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What Price Hollywood?Gender and Sex in the Films of George Cukor$
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Elyce Rae Helford

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813179292

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813179292.001.0001

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Tone, Genre, and the Actor’s Director

Tone, Genre, and the Actor’s Director

(p.49) 3 Tone, Genre, and the Actor’s Director
What Price Hollywood?

Elyce Rae Helford

University Press of Kentucky

Tone and genre significantly affect gender presentation within the course of a highly productive decade in Cukor’s career. The Women (1939), Susan and God (1940), and Edward, My Son (1949) are all films based on plays originally written as satire or parody. They become more complicated productions when adapted for film by “actor’s director” Cukor. By emphasizing earnest and dramatic portrayals of heavily gender-normative portrayals, the director shifts both the tone and the impact of the satirical films. In The Women, the serious, sympathetic central character detracts from the social critique of wealthy, catty wives. Susan and God shifts from romantic comedy to melodrama and holds the wife character to account for the confines of conventional marriage, excising potential social critique. Finally, Edward, My Son, one of Cukor’s major and more interesting failures, yields its satirical bite to the questionable casting and directing of its hypermasculine lead.

Keywords:   satire, film genre, Joan Crawford, Spencer Tracy

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