16 November 2009

My dear Lady Distain...

My dear Lady Distain...

It seems that gender lingers on...

The issues that so bedevilled feminists when I was an adolescent
are still discussed today, but in veiled, mysterious ways.

Gender and the Femme Fatale seem set to stay.

I have to admit I remain at a loss.
I do not have a rhetorical language that allows for
extensive investigation into the subject.
For me, Noir remains a somewhat quaint genre,
full of shadows and echoes of the past.
The films that flitted across the somewhat uncontrasted TV screen
in our sitting room fifty years ago
reeked of smoke, hard liquor and even to my
childish eyes seemed a tad over the top.

The Maltese Falcon was incomprehensible to a person reared in
the best modern way. Taking other people's property
was simply beyond the pale...
crowding into a tight room to discuss the matter with
knuckle-dusters was, while marginally entertaining,
not in the slightest bit realistic.
Nobody in Meath in the 1950's behaved like that.

Ladies in Noir were forever getting snarled up in their
stockings. This image was engagingly mocked in
The Graduate
, years later.

Death by lingerie was not uncommon...

There's much more to come on this subject.
For the moment, the jury is out...


Blogger Granny J said...

Death by lingerie -- a lovely image, that! Of course, being of my age, I recall that gangster movies were all the rage at that time, as well.

11/16/2009 6:56 pm  
Blogger DaviMack said...

Funny, that: to me, watching the Maltese Falcon decades - indeed, half a century - after it was made, it makes perfect sense. It's ... American, perhaps in some indefinable way, but ... that's what you're missing, I think. ;)

11/17/2009 9:24 pm  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

Belated thanks for your comments.

The cold weather has caused a go-slow in writing here.

It's worth thinking more about the differences between gangster and thriller genre. I loved gangster movies with Edward G Robinson and characters where good and evil were clearly portrayed, so the American aspect of the stories never bothered me. Perhaps the amoral universe in "The Maltese Falcon" was part of the problem?

In fact, Peter Lorre seemed scarily "European" in that movie...

Much to think about.

11/23/2009 5:47 pm  

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