OF MOVIES and MEN

By Michels, Robert G | Literature/Film Quarterly, October 1, 1980 | Go to article overview

OF MOVIES and MEN


Michels, Robert G, Literature/Film Quarterly


OF MOVIES and MEN Big Bad Wolves: Masculinity in the American Film by Joan Mellen. New York: Pantheon Books, 1977. 365 pp. $12.95.

To the small albeit growing list of basic discussions of motion pictures must now be added Joan Mellen's didactic analyses of Hollywood heroes. The message to be taught is that all along American movies have been teaching us a lesson, immediately enjoyable to be sure but eventually deleterious. For half a century a representation of males as strong-willed and resourceful has been presented on the screen. What the acceptance of this "image of men exercising raw authority" (p. 6) as an ideal self-image may have done to several generations of American men Mellen can only speculate. What it has done to potential richness in characterizations Mellen has detailed through a chronological sequence of plot narrations ever lethally precise and on occasion aphoristically trenchant. By combining revisionist film criticism with radical social criticism Mellen has managed to demolish a whole host of icons from Little Caesar to Dirty Harry. She has brought forward no substitutes, for the (matinee) idols were irreplaceable in our lives and irreconcilable with them.

In using a la Pauline Kael "Clark Gable," "John Wayne," "Humphrey Bogart," "James Dean," and "Clint Eastwood," likenesses of whom appear on the book's cover, to refer both to the actors and their roles Mellen has intimated that the focus of Hollywood movies, as audiences have understood and as auteur critics have yet to, usually has been its leads. Any search for similarities among films, then, also must focus at least in part upon the consequences of typecasting. At the same time Mellen's evaluations of such celebrated directors as Ford ("Stoicism in the face of adversity was taken for granted, and vulnerability before one's opponent was unthinkable" [p. 179] ) and Hawks ("It is clear what it takes to be a man: his deepest feelings must always be directed towards a male comrade" [p. 92] ) may serve to redefine interest from their mastery of material to the material of mastery that was their subject.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

OF MOVIES and MEN
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.