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Lecture 7 america's sweetheart

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  • \n
  • false - her mother was her manager.\ntrue\nshe sold bonds\nthey didn’t like it\nhome for her and Douglas Fairbanks\n\n\n
  • Griffith’s Birth of a Nation - raped by a black man; Broken Blossoms - Cheng Huan Buddhist missionary - saves Lillian from her drunken father who regularly beats her. She is the suffering, virtuous heroine in need of saving - often at the hands of dangerous men.\n
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  • Like Henry Walthal - he was oppressed by the thought of work.\nHe is the “son” of Victorian parents - he ought to have the same work ethic, but work does not hold the same sense of satisfaction. (How is this resolved in THE AVENGING CONSCIENCE? a benevolent parent and turns out girl is more virtuous than originally thought)\nInstead - consumption is where he finds his greatest fulfillment. He’s not supposed to. Repeatedly, his character resolves this by.\n
  • Like Henry Walthal - he was oppressed by the thought of work.\nHe is the “son” of Victorian parents - he ought to have the same work ethic, but work does not hold the same sense of satisfaction. (How is this resolved in THE AVENGING CONSCIENCE? a benevolent parent and turns out girl is more virtuous than originally thought)\nInstead - consumption is where he finds his greatest fulfillment. He’s not supposed to. Repeatedly, his character resolves this by.\n
  • - now had the added benefit of physical reward.\n
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  • Fairbanks brought a youthful message.\nWhat would the female counterpart to this be?\n
  • shopgirls, secretaries, teachers\n
  • The history of serials starts in 1912 when McClure's Ladies World magazine devised a new strategy for building circulation: Each issue of the publication would feature a story about a continuing main character and a motion picture would show her exploits. \n
  • Almost immediately – film picked up on serials.\nAdrift from conventional family\nPerils of Pauline – Pauline’s guardian dies in the first episode\nThe Adventures of Kathlyn – her father is kidnapped\nNotably – it’s from patriarchal protection that all three heroines are tragically and prematurely separated from\n
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  • Instead of dreaming of doing something on their own – dreamed of being connected to someone powerful. Provided rich fantasy terrain for viewers. Could re-define themselves – always within the context of a new and different family or marriage partner\n
  • Despite their initial break from home life, heroine’s lives are inevitably circumscribed by familial ties in the end. While they may postpone marriage – it is always the final goal.\n
  • In reality, some of these women were quite powerful. Pearl White directed episodes and wrote matertial for herself.\n
  • Pearl White (Perils of Pauline and Exploits of Eloise)\n
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  • Women no longer want to be placed on pedestals\n
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  • Both Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford had a background in legitimate stage – which added legitimacy to their celebrity status. \nMary - is a good girl - surprisingly conservative\n
  • Born in 1893 in Toronto, Canada to an alcoholic father, who managed a small grocery market. Mother/grandmother - Irish catholic, very strict. But, mother put her on stage at the age of 7. Had ambitions to join David Belasco - famous Broadway director. But, even by 1909, you could make more money in movies.\n
  • Victorian traditional female - poor peasant girl whose love redeems a young man from his wasted life - turns out she’s actually long lost child of a noble family. Griffith’s actors weren’t named in credits, but the audience noticed her and started referring to her as “the girl with the curls”.\n
  • 1913 - returned to stage\neventually turned into a film. Here that Adolph Zukor who had been pilfering Broadway stars to bring him into his company, picked Mary Pickford\n
  • Tess is a rebellious, independent, energetic Cumberland mountain girl who we first see dancing a jig. Tess raises the illegitimate daughter of a friend who is in dire straights. Is not supported by church or community - don’t know her good deed. She is plucky and forthright. When the church elder refuses to baptize Tess’ baby, she sprinkles the infant herself. Leads the farmers - ala Norma Rae. Finally vindicated.\n
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  • Unlike the moralizing of Griffith, Pickford specifically tried to avoid pounding home a moral. Her goal was to entertain. Plucky, buoyant, mobile, could cross boundaries of ethnicity and gender\n
  • Half the stars appeal lay in her ability to confront the major social problems of the day and resolve them on the personal level. Often overcoming prejudices against women, social class, and issues involving the disadvantaged worker, especially children. The Eternal Grind - abuse of workers (women and children). Tess and the Storm Country - helped organize farmers/tradesmen against an oppressive sheriff (and church elder) \n
