-1916.” in The Silent Cinema Reader, ed. Lee Grieveson and Peter Kramer (NY: 2004): 197-209
  • “The American Adam,” in The Columbia Companion to American History on Film: How the Moviews Have Portrayed the American Past, ed. Peter C. Rollins (NY: Columbia UP, 2004): 560-66
  • “Powered by a Ford? Dudley Nichols, Authorship, and Cultural Ethos in Stagecoach,” in Film Handbook to Stagecoach, ed. Barry K. Grant (NY: Cambridge UP, 2003): 48-81
  • “From Aesthete to Pappy: The Evolution of John Ford’s Public Reputation,” in John Ford Made Westerns: Filming the Legend in the Sound Era, ed. Matthew Bernstein and Gaylyn Studlar (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2000), 220-252
  • “Charles Spencer Chaplin,” in American National Biography, Vol. 4, ed. John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (NY: Oxford University Press, 1999), 697-700
  • “Capra and the Abyss: Self Interest Versus the Common Good in Depression America,” inFrank Capra: Authorship and the Studio System, ed. Robert Sklar and Vito Zagarrio (Temple University Press, 1998), 95-128
  • “How Much Chaplin is in Chaplin? A Look at Attenborough’s Screen Biography,”Literature/Film Quarterly 25.1 (1997): 49-54
  • “Charles Spencer Chaplin,” Dictionary of American Biography (Scribner’s, 1995), 114-118
  • “Politics and Auteurs: From Chaplin to Wajda,” in James Combs, ed., Movies and Politics: The Dynamic Relationship (Garland Press, 1993), 239-70
  • “The Burdens of Being Funny: The Circus,” in Richard Dyer MacCann, ed., The Silent Comedians (Scarecrow, 1993), 106-113
  • “Frank Capra at Columbia: Necessity and Invention,” in Bernard Dick, ed., Columbia Pictures: Portrait of a Studio (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1992), 71-88
  • “Memory and Things Past: History and Two Biographical Flashback Films,” East-West Film Journal 6 (Jan. 1992), 71-98
  • “Synthetic Criticism and American Movies,” American Quarterly 41 (March 1989), 204-209
  • “Charles Brackett,” Dictionary of American Biography (NY: Scribners, 1989), 45-46
  • Four selections in Film History, ed. Erik S. Lunde and Douglas Noverr (NY: Marcus Wiener, 1989), 35-39, 81-87, 125-28, 209-213
  • “The Social Problem Film,” in Wes Gehring, ed., Handbook of American Film Genres(Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1988), 305-329
  • “The Strange Case of Monsieur Verdoux: Comedy, Ideology, and the Dynamics of Reception,” Film Criticism, 8 (Fall 1988), 45-62
  • “‘Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been?’: The INS Interview with Charles Chaplin,” Cineaste, 14:4 (1986), 10-15
  • “A Documentary Note on Charlie Chaplin’s Politics,” Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television, 5:2 (1985), 199-208
  • “The Millionaire Tramp,” Post Script 3 (Spring/Summer 1984), 55-62
  • On the Waterfront (1954): Film and the Dilemmas of American Liberalism in the McCarthy Era,” Scandinavian Journal of American Studies, 14 (1982), 107-27
  • “Social Scientists and American Culture,” Journal of American Culture, 5 (1982), 108-110
  • “Agee and Film,” Southern Quarterly 19 (1981), 225-28
  • “Michael Curtiz” and “Eric Johnston” in Dictionary of American Biography, ed. John Garraty (New York: Scribners, 1981), 159-61, 396-98
  • “Dr. Strangelove: Nightmare Comedy and the Ideology of Liberal Consensus,” American Quarterly, 31 (1979), 697-717, reprinted in Peter Rollins, ed., Hollywood as Historian(Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1983)
  • “What Was Cinema?” Film/Literature Quarterly, 7 (1979), 77-79
  • “Mr. Deeds and American Consensus,” Film and History, 8 (1978), 9-15.

Awards, Honors & Grants

  •  J. Douglas Bruce Chair of English, 2010
  • Alexander Prize, for Excellence in Teaching and Research, 2006
  • GSA citation for Outstanding Graduate Teaching, 2003
  • Arts and Sciences Advising Award, 2001
  • Consultant and Interviewee, Griffith in Context Project: The Birth of a Nation, 2000-2001
  • Scholarly Commentator for Movies in Time, the History Channel, 1999
  • Editorial Board, Film and History, 1998–
  • Lindsay Young Professor
  • Editorial Board, Film Criticism, 1997–
  • L.R. Hesler Award for Teaching and Service, 1993
  • Chair, Publications Committee, Society for Cinema Studies, 1991-94
  • Editorial Board, Cinema Journal, 1993-1997
  • National Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Award, 1992
  • Theatre Library Association Book Award (and Pulitzer Prize Nomination) for Chaplin and American Culture, 1990
  • Chancellor’s Award for Research and Creative Achievement, 1990
  • Faculty, Stokely Institute for Liberal Arts Education, 1987
  • Chairperson of Cinema Studies Program, University of Tennessee, 1983-
  • Fulbright Senior Lecturer in American Literature and Civilization, University of Bergen, Norway, 1981-82
  • Fellow, American Film Institute/Rockefeller Foundation, “Film and Humanities Summer Seminar,” Beverly Hills, California, 1978.
Charles Maland

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