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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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Masculinity and the Man Who Drinks

Masculinity and the Man Who Drinks

(p.68) 4 Masculinity and the Man Who Drinks
What Price Hollywood?

Elyce Rae Helford

University Press of Kentucky

Cukor’s most developed alcoholics are white men of privileged class who are portrayed as failing to live up to gendered social expectations. Within romantic comedies, the cause and effects of alcoholism in male characters are downplayed, as seen in the films Susan and God (1940) and The Philadelphia Story (1940). Then the chapter explores the specific figure of the Hollywood alcoholic in What Price Hollywood? (1932), Dinner at Eight (1933), and A Star is Born (1954). These performances show the cost of success for male celebrities and the impact of social demands on the individual. Maintaining youthfulness, audience favor, and masculine virility depletes the men in focus in these films, and their failure after high accomplishment leads them to desperation and self-destruction.

Keywords:   alcoholism, masculinity, romantic comedy, Cary Grant, John Barrymore

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