onyxlynx: BxW F. Lang & T. von Harbou each reading. (Fritz Lang Thea von Harbou)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
I like watching people fall in love onscreen so much that I can suspend my disbelief in the contrived situations that occur only in the heightened world of romantic comedies. I have come to enjoy the moment when the male lead, say, slips and falls right on top of the expensive wedding cake. I actually feel robbed when the female lead’s dress doesn’t get torn open at a baseball game while the JumboTron camera is on her. I regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world operates according to different rules than my regular human world. For me, there is no difference between Ripley from “Alien” and any Katherine Heigl character. They are equally implausible.
--Mindy Kaling, The New Yorker.  

With list of "implausible" female staples of romantic comedy, some of which go all the way back to the silents, although she doesn't mention that (it is a humor piece, after all), several postdating the screwball comedy.  

I had not seen quite so much dominant narrative all in one place.
laughingrat: My Marxist-Feminist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard, with added unfortunate Beauty-2K compliance. (Marxist-Feminist Dialectic)
[personal profile] laughingrat
I've just popped "Desk Set" into the DVD player and before I hit "Play," I wanted to open up the floor to a question: what movies have you seen, if any, in which the male romantic lead really does love the heroine for her mind? Because sadly, "Desk Set" is the only movie I can think of along those lines.

Doesn't have to be old, doesn't have to be good, romance doesn't have to be the focus of the plot. I'd just love to hear about more movies where the guy loves the woman for herself and really respects her.

I hope there are more out there than I think! :)
onyxlynx: Winged Duesenberg hood ornament (1920)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 I got into '30s movies by happenstance; there was a glut of ghosted autobiographies of that era's stars, the magazines Modern Screen and Photoplay on rainy afternoons, and a paperback copy of the life of Louis B. Mayer.  (I did not know then the autobiographies were ghostwritten.)  I became fascinated by the rich descriptions of these movies, and when I could, I sought them out on TV, although some, like Grand Hotel, were only shown at 3:00 AM.

(Sorry; I keep doing that.)

Eventually I noticed that the films of the Depression had, er, problems.  There was the relegation of actors of color to servant roles.  There was a certain amount of handwaving around class.  There was the way women's roles were contorted into specific shapes.  (Other issues exist, but this is not a term paper.)

OK.  The Women.  Certain things were dictated by the 1934 Production Code; a number of movies have their characters divorce, but the divorce disappears when the original characters get back together, or find themselves in court the day the decree is supposed to go into effect.  Similarly, Joan Crawford's character's parting shot is occasioned by the inability to say 'bitch' on screen.

Where was I?  Oh, right.  The Women is fast-paced in the manner of classic screwball comedy; actually the slower portions meant to show emotion are pretty snappy.  The sound was slightly muddy, which meant that when the lines were layered over each other, they were unintelligible.  There's a fashion show in the middle (because in a movie about women, there must be fashion), in color, with some items that would still look good now, and some that  would require a funeral pyre to destroy even the memories of ugly.  

Then there's the ending.

Which we can spoil now.

A choir?  As she runs to meet offstage Steven?  And the look on her face...

By the way, even though there are no men appearing on-screen, this movie would still fail the Bechdel test.

Links laid on in the morning; also, slightly edited for clarity because I know better than to write at 1 am...

laughingrat: They took the ferry (Death)
[personal profile] laughingrat
So a friend of mine is watching "How to Marry a Millionaire," and is waffling between amused and horrified (landing finally on "amused," by choice, but it was a close thing). I told her that "Desk Set" is a great classic movie that she could watch as an antidote to "How to Marry a Millionaire," if she wanted one. I'm sure there's more awesome feisty-lady classic movies out there that I'm just not remembering. Any suggestions?

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