Introduction to Hollywood Cinema: Race, Nation, and The Searchers<br />Prof. Julia Leyda<br />September 8, 2010<br />
quiz<br />Describe the conflict between the characters of Ethan Edwards and Martin Pawley in The Searchers.<br />(10 minut...
ideology<br />system of shared beliefs and assumptions taken for granted as true and acceptable<br />conveyed through spee...
dominant ideologies in the US<br />white capitalist patriarchy<br />white: European Americans have higher status and privi...
hegemony<br />ongoing struggle to maintain people’s consent to a system that governs them<br />patriarchal ideology has ch...
representation<br />process of presenting an image of something in order to communicate ideas or tell a story<br />represe...
Hollywood cinema and ideology<br />commercial aesthetic: produce pleasure people will pay for<br />mass appeal means Holly...
myth and national identity<br />Hollywood shows Americans what they want to believe about themselves<br />Hollywood movies...
the Western<br />called the quintessential American genre<br />historical settings, heroic figures, embodiment of American...
genre conventions<br />movies in the same genre share similar stories, themes, and techniques<br />Westerns often have sim...
iconography<br />symbolic visual images that mean the same thing in more than one movie<br />Western iconography: <br />st...
The Searchers (1956)<br />ideology of white supremacy<br />hegemonic negotiations of 1868<br />hegemonic negotiations of 1...
ideology of white supremacy<br />hegemonic negotiations of 1868<br />Civil War ended 1865; abolition of slavery and backla...
ideology of American nationalism<br />militarism and war in 1868<br />frontier and Manifest Destiny<br />image of encircle...
ideology of American nationalism<br />militarism and the Cold War in 1956<br />Soviet nuclear threat<br />“containment”<br...
ideology of domesticity<br />gender roles at home<br />women as mother and wife: defined by relation to father or husband<...
ideology of domesticity<br />symbolism of home<br />family as microcosm of nation<br />place where white society lives and...
hegemonic negotiation in The Searchers<br />focalization: through which character is the story told? how does that affect ...
discussion questions<br />The Searchers includes several shots of doorways, shot from a dark interior looking out towards ...
HC5. Race, Nation, and The Searchers
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HC5. Race, Nation, and The Searchers

  1. 1. Introduction to Hollywood Cinema: Race, Nation, and The Searchers<br />Prof. Julia Leyda<br />September 8, 2010<br />
  2. 2. quiz<br />Describe the conflict between the characters of Ethan Edwards and Martin Pawley in The Searchers.<br />(10 minutes)<br />
  3. 3. ideology<br />system of shared beliefs and assumptions taken for granted as true and acceptable<br />conveyed through speech, sound, image, and cultural texts<br />movies both reflect and influence ideologies in a given society<br />Hollywood mostly engages US ideologies<br />
  4. 4. dominant ideologies in the US<br />white capitalist patriarchy<br />white: European Americans have higher status and privilege than other groups, are seen as superior<br />capitalist: the American Dream = hard work leads to success, thus successful people deserve wealth; the poor are undeserving<br />patriarchy: society in which men are more powerful and important than women, including taboos on homosexuality and women’s independence<br />
  5. 5. hegemony<br />ongoing struggle to maintain people’s consent to a system that governs them<br />patriarchal ideology has changed over time, but still exists in negotiated forms<br />hegemonic negotiation: process of gradually changing (not eliminating) dominant ideologies<br />ex. racism, sexism still exist but not the same as before<br />
  6. 6. representation<br />process of presenting an image of something in order to communicate ideas or tell a story<br />representational systems: mediated systems we use to communicate with one another, including language, art, literature, movies, and the internet<br />always engage in ideologies of the society in which they are produced<br />often portray conflicts and struggles of hegemonic negotiation <br />
  7. 7. Hollywood cinema and ideology<br />commercial aesthetic: produce pleasure people will pay for<br />mass appeal means Hollywood can’t go too far from “mainstream” values<br />as representational systems, movies often portray dominant ideologies and hegemonic negotiations<br />often reduced to individual rather than collective scale<br />
  8. 8. myth and national identity<br />Hollywood shows Americans what they want to believe about themselves<br />Hollywood movies almost always—to some extent—portray American ideologies (sometimes challenged, sometimes not)<br />white supremacy<br />capitalism and the American Dream<br />patriarchy and male dominance<br />
  9. 9. the Western<br />called the quintessential American genre<br />historical settings, heroic figures, embodiment of American values (in addition to white capitalist patriarchy):<br />family loyalty vs. independence<br />frontier: civilization vs. wilderness<br />unique landscapes of North America<br />the reluctant hero and bravery in battle<br />
  10. 10. genre conventions<br />movies in the same genre share similar stories, themes, and techniques<br />Westerns often have similar…<br />stories: revenge, quest, combat, justice <br />themes: good vs. evil, strong vs. weak, wilderness vs. civilization<br />techniques: extreme long shots of landscapes, fast action chase scenes and gunfights<br />
  11. 11. iconography<br />symbolic visual images that mean the same thing in more than one movie<br />Western iconography: <br />stars like John Wayne<br />gun and ammo belt<br />hat, vest, boots<br />horses<br />desert or wilderness landscape<br />
  12. 12.
