"There's More To Them Than Meets The Eye": The Portrayal of Femininity and Female Heroines in 1950s Classical Hollywood Cinema
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In this thesis, I will investigate femininity in 1950s classical Hollywood cinema to learn more about the construction of (deceitful) female representation in Hollywood. More specifically, I will look at the films of Douglas Sirk (All That Heaven Allows (1955) and Imitation of Life (1959)) and Alfred Hitchcock (Rear Window (1954) and Vertigo (1958)), who can both be seen as rather influential directors from this time period, in order to observe to what extent these directors perpetuated and/or contradicted existing stereotypes of women in film. Applying the theory of feminist film criticism, that is rooted in Freudian psychoanalysis, I will find that such an observation might be rather one-sided for the films of Douglas Sirk and Alfred Hitchcock. By looking at the plot, the dialogue, and the mise-en-scene of these films, I will demonstrate the construction of femininity and the portrayal of female characters in these films is a complex and multi-dimensional process.
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