Movie Romance As Social Criticism
In Unlikely Couples, Thomas E. Wartenberg directly challenges the view that narrative cinema inherently supports the dominant social interests by examining the way popular films about ?unlikely couples? (a mismatched romantic union viewed as inappropriate due to its class, racial, or gender composition) explore, expose, and criticize societal attitudes, boundaries, and prejudices. The films under consideration?including King Kong, Pygmalion, It Happened One Night, Pretty Woman, White Palace, Some Like it Hot, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Mississippi Masala, Jungle Fever, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Desert Hearts, and The Crying Game?are examined both individually and as a whole to illustrate how the genre uses the figure of a transgressive couple to explore tensions in genre's use of the figure of a transgressive couple to condemn social hierarchy as well as to raise a range of significant philosophical topics.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations, Filmography, Preface, Acknowledgments, The Subversive Potential of the Unlikely Couple Film, Destabilizing Hierarchy, King Kong’s Critique of "Civilization,", Outlining the Genre, Notes, Part 1 Class, Pygmalion: The Flower Girl and the Bachelor, Establishing Difference, Class as Obstacle, Transforming Eliza, The Ethics of Bachelorhood, The Problem of an Ending, Notes, It Happened One Night: An Education in Humility, A Brat and a Lout, Ellie's Brattiness, Peter the Know-It-All, Ellie's Education for Democracy, Men's Ways of Knowing It All, Conclusion, Notes, Pretty Woman: A Fairy Tale of Oedipalized Capitalism, Two Characters in Search of Salvation, From Flower Girl to Prostitute, "Cinderella'' as a Tale of Moral Rectification, Shopping Esprit, Oedipus in the Boardroom, A Happy Ending, Notes, White Palace: Dustbuster Epiphanies, An Overdetermined Unlikeliness, The Source of Connection, Nora as Marilyn, Overcoming Ambivalence, A Problematic Ending, Notes, Part 2 Race, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: Does Father Really Know Best?, Defending Liberalism and Integration, Privileging Romantic Love, Representing Racism, Naturalizing Integration, Conflicting Strategies, Notes, Jungle Fever: Souring on Forbidden Fruit, Being Black in White America, The Education of Flipper Purify, Angie's Story, Conclusion, Notes, Mississippi Masala: Love in a Postcolonial World, The Politics of Postcolonial Life, The Failure of Ethnicity, Two Communities, Two Responses, Romance in Solidarity, Two Reconciliations, Notes, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul: The Privileges of "Race", Creating the Couple, Exploring Racial Privilege, Love Versus Privilege, A Final Problem, Notes, Part 3 Sexual Orientation, Desert Hearts: Betting on Lesbian Love, "If You Don't Play, You Can't Win,", Disarming Homophobia, Representing Lesbian Love, The Problem of Class, Notes, The Crying Game: Loving in Ignorance, Destabilizing Sexuality, A Strategy of Deception, Destabilizing Difference, Unveiling Difference, Overcoming Difference, The Politics of Redemption, Notes, Movie Romance and the Critique of Hierarchy, Narrative Film and Social Criticism, Romance and Self-Development, Strategies of Critique, The Unlikely Couple Film as Mass Art, A Parting Word, Notes, Bibliography, Index
Thomas E. Wartenberg is professor of philosophy at Mount Holyoke College and was chair of the film program there from 1991-1999.