Women in Film as Portrayed in the Movie, Double Indemnity

analytical Essay
1123 words
1123 words

Women in Film as Portrayed in the Movie, Double Indemnity


American commercial cinema currently fuels many aspects of society. In the twenty-first century it has become available, active force in the perception of gender relations in the United States. In the earlier part of this century filmmakers, as well as the public, did not necessarily view the female“media image” as an infrastructure of sex inequality. Today, contemporary audiences and critics have become preoccupied with the role the cinema plays in shaping social values, institutions, and attitudes. American cinema has become narrowly focused on images of violent women, female sexuality, the portrayal of the “weaker sex” and subversively portraying women negatively in film. “Double Indemnity can be read in two ways. It is either a misogynist film about a terrifying, destroying woman, or it is a film that liberates the female character from the restrictive and oppressed melodramatic situation that render her helpless” (Kolker 124). There are arguably two extreme portrayals of the character of Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity; neither one is an accurate or fare portrayal.

Despite the fact that the character of Phyllis as the “tough as nails” perpetual, intentional aggressor is a valid attempt to obliterate the image of women as the oppressed, one interpretation of this role is that she ultimately seems to misrepresent herself, and females in cinema, anyway. Janet Todd, author of Women and Film, states that, “Women do not exist in American film. Instead we find another creation, made by men, growing out of their ideological imperatives”(130). Though these “power girl”characters are strong examples of anything but submissive and sexual females,the...

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...xt of femininity on screen, we pay to see these women because they are truly lovely in every sense, “and to experience an inner radiance that may find its form in outward grace” (Entertainment Weekly 65).

Works Cited

Cowie, Elizabeth. Representing the Woman: Cinema and Psychoanalysis. Minneapolis, MN:

University of Minnesota Press, 1997.

Francke, Lizzie. Script Girls. London,England: British Film Institute, 1994

Haskell, Molly. From Reverence to Rape. Westford, Massachusetts: The Murray Printing


Kulik, Sheila F. Home page. 17 Feb. 2000

Rosenberg, Jan. “Feminism into Film.” Diss. Empire State College, 1977

Sova, Dawn B. Women in Hollywood. New York: International Publishing Corporation, 1998

Todd, Janet. Women and Film. Vol. 4. New York, NY: Holmes and Meier Publishers, 1988.


In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how american commercial cinema fuels many aspects of society, including the perception of gender relations in the united states.
  • Analyzes how the character of phyllis is a valid attempt to obliterate the image of women as the oppressed.
  • Analyzes how double indemnity highlights a played-out submissive, weak, abused or lonely and alienated image of phyllis.
  • Argues that phyllis dietrichson in double indemnity is confusing in their attempt to leave viewers with a fare impression of the way women are perceived in the movies.
  • Describes todd, janet, and meier's women and film.
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