The Road Movie Book

By Steven Cohan; Ina Rae Hark | Go to book overview

12

HOM E AND AWAY

Friends of Dorothy on the road in Oz

Pamela Robertson

In the cinema it is not uncommon to experience involuntary memory. It can happen that we are suddenly and unexpectedly seized, in the midst of the most seemingly mundane film, by an overwhelming sensation of sensuous reminiscence.

(Stern: 39)

The truth is that once we have left our childhood places and started to make up our lives, armed only with what we have and are, we understand that the real secret of the ruby slippers is not that “there's no place like home, ” but rather there is no longer any such place as home: except, of course, for the home we make, or the homes that are made for us, in Oz: which is anywhere, and everywhere, except for the place from which we began.

(Rushdie: 57)

If the road movie is in some deep sense about the road itself, and the journey taken, more than about any particular destination, it is still a genre obsessed with home. Typically, the road takes the traveler away from home. Sometimes, the road leads to a new home, as in frontier narratives or tales of emigration. As often, in various kinds of escape or travel narratives, the road just leads away - away from boredom, or danger, or family, or whatever it is that produces the desire or need for something called “away” as opposed to the place called “home.” While it provides an escape from and alternative to home, and home can be “anywhere, and everywhere” on the road (or, in another formulation, “anyplace I hang my hat”), the trope of the road still requires the concept of home as a structuring absence: Very often, as Corey Creekmur suggests elsewhere in this volume, from the perspective of the road, either “you can't go home again” or “there's no place like home.”

The Wizard of Oz (1939), of course, paradigmatically enacts the road movie's contradiction between the desire for home and away. In The Wizard of Oz the

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The Road Movie Book
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Plates ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Works Cited 14
  • Part I - Mapping Boundaries 15
  • 1 - “hitler Can't Keep 'Em That Long” 17
  • 2 - Western Meets Eastwood 45
  • 3 - Mad Love, Mobile Homes, and Dysfunctional Dicks 70
  • Notes 86
  • Works Cited 89
  • 4 - On the Run and on the Road 90
  • Works Cited 107
  • Part II - American Roads 111
  • 5 - Almost like Being at Home 113
  • 6 - Wanderlust and Wire Wheels 143
  • 7 - Exposing Intimacy in Russ Meyer's Motorpsycho! and Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! 165
  • 8 - The Road to Dystopia 179
  • Works Cited 202
  • 9 - Fear of Flying 204
  • Notes 227
  • Works Cited 228
  • Part III - Alternative Routes 231
  • 10 - The Nation, the Body, and the Autostrada 233
  • 11 - “we Don't Need to Know the Way Home” 249
  • 12 - Hom E and Away 271
  • 13 - Race on the Road 287
  • 14 - Revitalizing the Road Genre 307
  • 15 - My Own Private Idaho and the New Queer Road Movies 330
  • 16 - Disassociated Masculinities and Geographies of the Road 349
  • Index of Films 371
  • General Index 375
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