  • WWI traveled extensively to sell liberty bonds. Army named two canons after her and made her an honorary “colonel”. At the end of World War I, Pickford conceived of the Motion Picture Relief Fund, an organization to help financially needy actors.\n
  • always chaperoned by her mother\n
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  • In Little Peppina and Less Than the Dust - American girl snatched from Victorian home by foreigners. THis gives her an excuse for taking on a different perwonality without guilt. Growing up with gypsies, Italians, Hindus, or Indians, she learns to wear their exotic clothes, assume a swarthy complexion, and participate in public festivals with both men and women.\n
  • Mary as an Irish, Japanese or Dutch girl who mingles in saloons, dances in New York or embodies exotic qualities of an Asian or European female, complete with bright clothes and a sensual personality.\n
  • Hearts Adrift - lone survivor on a deserted island when family’s ocean liner crashes. She learns to fish and build a hut. A gentleman also gets shipwrecked. She nurses him back to life. They “get married”. Then his fiance finds him. Come to rescue him. She can’t bring herself to leave the island - throws herself into a volcanoe - price she must pay for confronting traditional model of sexuality and society.\n
  • People who had grown up with Victorian values were unwilling to use the quest for sexual mutuality as a means for questioning the economy or the class order. So, instead of integrating these forces into a mature identity, they isolate their rebellious impulses into realm of pre-adult responsibility.\n\nRepeatedly, Pickford was the joyous, spontaneous female who brought into her personality that which Victorians had repressed - the playfulness of childhood and adolescent blossoming. - radiant image of girlish beauty - played 16 and 17 year olds well into her late 20s. If she showed more of her body than past stars - it was okay because it was young and innocent.\n
  • ultimate goal was still marriage. \n
  • mother did alot of her negotiating.\n
  • with director maurice Tournier\n
  • easy to see why she and Douglas Fairbanks got along so well. Her beauty and exercise regimen was widely publicized.\n
  • Another vehicle for the blending of production and consumption ethic. She was such a hard and virtuous worker - but an equal advocate for defining oneself through purchases\n
  • So associated with youth - when her mother died, she cut off her hair. Total public outcry. They didn’t want to see her age. But, couldn’t buy her as young woman anymore. Popularity died out.\n
  • marriage to Douglas Fairbanks - safe exploration of sexuality\nPickfair\n
  • She is religious, young and abused\nneed money - and lots of it - male still needed to protect and provide - more on her own terms\n
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  • Norma Talmadge - classic exa\n
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  • Transcript

    • 1. america’s sweetheart
    • 2. america’s sweetheart1.True or False. Mary Pickford went into movie acting against the support and advice of her family.2.True or False. Mary Pickford’s films addressed social causes of the day.3.What was Mary Pickford’s involvement in WWI?4.What was the public’s reaction to Mary when she cut her hair?5.What was “Pickfair”?
    • 3. lillian gish
    • 4. broken blossomsWhat emotional responses do you have either for or against thefilm?In what ways was the story paradoxical or ironic?Describe the various relationships between men with men men with women women with womenIs this film worth seeing now? What truths still translate?What does this movie have to say about evil in the world? Whatare the ways people are good and bad?What are Lucy’s options?How is “the other” treated?
    • 5. TWO CENTRAL PROBLEMS
    • 6. TWO CENTRAL PROBLEMSOne is his boredom atwork.
    • 7. TWO CENTRAL PROBLEMSOne is his boredom atwork.Two is the allure ofleisure.
    • 8. SPORTmore than mere playcompetition served as agreat levelergave purpose to oldvirtues that had appearedobsolete now yielded physical rewards
    • 9. “Fairbanks is a faun who hasbeen to Sunday School. Hehas a pagan body which yieldsinstantly to any gypsy orheathen impulse...but he has amind reliably furnished witha full set of morals andproprieties; he would be asympathetic companion foranybody’s aunt.” Booth Tarkington, contemporary dramatist
    • 10. discontent with work and loss of power can be alleviated through consumption
    • 11. working girls/serial queens Serial queen appeared on and off the screen as healthy, robust, and self- reliant, unlike the “sickly women” of the past. They roamed far and wide unchaperoned...breaking into new activities
    • 12. Cut adrift fromconventional family
    • 13. still lockedinto victoriangentility. very modest dress
    • 14. New revelations ofimpressive lineage or wealth
    • 15. Always end in marriageSaved by suitor after she gets herself into trouble
    • 16. pearl white (writer/producer “perils of pauline”“Nearly all scenario-writers or authors for film are men; and men usually won’t provide for a girl things to dothat they wouldn’t do themselves. So if I want really thrilly action, I ask permission to write it in myself.”
