Heroes, Dames, and Damsels in Distress: Constructing Gender Types in Classical Hollywood Film Music.

Deep Blue Home

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.author Fulop, Rebecca Naomi en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2013-02-04T18:03:43Z
dc.date.available NO_RESTRICTION en_US
dc.date.available 2013-02-04T18:03:43Z
dc.date.issued 2012 en_US
dc.date.submitted 2012 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/95951
dc.description.abstract This dissertation examines the musical construction of gender in films of the classical Hollywood era (approximately 1935–1960). Just as gender expectations shaped these films’ narratives, music also helped construct gender identities and archetypes, typically reinforcing and occasionally undermining dominant gender ideologies. In addition to employing musical tropes for stock characters, such as the damsel-in-distress or the femme fatale, Hollywood composers used a musical trope that I call the “Feminine Romantic Cliché” to accompany an idealized type of female behavior. Use of such clichéd music helped create female characters who served as complementary figures to male-driven plotlines and constructed musical boundaries around their agency. Chapter 1 traces this cliché over several decades, integrating archival material, critical reception, and analyses of dozens of film scores, and culminating in a longer analysis of _The Adventures of Robin Hood_ (1938). The establishment of gendered clichés encouraged some composers to find alternative methods of scoring female characters, which is the subject of chapter 2. Rather than overdetermining their characters with typical bad girl musical clichés, _Jezebel_ (1938) and _Duel in the Sun_ (1946) use multiple themes to create complex characterizations. Gender expectations for Hollywood pictures were so powerful, however, that at the end of each of film, each composer reverts to scoring strategies that emphasize the necessity for the women’s downfalls. Scoring gender also presents unique challenges in films without women. Chapter 3, which focuses on _Lawrence of Arabia_ (1962) and _The Great Escape_ (1963), examines how film composers negotiated the depiction of masculinity and emotion. The final chapter explains how music contributes in performative fashion to the projection of femininities and masculinities onto cinematic bodies. Drawing on analyses of the scoring practices in _Laura_ (1944) and _Anatomy of a Murder_ (1959), I argue that musical representations of masculinity are often seemingly “naturalized” upon male bodies, while musical representations of femininity are exposed as “unnatural” and externally constructed. Throughout the dissertation, I look at how intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality shape the way characters are represented by their musical accompaniment and how they either conform to or resist categorization into gendered archetypes. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject Film Music en_US
dc.subject Gender Construction en_US
dc.subject Classical Hollywood en_US
dc.title Heroes, Dames, and Damsels in Distress: Constructing Gender Types in Classical Hollywood Film Music. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreename PHD en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreediscipline Music: Musicology en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreegrantor University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Garrett, Charles Hiroshi en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Andre, Naomi A. en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Clague, Mark Allan en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Wiley, Roland J. en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Goldmark, Daniel en_US
dc.subject.hlbsecondlevel Film and Video Studies en_US
dc.subject.hlbsecondlevel Music and Dance en_US
dc.subject.hlbsecondlevel Women's and Gender Studies en_US
dc.subject.hlbtoplevel Arts en_US
dc.subject.hlbtoplevel Humanities en_US
dc.description.bitstreamurl http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/95951/1/rfulop_1.pdf
dc.owningcollname Dissertations and Theses (Ph.D. and Master's)
 Show simple item record

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Search Deep Blue

Browse by

My Account


Coming Soon

MLibrary logo