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I think that Hayes's point is exactly the issue of "tired Hollywood racial 
progressivism." Due to Moore's portrayal of pure naivety, everyone around her, 
in fact, is freed, so that we might better observe how these others manage 
their way in life. Moore isn't the 50s repressed housewife; she's a child, much 
like her own children (who are the only other characters in the film, aside 
from a few other minor people, like her girlfriends, the fashion journalist 
lady, and the people in the restaurant, to act in a stock-character fashion). 
Thus, she looks upon life going on around her with a kind of pained awareness, 
as if in a strange dream from which one cannot awaken, and knows this to be the 
case.

Her husband, her lover, her best friend, and her maid--all the characters 
closest to her--are given a kind of freedom not seen in 50s films. They all 
become more real. Haynes makes a film with closely observing race (lover), 
sexuality (husband), gender (Moore; and her best friend), and class/race (maid) 
while playing with our own need to see something like a progressive attitude in 
the film. The lover, then, isn't at all the "suffering yet noble negro" type; 
he knows exactly how the game is played yet refuses to be responsible for the 
pain racist people want to make him feel. The husband plays out the 
contradictory aspirations of the "repressed 50s homo" to make his own way in 
the world. Moore's best friend seems to be actually quite liberated; her rift 
with Moore is a result of a lack of trust, not because she thinks Moore is 
acting not like a 50s housewife. And the maid, who suspiciously guards the 
white family, appears to resent the NAACP people who come around because they 
likely represent, to her, a disruption of a lifestyle that to her appears 
marginally better than that which they might offer; she is like a conservative 
version of the lover.

Dr Andrew Lesk
Department of English
University of Toronto

http://www.andrewlesk.com


Quoting Jason Grant McKahan <[log in to unmask]>:

> I wonder to what extent folks would agree that Far From Heaven really 
> shirks the homosexual issue out of narrative economy to rehearse noble, but
> 
> tired Hollywood racial progressivism.
> 
> Anent bibliography, one might also compare what's been written about 
> Sirkian melodrama, including Lucy Fischer's collection on Imitation of 
> Life. See:
> 
> http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/melodramabib.html#sirk
> 
> Jason McKahan
> Florida State University
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> At 07:45 AM 10/25/2005, you wrote:
> >This may be all too obvious, but Betty Friedan's THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE 
> >might be a starting point.  Not about film, but the work that defined the 
> >"problem that has no name."  Otherwise, check standard references such  as
> 
> >the FILM LITERATURE INDEX, MLA Bibliography, etc.
> >
> >Don Larsson
> >
> >-----------------------------------------------
> >"Oh!  Time, Strength, Cash, and Patience!"
> >                                          --Herman Melville
> >Donald F. Larsson
> >Department of English, AH 230
> >Minnesota State University
> >Mankato, MN  56001
> >[log in to unmask]
> >Office Phone: 507-389-2368
> >
> >
> >________________________________
> >
> >From: Film and TV Studies Discussion List on behalf of Lane, Christina
> >Sent: Fri 10/14/2005 8:45 AM
> >To: [log in to unmask]
> >Subject: [SCREEN-L] Recommended Texts for Prizewinner, The Hours, Far From
> 
> >Heaven?
> >
> >
> >
> >I'm planning to teach an extended unit on films such as The Prizewinner of
> 
> >Defiance, Ohio, The Hours, and Far From Heaven.  Does anyone have 
> >recommendations for articles or books that would be good companions for 
> >the study of gender and film in the 1950s (and somewhat specific to these 
> >films)?
> >
> >Thanks,
> >Christina Lane
> >
> >________________________________
> >
> >From: Film and TV Studies Discussion List on behalf of Laird, Karen Elaine
> 
> >(UMC-Student)
> >Sent: Thu 10/13/2005 7:21 PM
> >To: [log in to unmask]
> >Subject: [SCREEN-L] prequels
> >
> >
> >
> >Can anyone recommend any books or articles about prequels?
> >
> >Thanks,
> >
> >Karen Laird
> >
> >----
> >For past messages, visit the Screen-L Archives:
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> >
> >
> >
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