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Because all us men are pigs. Why aren't you in the kitchen?
Maybe the topic should be posed as 'Hollywood Pre-Feminist Films That Suggest A Coming Movement For Their Daughters In The Years To Come Even If Our Stars Of The 40's End Up As Kitchen Lackeys In The Final Reel'?
Frederica wrote:antoniod wrote:Hasen't anyone noticed that in pre-code films the women usually give up their career at the end? I think MIck LaSalle was really misleading on that topic.
Jeanine Basinger discusses this issue more fully in her book on women's films, which does include discussion of some precodes. Yes, those annoying endings confirm the traditionalist view in that the female characters usually fold and learn to love mopping floors. But they are subversive in that before the fold, the male characters are pushed to the sidelines and the female leads indulge in a lot of transgressive behavior, usually with really swell fashion thrown in.
augustinius wrote:Jeanine Basinger discusses this issue more fully in her book on women's films, which does include discussion of some precodes. Yes, those annoying endings confirm the traditionalist view in that the female characters usually fold and learn to love mopping floors. But they are subversive in that before the fold, the male characters are pushed to the sidelines and the female leads indulge in a lot of transgressive behavior, usually with really swell fashion thrown in.
The one I was thinking of in this regard is Female with Ruth Chatterton. They have the cliched ending of returning to domesticity but before then, it's about as feminist as 30s Hollywood ever got.
Also another resolution to the feminist approach in pre Code days was death. Think of Christopher Strong with Katharine Hepburn. She plays a strong character but the character both achieves her peak achievement and her death with one action, in response to her relationship with a man. Actually, Hepburn in the 30s is an interesting figure on this topic. Lots of nontraditional roles for her.
augustinius wrote:And what about His Girl Friday? Here's a film that has the man interested in the girl not only for her as a romantic interest, but also for what she can do for a career. He wants her for her skills as a reporter. And it not only states this, it shows her at work -- comfortable among the boys, she proves exactly why Cary Grant wants her on his staff. And it shows her rejecting a domestic relationship with Ralph Bellamy in favor of going back to work for Grant at the end.
Now there's an interesting question. In Hecht's play, Hildy Johnson was a man. So would that change qualify as a feminist non-feminist? Can we get a ruling from the judges?
greta de groat wrote:Since we threw a few 30s films into the mix, how about the 20s? To my mind there is no pre-70s feminist film as strong as The Home Maker (1925) with Alice Joyce and Clive Brook as a miserable couple who find happiness when they trade jobs after he is disabled.
Feminist opinion runs both ways on Smouldering Fires (1925), but i find it ultimately pro--Pauline Frederick as the corporate exec in love with a younger employee at least takes charge of the situation and emerges with her dignity intact. A lesser known Pauline Frederick film is the delightful Her Honor the Governor (1926) though i admit i don't know the contents of the intertitles because they were Swedish. I think she even got to keep her man in this, even if it was just Tom Santschi. And don't forget Dancing Mothers (1926). Black Oxen (1924) also has a powerful and intelligent woman, or at least so the intertitles tell us--i didn't find it really carried out in the performances.
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