Why this book?
LaSalle’s book made me fall in love with Pre-Code Hollywood despite having been in film and media studies for 20 years.
His in-depth study of many famous actresses during this era such as Greta Garbo, Norma Shearer, and Jean Harlow, shows how freer women could be on screen for their life choices.
The later chapters address the lasting impact of the Code era on the representation of women and their agency, even on contemporary movies. As he discusses it, the Code caused the decline of “socially responsive women’s pictures.”
Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood
Why should I read it?
1 author picked Complicated Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
Between 1929 and 1934, women in American cinema took lovers, had babies out of wedlock, got rid of cheating husbands, enjoyed their sexuality and led unapologetic careers. Before then, women on screen had come in two varieties - sweet ingenue or vamp. Then two stars came along and blasted away those stereotypes. Greta Garbo turned the femme fatale into a woman whose capacity for love and sacrifice made all other human emotions seem pale. Meanwhile, Norma Shearer succeeded in taking the ingenue to a place she'd never been: the bedroom. These complicated women paved the way for a deluge of…
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