Peter Latham asks, in regard to KING KONG and TAXI DRIVER:
"Do these two films contain emotional appeals of unique strength to
disturbed/evil males? If so, what are those appeals?
Please understand I would not propose to censor either film, even if the
appeals were obvious and direct. I simply want to understand.
Many thanks for your thoughtful responses."
I can refer you to one novelist's take on the former. KING KONG is used as
a point of reference and structuring elements in several parts of Thomas
GRAVITY'S RAINBOW. On p. 275-277 (Viking ed.), he links the black ape to
Western man's (a term I used advisedly) fears and fascinations with blackness,
death, and excrement. The context defies synopsis, but it might be worth a
look. (His argument, by the way, parallels some of the points raised by
psychoanalyst Joel Kovel in WHITE RACISM).
Now, extending this analysis to TAXI DRIVER is another matter!
One thing that both films do have in common is the overt representation of the
male as Knight--the courtly lover who is attracted to his lady and dies
her, but can never have her. Needless to say, such a pattern is impossible in
modern society--so it gets twisted into the ape or Bickel (but then we can find
many parallel representations in other films!).
Don Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)
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