What Price Hollywood?Gender and Sex in the Films of George Cukor

What Price Hollywood?Gender and Sex in the Films of George Cukor

Elyce Rae Helford

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9780813179292

Publisher: University Press of Kentucky

Abstract

A prolific director of classic Hollywood cinema, George Cukor was known for his romantic comedies and dramas and his work with difficult leading ladies. For such work, he was labeled a “woman’s director.” He did build or enhance the careers of many strong, independent actresses, including Katharine Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Judy Holliday, Judy Garland, and Marilyn Monroe. However, the tag was also derogatory, referencing the fact of Cukor’s homosexuality. He was also called an “actor’s director,” for he emphasized his connections with his stars to draw out compelling performances even within his less effective films. Taking a queer feminist approach to these labels, the director, and his directing style, this volume explores issues of gender and sexuality within groups of Cukor pictures. Chapters reach across and among eras and genres to study small groups of films by theme, nuanced by ethnicity, class, and race. Topics covered include female friendships, the male alcoholic, domesticity and ethnic assimilation, gender performance, drag acts, and queer musical excess.