Echo and Narcissus: Women's Voices in Classical Hollywood Cinema
Do women in classical Hollywood cinema ever truly speak for themselves? In Echo and Narcissus, Amy Lawrence examines eight classic films to show how women's speech is repeatedly constructed as a "problem," an affront to male authority. This book expands feminist studies of the representation of women in film, enabling us to see individual films in new ways, and to ask new questions of other films.
Using Sadie Thompson (1928), Blackmail (1929), Rain (1932), The Spiral Staircase, Sorry,Wrong Number, Notorious, Sunset Boulevard (1950) and To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Lawrence illustrates how women's voices are positioned within narratives that require their submission to patriarchal roles and how their attempts to speak provoke increasingly severe repression. She also shows how women's natural ability to speak is interrupted, made difficult, or conditioned to a suffocating degree by sound technology itself. Telephones, phonographs, voice-overs, and dubbing are foregrounded, called upon to silence women and to restore the primacy of the image.
Unlike the usage of "voice" by feminist and literary critics to discuss broad issues of authorship and point of view, in film studies the physical voice itself is a primary focus. Echo and Narcissus shows how assumptions about the "deficiencies" of women's voices and speech are embedded in sound's history, technology, uses, and marketing. Moreover, the construction of the woman's voice is inserted into the ideologically loaded cinematic and narrative conventions governing the representation of women in Hollywood film.
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The Problem of the Speaking Woman
Recuperating Womens Speech
Woman and the Authorial Voice
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Alice Alicia argues Atticus Atticus's audience authority Bakhtin Barthes becomes Blackmail body calls camera movement character classical Hollywood cinema Colton and Randolph construction cultural dialogue diegesis discourse Doane dramatic early sound Echo father female feminine feminist film noir film's flashback frame function gender Gloria Swanson Harper Lee hear Henry heteroglossia hierarchy ibid ideology Kill a Mockingbird killer language Leona listening long take look Macphail male Maugham Mayella Miss Sadie Thompson montage mother Narcissus narrative narrator Norma Desmond O'Hara offscreen patriarchal phonograph play position present radio Rain Raoul Walsh representation role Sadie and Davidson Sadie's says scene Scout sexuality shot signifier silent film Silverman 1988 Sorry sound film sound recording sound reproduction sound technology sound track space speaking woman spectacle speech star story Sunset Boulevard synchronized talk telephone tells tion verbal visual voice-over woman's voice women words Wrong Number