Hollywood gothic and the closed space of the home. Cover Image

Hollywoodzki gotyk i zamknięta przestrzeń ogniska domowego.
Hollywood gothic and the closed space of the home.

Author(s): Patrycja Włodek
Subject(s): Theatre, Dance, Performing Arts
Published by: Instytut Sztuki Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: 1940s; Hollywood; Gothic series of film noir; paranoid women’s movies; persecuted wife cycle; Hays Code; history of film.

Summary/Abstract: In the 1940s several dozen Hollywood films belonging to the Gothic series of film noir were made. The repetitive plots typically revolved around beautiful young women, usually right after the wedding, who are persecuted, tortured, and driven mad by their husbands. Even if the perpetrators were characters other than husbands (e.g. employers, relatives, close friends), the events in these films always took place in the confined space of the main heroine’s house, that is in a place where, by definition, she should feel safe. Not only because the house simply is associated with a sense of security, but also because – according to the conservative message coming from the Hollywood of those years – the house was simply the place in which women belonged, whilst realising their dreams and ambitions in a happy marriage. The Gothic series, also referred to by many other names such as “paranoid women’s movies” or “persecuted wife cycle”, shows how this closed space becomes an arena of marital nightmare, revealing a gap of subversion in a seemingly clear ideological transmission subjected to the dictates of the Hays Code.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 79
  • Page Range: 62-78
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: Polish
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