Dr Tom Brown
Senior Lecturer in Film Studies
Tom Brown is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies. He is the author of two monographs: Spectacle in “Classical” Cinemas: Musicality and Historicity in the 1930s (2016) and Breaking the Fourth Wall: Direct Address in the Cinema (2012). Brown is the co-editor of The Biopic in Contemporary Film Culture (2014), Film Moments: Criticism, History, Theory (2010) and Film and Television After DVD (2008), and the author of numerous other articles and chapters. He holds a PhD in Film Studies and MA in Film and Television Studies from the University of Warwick and a BA in Film Studies and French from the University of Kent. Prior to working at KCL, he was a Lecturer in Film at the University of Reading.
Tom is a MHFaider® (Mental Health First Aider)
Research Interests and PhD Supervision
- Cinematic ‘classicism’, particularly in Hollywood
- The representation of history on film
- French cinema, especially of the 1930s
- Cinematic spectacle and film genres (esp. the musical)
Tom’s work is invested in combining methodologies derived from film historiography, film theory and the practice of close analysis in innovative ways. He is particularly interested in cinematic narration (agency, rhetoric, self-consciousness etc.), the theorisation and historicisation of film spectacle (especially in the genres of the musical and the historical film) and in film’s representation of history more broadly. Tom is currently developing research expertise in relation to Pixar animation studios, and is also strongly invested in open access and accessible forms of film scholarship, particularly in terms of developing his own nascent videographic practice:
Tom is interested in supervising work on the place of spectacle in popular cinemas, on the representation of history on film and on stylistic self-consciousness and rhetoric within mainstream or ‘classical’ cinemas. He is also interested in supervising work on acting/performance in popular cinema that engages in practices of close analysis and historical enquiry.
For more details, please see my full research profile.
Tom has taught a range of modules at BA and MA level, with a particular emphasis on film history and close analysis. He has been leading the development of videographic (i.e. ‘video essay’ making) practice within the department’s teaching and learning (having set up two workshops for staff devoted to this), and also pioneered the integration of ‘mindfulness’ meditation into UG teaching to aid study skills and student wellbeing – he presented on this as part of the cross-institutional Education for Mental Health project in 2020. Tom was nominated by his students for Teaching Excellence Awards in 2017, 2018 and 2020.
- Brown: Spectacle in “Classical” Cinemas: Musicality and Historicity in the 1930s (Routledge, 2016)
- Brown: Breaking the Fourth Wall: Direct Address in the Cinema (Edinburgh UP, 2012)
- Brown and Vidal (eds): The Biopic in Contemporary Film Culture (Routledge, 2014)
- Brown and Walters (eds): Film Moments: Criticism, History, Theory (BFI, 2010)
- Brown: ‘Don’t Curb your Enthusiasm: visible bonhomie and the ontology of improvisational comedy’ in Donaldson and Walters (eds), Television Performance (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2019).
Expertise and Public Engagement
Tom has organised public events at the BFI Southbank, as well as public screenings and symposia at KCL. He has spoken at public events at RUSI and at events organised by Penguin Publishers, MUBI and others. Tom has been twice interviewed for Sky News in connection with news stories about representations of history on film and film performance. He has acted as a peer reviewer for a range pf publications and publishers including Screen, [in]Transition, Routledge and Palgrave-Macmillan.