While watching several West Wing episodes again recently, it struck me once more. Remember when President Bartlet’s daughter, Zoe, had the French boyfriend? Jean-Paul?
He resembled Rafael Nadal. He was obnoxious, filthy rich, snobbish, aristocratic, and did drugs. He was, frankly, a stereotypical upper-class French, early 20s, horror.
That led me to recall this:
Last weekend, I searched British TV in vain for a Humphrey Bogart film. I was simply in the mood, and was depressed when I couldn’t find one. Naturally, I informed (as one does nowadays) everyone on the planet who happened to be reading Twitter.
It is in the public domain, so you may watch it guilt free. Bogart’s production company held the copyright, but allowed it to lapse. It’s his only film that’s outside copyright.
We’re informed – men, especially – “society” is truly terrified of “this” woman:
And why? Because, we’re also informed, we never see her. Other women dominate the silver screen:
….You know exactly what sort of leading lady I’m talking about: the damaged damsel in distress who’s tragically tethered to the tree of danger, and is patiently awaiting a sweepingly powerful (masculine) energy to find her in the thick of the forest, cut the ropes with his bare hands, rescue her and wrap up her tiny body in his big, burly arms.
OR it’s the doe-eyed, heartbreakingly self-destructive waif who hates herself with a fervent relentlessness and we watch, teary-eyed, as she spirals into the harrowing vortex of addiction and self-abuse — until the earth shattering moment an authoritative male figure magically appears in her life, by absolute happenstance, and an instant falls in love with her and peels her off the ground, saving her from the cell of herself….
As one who creates and writes many women characters, that assertion made me sit up and take notice. It’s certainly not unreasonable on some levels. But it’s also a massive over-generalization.
Think about it: Are nearly ALL women characters really portrayed only one of those two ways on screen?
Somehow I found myself in an argument over the phone on Wednesday evening with a member of the family in the States with whom I’ve argued vehemently quite a few times before. I had thought we’d by now put that sort of behavior behind us. Apparently, though, I’d “triggered” something in that individual and all hell broke loose from that side of the Atlantic.
The phone was slammed down on me. I can’t go into why and I really shouldn’t anyway. Suffice it to say we have all probably had something like that happen in our lives at some point or another.
Something of a lighthearted post. We have fun here as well. I don’t like always taking matters sooooo seriously. ;-)
Over the last few days, I’ve been writing several new characters. When you read novels, do you picture characters’ looks in your mind? I suspect most of us do; it’s a natural reflex.
As odd as this might read, I work hard at not describing my characters physical appearances in heavy handed doses. I prefer to drop their looks in throughout the text in piecemeal fashion. I use blurbs.
The other day I happened to see an Inside the Actors Studio interview with Brad Pitt. Unsurprisingly George Clooney’s name came up. Hearing it led me into thinking about Clooney’s rise to stardom.
You’ve probably seen the post title already. Stay with me, please. This will all make much better, uh, “sense” (and sensibility?) as you scroll down.
The other day, I’d been writing a scene where a vague (or, if you know it, not so vague) reference is made to a landmark 1941 “private eye” film. That I’d had been doing that is a large part of the reason the actor who’d starred in it was in my mind as I’d also written the other day about Kate Colby’s post. Yes, the jumble that often constitutes our human “thought processes.”
This morning I decided I’d have a quick look at YouTube to see what’s on there of that film. I couldn’t believe it. I found this gem: that Maltese Falcon film, cut to exactly 7 minutes’ length: