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Dangerous dames : women and representation in the Weimar street film and film noir /
Jans B. Wager.
Athens : Ohio University Press, c1999.
xvi, 159 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
0821412701 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Athens : Ohio University Press, c1999.
0821412701 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 135-148) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-02:
Offering intriguing readings of Weimar films of the 1920s and '30s (The Street, Variety, Asphalt, M) and noir films of the '40s and '50s (The Maltese Falcon, Gun Crazy, The Big Heat), Wager (Utah Valley State College) looks at what women get out of films in which female characters serve as foils for masculine identity and desire. The author also elaborates similarities in the two genres, revealing continuity in the "melodramatic imagination" and parallels in their respective postwar sociocultural contexts (numerous influential Weimar directors ended up in Hollywood--Fritz Lang, F. W. Murnau, Douglas Sirk, Billy Wilder, et al.). Wager advances her argument with a new concept--the femme attrapee as counterpart to the dangerous femme fatale. An archetypal nurturing woman trapped in the burdensome, repressive, dull environment of the home front, the femme attrapee represents the possibility for the reintegration of the alienated male into a "stable world of secure values, roles, and identities." Wager charts the evolving relationship of these two female types, who both evince an increase in the female characters' activity and narrative "agency." Though film noir more virulently chastises and "contains" these daring "dames," both genres offer the female spectator female characters who are "active, adventurous and driven by sexual desire." Upper-division undergraduates and above. E. Williams; Texas A&M University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2000
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Unpaid Annotation
Both film noir and the Weimar street film hold a continuing fascination for film spectators and film theorists alike. The female characters, especially the alluring femmes fatales, remain a focus for critical and popular attention. In the tradition of such attention, Dangerous Dames focuses on the femme fatale and her antithesis, the femme attrapee.Unlike most theorists, Jans Wager examines these archetypes from the perspective of the female spectator and rejects the persistence of vision that allows a reading of these female characters only as representations of unstable postwar masculinity. Professor Wager suggests that the woman in the audience has always seen and understood these characters as representations of a complex aspect of her existences.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Shot - Reverse Shot
Rethinking Paradigms
Methodologies: Who's Seeing Whom: Representation and Identificationp. 3
Melodrama and Womenp. 9
Weimar Contexts and Texts
The Weimar Years: The Weimar Republic and Weimar Cinemap. 19
The Street Rules: The Weimar Street Film and The Streetp. 27
Female Desire: The Variegated Nature of Desire in Varietyp. 36
Female Agency and Its Lackp. 52
Film Noir Contexts and Texts
The Noir Years: U.S. War and Postwar Culture and Cinema, 1941-1958p. 73
The Stuff of Dreams: Film Noir and The Maltese Falconp. 84
Why Do You Have to Murder People? The Femme Fatale and Femme Attrapee in Gun Crazyp. 92
Film Noir Traps All Femmes: All Women Are Femmes Fatales in The Big Heatp. 103
Pasts and Presents
Reflections: Women and Representation in the Weimar Street Film and Film Noirp. 117
Noir Now: U.S. Retro-Noir, German Neo-Noir, U.S. Neo-Noirp. 123
Notesp. 135
Referencesp. 143
Indexp. 149
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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