A Woman's View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women, 1930-1960

Jeanine Basinger, Author Knopf Publishing Group $32.5 (528p) ISBN 978-0-394-56351-0
Full of sharp and entertaining insights, this exhaustive study analyzes dozens of ``women's films''-- The Man I Love , My Reputation , Women's Prison , etc.--which presented the contradiction of covert liberation and overt support for women's traditional roles. Basinger, chair of the Film Studies Program at Wesleyan Univeristy, mostly avoids citing interviews and fan magazines, relying instead on her own perceptions. She offers clever epigrams--the constrained choices of the woman's world are a ``Board Game of Life''--as she explores issues including men, marriage, motherhood and fashion. The film Jezebel , the author suggests, deserved a subtitle: ``How Society Forces Bette Davis to Conform by Making Her Change Her Dress.'' Basinger's gimlet eye generates several schema, from the basic rules of film behavior to the four kinds of mothers. And while observations like one that finds similarities between women in prisons and in department stores are amusing, they also hit home. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 542 pages - 978-0-8195-6291-3
Open Ebook - 422 pages - 978-0-307-83154-5
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