In Laura Mulvey’s “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, she presents a number of very interesting facts regarding the ways that the sexual imagery of men and women respectively are used in the world of film. One such fact is that of the man as the looker and the female as the looked upon, she argues that the woman is always the object of reifying gaze, not the bearer if it. And “[t]he determining male gaze projects its fantasy onto the female figure, which is styled accordingly. In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to be connote to-be-looked-at-ness” (487). Mulvey makes the claim that women are presented and primped into this role of “to-be-looked-at-ness”. They are put into films for this purpose and for very little other purposes. However, this argument cannot be incorporated with The Treasure of the Sierra Madre; the existence of women in the film is extremely insignificant to an extent that could be considered absent. “In a world ordered by sexual imbalance,” male serves as the dominant figures with which the viewer can identify, women only appear in the film for a very short moment of time. For instance, the appearance of women is only shown when Howard rescues the ill child in the village and his return to the village for hospitality reception...
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...ulvey is saying that the role that the woman plays to the cast of male characters and the audience itself, not only does the woman present an erotic image to the characters in the film, but her other function is to do the same to the audience. The concept is the same when woman is substituted with gold. The gold does not only serve as the desire for the trio, but also becomes the audience’s desire as well.
If the traditional Hollywood cinema films use women as the desire for male characters, and utilize women as the visual pleasure for audience as argued by Mulvey; The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is therefore considered as a type of non-traditional, disruptive narrative. The film lacks of the masculine gaze between men and women, instead, this masculine gaze is upon male characters’ desire for gold. Gold is the substitution for male’s desire for women in the film.
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