  13. 13. The Searchers (1956)<br />ideology of white supremacy<br />hegemonic negotiations of 1868<br />hegemonic negotiations of 1956<br />ideology of American nationalism<br />militarism and war in 1868<br />militarism and war in 1956<br />ideology of domesticity<br />gender roles at home<br />symbolism of home<br />
  14. 14. ideology of white supremacy<br />hegemonic negotiations of 1868<br />Civil War ended 1865; abolition of slavery and backlash, Reconstruction<br />Indian massacres and land appropriations<br />Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) <br />Confederate uniform and saber<br />Indian-fighter<br /><ul><li>defending whiteness from “other” races (African Americans, Native Americans) (Debbie clip)</li></li></ul><li>ideology of white supremacy<br />hegemonic negotiations of 1956<br />Brown v. Board of Education 1954 Supreme Court decision to desegregate public schools<br />opened March 1956, during 381-day Montgomery bus boycott<br />Martin Pawley, a mixed-race American embraced by a white American family (“halfbreed” clip)<br />Ethan’s rejection of Marty = white racist rejection of Civil Rights (represented as extreme)<br />Laurie: contradiction between love for Martin and rejection of Debbie<br />
  15. 15. ideology of American nationalism<br />militarism and war in 1868<br />frontier and Manifest Destiny<br />image of encirclement and self-defense reverses power relations<br />massacres and kidnappings<br />buffalo massacres<br />Ethan parallels Custer’s 7th Cavalry (buffalo clip)<br />
  16. 16. ideology of American nationalism<br />militarism and the Cold War in 1956<br />Soviet nuclear threat<br />“containment”<br />mutually assured destruction<br />family bomb shelters<br />anti-Communist witch hunts: McCarthyism (1954: 50% supported him)<br />
  17. 17. ideology of domesticity<br />gender roles at home<br />women as mother and wife: defined by relation to father or husband<br />frontier women’s strength and independence, but confined to the home<br />women as civilizing: social etiquette, religion<br />men as protectors of home, family, nation, race<br />men act both within the home and outside it<br />
  18. 18. ideology of domesticity<br />symbolism of home<br />family as microcosm of nation<br />place where white society lives and reproduces<br />safe but surrounded by threats (“encirclement” clip)<br />men like Ethan: can’t be tamed or domesticated, necessary as protection but remaining outside the family<br />
  19. 19. hegemonic negotiation in The Searchers<br />focalization: through which character is the story told? how does that affect us?<br />voiceover narration<br />camera POV (captivesclip)<br />identification: with which characters does the audience identify?<br />Martin or Ethan?<br />Lucy or Debbie?<br />
  20. 20. discussion questions<br />The Searchers includes several shots of doorways, shot from a dark interior looking out towards the bright outdoors. Why?<br />Discuss Martin’s “wife” Look—how is she portrayed? What is her character’s function?<br /> Why does Ethan leave the family home again at the end of the movie?<br />

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