Callens, Johan

From Middleton and Rowley's Changeling to Sam Shepard's Bodyguard a Contemporary Appropriation of a Renaissance Drama
1997 0-7734-8653-4
Throughout his career, Sam Shepard has demonstrated a preoccupation with national identity, myths and symbols. The focus of the present study, The Bodyguard (1973), was commissioned by Tony Richardson, a film adaptation of Middleton and Rowley's classic English play, with its central love-hate relationship. The screen adaptation is presented here as a counterhegemonic appropriation of the canonical text through an assertion of Shepard's American identity and a vindication of his popular roots. The adaptation critically inscribes the tension Shepard experiences between national idea(l)s and a multicultural reality into the plot, themes and imagery of the early modern play, besides exemplifying and thematizing the postmodern fusion of high and low culture.

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