A Woman's View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women, 1930-1960 by Jeanine Basinger

By Jeanine Basinger

During this hugely readable and unique publication, Jeanine Basinger indicates how the "woman's movie" of the 30s, 40s, and 50s despatched a powerful combined message to thousands of girl moviegoers. whilst that such movies exhorted girls to stay to their "proper" realm of fellows, marriage, and motherhood, they portrayed -- often with get pleasure from -- powerful girls enjoying out releasing fantasies of strength, romance, sexuality, luxurious, even wickedness.Never brain that the celluloid personas of Bette Davis, Myrna Loy, Katharine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, or Rita Hayworth see their folly and go back to their guy or lament his loss within the final 5 mins of the image; for the 1st eighty-five mins the viewers watched as those characters "wore nice outfits, sat on nice furnishings, enjoyed undesirable males, had plenty of intercourse, informed the realm off for limiting them, even gave their youngsters away." Basinger examines dozens of movies -- no matter if melodrama, screwball comedy, musical, movie noir, western, or biopic -- to make a persuasive case that the woman's movie was once a wealthy, advanced, and subversive style that famous and addressed, if covertly, the issues of girls.

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Both widows choose to defy society, embarking on love affairs with what their group would consider inappropriate men. Stanwyck becomes involved with a military man (George Brent) whose morals are no better than they should be. He is not really interested in marriage, but would enjoy having a mutually satisfying sex relationship with Stanwyck, and he makes his intentions clear. Wyman falls in love with her gardener (Rock Hudson), a man who is not only younger than she is, but who clearly is not on her social level.

Well, a partner, who knows what her husband does and what he thinks . . " She educates him to be a better man, one who can appreciate a fine woman such as herself. In both films, the heroine is told by another woman, "You're showing no courage. " Whereas Loretta Young and Katharine Hepburn had to go on because it was wartime and events required women to set Page 35 aside feminine concerns, Irene Dunne and Greer Garson are forced to go on because they are women who have no other choice in life.

Two women who defy conventional roles are Barbara Stanwyck in My Reputation (1946) and Jane Wyman in All That Heaven Allows (1955). Both are young widows who are encouraged to accept lives of quiet boredom, belonging to women's clubs or perhaps remarrying dull, acceptable suitors. Both are also encouraged to live for their children, only to discover that the children have their own lives, their own friends. Both live in wealthy homes and are surrounded by a country club social set; but with no real role to play in life, they feel alone and alienated.

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