    • 17. “All over the world Pearl White’s name has become a synonym for courage and daring…to her, leaps over cliffs, and dives off decks of ocean liners, are as prosaic and uneventful as her morning grapefruit.” American Magazine
    • 18. “At home the moving picture star, who will dareanything to make her last picture the greatest, reads and plays and cooks and eats and primps like any other girl.” Motion Picture Classic
    • 19. “We don’t want to be marble; besides there would not be enoughpedestals to go around,anyway…Why not give our men the samecomradeship that many of them never findoutside of their clubs?” Response to the New York State Federation of Women’s Clubs objection to women as “pals”
    • 20. mary pickford“luminous tenderness in a steelband of gutter ferocity” Photoplay Magazine
    • 21. Gladys Smith/Mary pickford America’s sweetheart
    • 22. w/ DW Griffith @ Biograph 1909-1912 Lena and the Geese
    • 23. 1913 w/Broadway great David Belascoat the time, Belasco was better known and respected than griffith
    • 24. w/Adolph zukor @ lasky’s famous players/1914-1918 Tess of the Storm Country
    • 25. United Artists/1918
    • 26. “I always tried to getlaughter into my pictures.Make them laugh and makethem cry and back tolaughter. What do peoplego to the theater for? Anemotional exercise, and nopreachments. I don’tbelieve in taking advantageof someone who comes tothe theatre by teachingthem a lesson. It’s not myprerogative to teachanything.” Mary Pickford
    • 27. virtue and vitality on screenchampioned thereforms of theProgressivemovement
    • 28. virtue and vitality off screenused celebritystatus as an activist with Pres. Herbert Hoover extensive commitment to sell liberty bonds Motion Picture Relief Fund
    • 29. virtue and vitality off screenAlwayschaperoned byher mother,Charlotte
    • 30. virtue and vitality on screenexpanded the perimeters ofrespectable female behavior farbeyond 19th century standards.
    • 31. virtue and vitality on screenexpanded the perimeters ofrespectable female behavior farbeyond 19th century standards. the kidnap
    • 32. virtue and vitality on screenexpanded the perimeters ofrespectable female behavior farbeyond 19th century standards. the kidnap cast as foreigner
    • 33. virtue and vitality on screenexpanded the perimeters ofrespectable female behavior farbeyond 19th century standards. the kidnap cast as foreigner primitive
    • 34. virtue and vitality on screenexpanded the perimeters of respectablefemale behavior far beyond 19th centurystandards. the kidnap cast as foreigner primitive youth playful
    • 35. virtue and vitality on screenexpanded the perimeters of respectablefemale behavior far beyond 19th centurystandards. the kidnap cast as foreigner primitive youth playful subordinate
    • 36. virtue and vitality off screenastute businesswoman 1909 started at Biograph at $10/day 1914 started at Famous Players @ $500/wk by 1916 was earning $10,000/ wk plus %50 of film profits. also choose stories, director and cast by 1918, she partnered with Griffith, Fairbanks, and Chaplin to form United Artists
    • 37. virtue and vitality off screenyouth “We are our own sculptors. Who can deny that passion and unkind thoughts show on the lines and expressions of our faces...young people seldom have these vices until they start getting old, so I love to be with them. The impulses of youth are natural and good.” “No woman can be a success on the screen if she dissipates even one little bit.”
    • 38. marriage kept exploration of sexuality and freedom as awoman properly held in check and created additional avenues for consumption
    • 39. sparrowsCompare/contrast Mr. Grimes and BattlingBurrows.Why does Grimes have a limp?How do Lucy and Molly deal with theirproblems?Mary consistently defies the men in her life -why is this defiance tolerated?Name the ways in which Mary uses her head.How is Mary’s sexuality contained in thisfilm? Or, how did her character still upholdVictorian values?What is the significance of the film’s ending?
    • 40. working girl“Our serial queen meetsmore celebrities every weekthan her small-town sisters.Her gowns are perfectvisions of delight. THe storyof her adventures in NewYork is a narrative al all thejoys of refined, metropolitanexistence.”pg 108 - Lary May
    • 41. Women are my greatest fans becausethey se in my vampire theimpersonal vengeance of all theirunavenged wrongs..they havelacked either the courage or willpower to redress their grievances.Even downtrodden wives write meto this effect. And they give me thegreatest compliment: “I know Ishould sympathize with the wife,butI do not.” I am in effect a feminste.” Theda Bara
    • 42. amnesiain searching for some way tograft thi aulity ontootherwise “good women,”filmmakers in this earlytransition period from1912-1914 used the device ofamnesia. The heroine losesher memory and particiatesin forbidden activities freefrom responsibility.
    • 43. a fool there was - 1914 sex could destroy the social order (Lary May - pag 106)
    • 44. theda barapopular 1914-1916Unlike the blond young virgins who came before, Bara wasvoluptuous and dark. Press releases protrayed this mysteriousbeauty as the daughter of a French nobleman and an Algerianprincess; but in reality she was Theodosia Goodman ofCincinnati, OH. Her exotic facade allowed the audience toidentify snsual evil with foreigners. Yet iw aws also clear thatshe represented the quest for excitement -- and the danger oftaking it too far -- facing bored and anxious urbanites.
    • 45. her freedom brings her in contact with a wider range of availablemales. She also attracts them with sexual allure r - raises the chance for an ensuing union based on something other than gentility.
    • 46. norma talmadge
    • 47. mary pickford