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Contesting Tears: The Hollywood Melodrama of…

Contesting Tears: The Hollywood Melodrama of the Unknown Woman

by Stanley Cavell

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0226098168, Paperback)

What do the movie masterpieces Gaslight, Stella Dallas, Now, Voyager, and Letter from an Unknown Woman have in common? Stanley Cavell, Harvard professor and film lover, believes they make up a small genre: the Hollywood melodrama of the unknown woman. In this sequel to his book Pursuits of Happiness, Cavell argues that these darkly beautiful films respond to issues raised in such comedies of remarriage as The Philadelphia Story, Adam's Rib, and The Awful Truth. The author's prose is sometimes challenging, but he remains one of the most interesting critics of film genre and classic Hollywood. One would be hard-pressed to find an author who writes about individual films with his kind of rigor, or who connects the various issues they raise to so many different philosophies of mind and art. The section in which Cavell refutes the academic commonplace that the camera offers viewers only the male gaze is particularly well done. In it, Cavell lists sequence after sequence in classic Hollywood films in which audiences are invited to look through the eyes--and the desires--of women. --Raphael Shargel

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:30 -0400)

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