Between the Frames: Thinking about Movies

Heidi G. Dawidoff, Author Archon Books $0 (213p) ISBN 978-0-208-02238-7
Dawidoff, a Connecticut school teacher, makes reference to a great number of films in this book, but unfortunately does so to serve one basic--and narrow--assertion: that the best movies are ``life-affirming'' and depict relationships between strong, independent men and women. (For example, in Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage , the ``first marriage . . . was the setting for civilization. The couple kept house, worked hard, had children, and believed in fidelity.'') Ironically, however, in the examples cited, women nearly always play supportive roles. Lauding the secretary in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington , the author writes, ``Without her, there can be no success.'' Dawidoff's other hobbyhorses include forays against graphic sex, the new realism--``amputations, rapes, and toilets''--and feminist critics, whom she accuses of interpreting movies merely to suit their political biases. This is exactly what Dawidoff falls victim to as she distorts or misunderstands any number of masterworks. Few will agree, for example, that ``Hitchcock's misanthropy leads him to find amusement in his characters' weakness.'' (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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