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Scholars Day 2008, Wednesday, April 9

Not Just Falcons, Dams, and Bricks: Changing Masculinity in American Noir

This paper explores the changing representation of masculinity in the 1940s, 1970s, and 2000s in film noir by analyzing “The Maltese Falcon” (1941), “Chinatown” (1974), and “Brick” (2005). Masculinity in these periods will be examined through the choices the heroes make using their moral code, their involvement with women, and their interaction with authority. The 1940s noir man presents control over his emotions and the situation as a key component to his masculinity, while the 1970s male is surrounded by a cynical world, where the line between good and evil has been blurred beyond recognition, allowing his curiosity to cloud his moral code. In a conservative turn, contemporary masculinity harkens back to the 1940s model rather than the cynical idea of 1970s manhood.

Presenter: Sarah Estee (Graduate Student)
Topic: Film Studies
Location: 204 Holmes
Time: 3 pm (Session IV)