Women, Employment, and the Socially Anxious World of Film Noir

Paper by Oscar Ramirez. Viewed on DVD.

The 1940s were fraught with events that lead to profound social upheaval. Before even reaching the midpoint of the decade, America had already experienced some of the most far reaching transitions in its history. The country entered the decade with the Great Depression still fresh in the memories of its citizens. Soon, the bombing of Pearl Harbor forced the United States to abandon its longstanding position of isolationism, and enter World War II. The war lead to a sharp increase in demand for both military supplies and military personnel. As men departed for distant battlefields, it became necessary for millions of women to enter the workforce to fill the vacant job positions that had suddenly become available. All of this occurred before 1942. The destabilizing effect of these events was not lost on Hollywood, and it was during this time that American cinema gave birth to one of its most expressionistic movements: film noir. The subtleties in this type of film-making were able to vividly capture the zeitgeist of the 40’s; the spirit of the era. Unsurprisingly, the spirit that was captured

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Man’s Fear Become Woman’s Fate

Paper by Clara Pavesi. Viewed on DVD.

The figure of the women in Hitchcock’s film is an over debated topic that has been often misunderstood among critics. The stereotypical male gaze, representing the patriarchy,has been argued to relegate the women to a position of instability and weakness, depicting them as object of seduction and erotic desire. Hitchcock has often been accused of violence and cruelty on his female characters, as influential part of the classical contemporary main hollywoodian trend. We don’t have to forget that between the 1930s and the 50s, in which most of the Hitchcockian movies were product, the entire word was paralyzed by the World War II and the Cold War later. In this atmosphere of fear and repression, the surrealistic word of the movies was the only way to escape the reality. This lead to an excess of amorality, sexuality and violence in the early 30s movies and ended up with the emission of the Product Code, that gave to the filmography an “industrial logic”(Lincoln 615).

In such an atmosphere of historical changes and innovation, it’s easy to understand why the label of “misogynist” it is

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