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Essay on Women’s Roles in Classical Hollywood Cinema

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Women’s roles in movies have changed dramatically throughout the years. As a result of the changing societal norms, women have experienced more transition in their roles than any other class. During the period of classical Hollywood cinema, both society and the film industry preached that women should be dependent on men and remain in home in order to guarantee stability in the community and the family. Women did not have predominated roles in movies such as being the heroin. The 1940’s film Gilda wasn’t an exception. In Gilda, the female character mainly had two different stereotypes. The female character was first stereotyped as a sex object and the second stereotyped as a scorned woman who has to be punished.
The film Gilda, combining a plethora of genres including drama, romance, thriller and film-noir revolves around a high profile, glamorous, controversial and sophisticated woman Gilda. The male character Johnny Farrell is a seasoned American gambler in Argentina who gets attacked by thugs for winning a large sum of money; but survives after being helped by a hero, Ballin Mundson. Ballin warns him about gambling with his own dice and informs him of a classy casino which is involved in illegal gambling. Before long, Johnny is put in charge of overseeing the casino’s operations and is responsible for the basic needs of his boss. Johnny later comes face to face with his former lover, Gilda, who is now Ballin new found love. Ballin soon gives him the job of looking after her, as she is too beautiful to be left in the casino alone. Johnny doesn't want the job but reluctantly agrees. The meeting of the former lovers triggers past memories but they are keen to play strangers and unleash their past frustrations beneath a veneer ...


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...es, in the eyes of the modern moviegoers, this position is no longer reasonable due to the strides already made by women in quest for equality. It is a reflection of how the past American society treated its women and draws to the traditional inclination of the Americans to achieve financial independence as seen in this post war film.



Works Cited

Doane, Mary Ann. Femmes Fatales: Feminism, Film Theory, Psychoanalysis. New York:
Routledge, 1991. Print.
Gilda. Dir. Charles Vidor. Perf. Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford. Columbia Pictures Corp., 1946.
Film.
Mulvey, Laura. Visual and Other Pleasures. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire [England:
Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Print.
Silverman, Kaja. The Subject of Semiotics. New York: Oxford UP, 1983. Print.
Tuska, Jon. Dark Cinema: American Film Noir in Cultural Perspective. Westport, CT:
Greenwood, 1984. Print.


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