Armed Forces: Masculinity and Sexuality in the American War Film

By Robert Eberwein | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
PARADIGMS IN THE
SILENT ERA

The short film Love and War (James H. White, 1899) described in the introduction establishes a number of narrative elements that will figure prominently in later war films: the hero's departure and triumphant return; the impact of the war on his family at the home front; battlefield courage and death; field hospitals and ministering nurses. These qualify as the kinds of “semantic units” Rick Altman identifies in his explanation of the foundations of genre. All of these enter into various syntactical patterns as the war film develops over time.1

Love, a major semantic unit of interest in this book, receives little narrative attention in the early film: a kiss before the hero departs for war and an embrace when he returns. But the word itself has primacy in the title, and the lovers in the foreground are the last image we see in the film. The scene thus anticipates the endings that will dominate classic Hollywood films of various genres that conclude with the union of heterosexual lovers in marriage (or the promise of it).2

The three war films to be examined in this chapter—The Big Parade (King Vidor, 1925), What Price Glory (Raoul Walsh, 1926), and Wings (William Wellman, 1927)— offer significant contrasts to the early work's simplicity and lack of complexity in the treatment of love. A central focus of all of them, love is inflected by war, rather than a separate thread, and is realized in two basic narrative paradigms. The first kind appears in The Big Parade, in which the romantic love between Jim Apperson (John Gilbert) and Melisande (Renée Adorée) is distinct from the equally moving depiction of camaraderie among Jim and his buddies Slim (Karl Dane) and Bull (Tim O'Brien). In contrast, What Price Glory interweaves the two threads, making the bond that exists between Sergeant Quirt (Edmund Lowe) and Captain Flagg (Victor McLaglen) a complication in their mutual love for Charmaine (Dolores Del Rio). Flesh and the Devil (Clarence Brown, 1927) appeared shortly after What Price Glory. Although it is not a war film, its principal male heroes are in the German military and are presented in a similar narrative

-16-

Notes for this page

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 ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Armed Forces: Masculinity and Sexuality in the American War Film
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction - Definitions 1
  • Chapter One - Paradigms in the Silent Era 16
  • Chapter Two - Beyond Triangles 33
  • Chapter Three - Disavowing Threats 53
  • Chapter Four - Wounds 72
  • Chapter Five - Drag 87
  • Chapter Six - “don't Ask, Don't Tell” 102
  • Chapter Seven - Bodies, Weapons 114
  • Chapter Eight - Fathers and Sons 137
  • Conclusion - Buddies, Then and Now 148
  • Notes 155
  • Selected Bibliography 181
  • Index 187
  • About the Author 197
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 197

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, 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." (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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.