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Scholars Day 2008, Wednesday, April 9

Want Me to Bake Cookies or Seduce You?

This paper focuses on how motion pictures have represented women’s role in post-World War II America as either homemakers or femme fatales. Janey Place, author of “Women in Film Noir,” suggests that the femme fatale rises in postwar America and threatens American societal traditions and values, since she controls her own sexuality outside the standard female position, marriage, a fated and common role for women. “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), which follows the precedent set by “It Happened One Night” (1934) a decade earlier, shows a rebellious female protagonist who ultimately needs to be silenced by marriage. However, “Double Indemnity” (1944) and “Gun Crazy” (1950) depict female antagonists as manipulative and seductive criminals. These roles demonstrate that the threat women represented was either tamed or criminalized in postwar American culture.

Presenter: Andrea Rodriguez (Graduate Student)
Topic: Film Studies
Location: 204 Holmes
Time: 2:30 pm (Session IV)