- http://www.hollywoodsgoldenage.com/- A list of classic movies from each year of the Golden Age
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=i2RxWs60dRM - The most famous scene of Gone With the Wind, when Rhett Butler, played by Clark Gable, says, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
-http://www.tumblr.com/blog/goldenagehollywood - The entire Golden Age of Hollywood Tumblr, including material not used in the installation
Isn’t She Lovely?
“She is isolated, glamorous, on display, sexualised.” - Laura Mulvey
Vivien Leigh is the star of 1939’s Gone With the Wind, playing Scarlett O’ Hara. Asserting my use of agency, she was chosen to represent women as the bearer of the Gaze, due to her beauty and her fascinating way of posing for pictures. In every picture found of her, she is looking away- avoiding the Gaze. She seems to be utilizing her power as the object petit a by not giving the satisfaction of returning their Gaze.
Lacan asserts that the Gaze is one of desire. Watching her most likely stirs jouissance in the viewer. It makes one wonder, does she feel the pleasure of being looked at, as it says she may in scophopilian ideals? Is she being a tease, shy, or disliking the attention?
I See You, Lacan
This photo seemed perfect, a still of Marilyn Monroe’s famous grate scene in The Seven Year Itch. Her co star is Gazing at her with admiration, just as those watching the film may be Gazing at her. It fits in perfectly with Mulvey’s assertion that male actors help the spectator feel as if they have control in the film by coinciding in their male look.
In the films of the Golden Age, spectators could fulfill their desire of the Other, the object petit a, though these films rarely involved nudity, just some implication of it. It is almost like voyeurism without guilt. They are engaging in what Mulvey would consider scopophilia.
In the photos of Marilyn Monroe, one can see the tease, the lifting of her skirt, the strings of the top of her dress loosed, but no actually nudity. Both, actually, have her co star staring at her with lust in his eyes, as aforementioned, emulating the Gaze of the viewer. Theda Bara poses as Cleopatra in 1917 in the next photo, of Grace Kelly and her co star with binoculars seemed like an obvious representation of the Gaze in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Mulvey uses Hitchcock films as prime examples of utilizing scopophilia, such the camera viewing through the eyes of the male actor in Vertigo. The remaining photos, from A Streetcar Named Desire, The Devil Is a Woman, a photo of Diana Miller from 1925, and a scene from Gone With the Wind, seemed like appropriate examples of the desired imaginary.
All of these movie posters are from the Golden Age, which seems to also be an era of quality advertising. Instead of the cold, artless stills used to make most movie posters of today, movie posters of the time seemed hand drawn and colored, making them accessible pieces of art.
What was striking was the lack of effort it took to find an attractive woman as the subject of the poster. Nearly every single one found had a woman, such as the one above in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. The caption given by the person who posted it on Tumblr was “Every man’s dream,” affirming that such movies are representations of what Mulvey would call a “phantasy.” The women were all attractive, playing in various roles- the victim, the heroine, the villain. As Mulvey says, “the presence of women is an indispensable element of spectacle in normal narrative film.”
Introduction- Click Picture of The General (1926) to enter the Wikipedia page.
The Golden Age of Hollywood was the time span between the late 1910s and early 1960s. Many of these movies were classics, and were the surviving entertainment despite the World Wars, when other extracurricular pleasures were sacrificed.
Most of these movies did not require a rating as we do today, for strong representations of sexuality and violence were no where near the amount in the movies of late. Cultural Studies theorist Laura Mulvey agrees that times have changed in cinema in her piece Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (1975). Despite the seeming innocence of the time’s films, there were still strong erotic tones.
These pictures were chosen to depict the beginnings of American film. Most of us already know the more recent classics, such as the Audrey Hepburn films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, when color had just been introduced.
The General was a classic silent film comedy from 1929. Charlie Chaplin, of the third picture in the slideshow, curled up on the sidewalk with a woman, did numerous silent comedies from 1914 to the mid 20s. When most think of silent comedy, his name pops up. Silent films, before picture and sound could be collaborated, used a pianist in the same theater. Text was configured with the corresponding picture above or below, or even after the scene had played out, seen in the second picture, a still from King of Kings.
The next photos are behind-the-scenes photos. The first is Alfred Hitchcock speaking to an actress during the filming of Vertigo in 1958. The photo of Marilyn Monroe on the staircase is during the filming of The Seven Year Itch in 1955, as are the last two photos. James Dean and Natalie Woods discuss a scene in their photo with their director for the 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause.
#Marilynettes ~ Oh no biggie, just blowing drying my hair out the window. ;)
[1954 The Seven Year Itch]