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Creating the Couple : Love, Marriage, and Hollywood Performance - Virginia Wright Wexman

Creating the Couple

Love, Marriage, and Hollywood Performance

Paperback Published: 21st June 1993
ISBN: 9780691015354
Number Of Pages: 336

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Who decides how, when, and where Americans fall in love and get married? Virginia Wexman's acute observations about movie stars and acting techniques show that Hollywood has often had the most powerful voice in demonstrating socially sanctioned ways of becoming a couple. Until now serious film critics have paid little attention to the impact of performance styles on American romance, and have often treated "patriarchy," "sexuality," and the "couple" as monolithic and unproblematic concepts. Wexman, however, shows how these notions have been periodically transformed in close association with the appearance, behavior, and persona of the stars of films such as "The Maltese Falcon," "The Big Sleep," "Way Down East," "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "Sunset Boulevard," "On the Waterfront," "Nashville," "House of Games," and "Do the Right Thing."

The author focuses first on the way in which traditional marriage norms relate to authorship (the Griffith-Gish collaboration) and genre (John Wayne and the Western). Looking at male and female stardom in terms of the development of "companionate marriage," she discusses the love goddess and the impact of method acting on Hollywood's ideals of maleness. Finally she considers the recent breakdown of the ideal of monogamous marriage in relation to Hollywood's experimentation with self-reflexive acting styles. "Creating the Couple" is must reading for film scholars and enthusiasts, and it will fascinate everyone interested in the changing relationships of men and women in modern culture.

Industry Reviews

"The pages are bursting with discussions of classics such as The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Sunset Boulevard, On the Waterfront and Nashville. The book explores not only the relationships between men and women in these movies but also the specific acting techniques of the stars and their lives off screen."--The Washington Times

Introduction: The Movies as Social Ritual
Romantic Love, Changing Marriage Norms, and Stars as Behavioral Modelsp. 3
Patriarchal Marriage and Traditional Gender Identities
Star and Auteur: The Griffith-Gish Collaboration and the Struggle over Patriarchal Marriagep. 39
Star and Genre: John Wayne, the Western, and the American Dream of the Family on the Landp. 67
Companionate Marriage and Changing Constructions of Gender and Sexuality
The Love Goddess: Contradictions in the Myth of Glamourp. 133
Masculinity in Crisis: Method Acting in Hollywoodp. 160
Epilogue: Beyond the Couple
The Destabilization of Gender Norms and Acting as Performancep. 183
Notesp. 221
Bibliographyp. 249
Indexp. 277
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691015354
ISBN-10: 069101535X
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 21st June 1993
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.95 x 16.05  x 2.85
Weight (kg): 0.48