Mary Kate Goodwin-Kelly requests:
> I am working on a paper in which I want to consider the history of pregnancy
> in film and television representation-both the concealment of actresses'
> pregnancies and the spectacular representations of actresses' OR their
> characters' pregnancies. Examples include Marge Gunderson's pregnancy in
> Fargo (I don't believe Frances McDormand was pregnant during the production
> of this film though I'd be interested in anyone's ability to confirm or
> disprove my suspicion) and Lacey's pregnancy in Cagney and Lacey (occasioned
> by Tyne Daly's actual pregnancy). If anyone has examples of other TV or
> film scenarios that I might consider, I'd appreciate any suggestion. Or if
> you know of any research or scholarship that deals with this issue, I'd
> appreciate those suggestions as well.
As to pregnant actresses, TV because of its serial nature seems more
prone to having this occur during a season. I believe that Julia-Louis
Dreyfuss (but not Elaine) was pregnant for much of one season of
SEINFELD. Lacey was pregnant but Sharon Gless was not, and Tyne Daley
was pregant but Cagney was not on CAGNEY AND LACEY. The most famous
example is probably Lucy Ricardo/Lucille Ball in I LOVE LUCY. Aside
from the actress, many other TV characters have had noticable and
notable pregnancies. Just in the last couple of years, they seem to
have, um, proliferated--MAD ABOUT YOU, ER (aside from patients, two
characters--Nurse Hathaway and currently Dr. Jing-Mai Chen); THE
PRACTICE (currently another two characters!--Lindsay and Eleanor); THE
THIRD WATCH; etc. And that's not including daytime soap operas!
The Production Code frowned on the flaunting of a character's prenancy
in film, so you're less likely to see it in classical Hollywood films,
even when they involve pregnant women. A good counter-example is the
virtually invisible pregnancy of Lucy Mallory in STAGECOACH. (Also see
GONE WITH THE WIND! You might also want to compare FATHER'S LITTLE
DIVIDEND to the modern remake FATHER OF THE BRIDE II.) Later, of
course, visibly pregnant women have been seen in many films, usually
for either tears or humor. BABY BOOM, LOOK WHO'S TALKING, THE COLOR
PURPLE, Janice Rule's character in Altman's THREE WOMEN (not to mention
the women in the current DR. T AND THE WOMEN), etc., etc., etc.
Also don't forget Demi Moore's cover shoot!
As to other pregnant actresses, Delores Costello was pregnant while
filming the first sound version of MOBY DICK with her husband John
Barrymore, Bette Midler was pregnant while filming OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE.
Pregancy is a common theme in a number of horror films (about which a
fair amount has been written): ROSEMARY'S BABY, THE SEVENTH SIGN, THE
OMEN, THE ASTRONAUT'S WIFE, etc., etc.
For a twist, several films deal with pregnant *men*, including JUNIOR
and the execrable RABBIT TEST.
For comparison with Hollywood, also see Pagnol's FANNY and its
American remake, A TASTE OF HONEY, THE MIRACLE, Godard's HAIL MARY, THE
SNAPPER, THE PLAYBOYS, THE STORY OF QUI JU, TO LIVE, SAMBA TRAORE, etc.
Donald F. Larsson
English Department, AH 230
Minnesota State University
Mankato, MN 56001
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