“Life isn’t yet over”: Older heroines in American popular cinema of the 1930s and 1970s/80s

Title: “Life isn’t yet over”: Older heroines in American popular cinema of the 1930s and 1970s/80s

Year: 1989

Journal / Publication: Qualitative Sociology

Volume: 12

Issue: 1

Pages: 72 – 95

Authors: Walsh, Andrea

Abstract:

This article analyzes the evolution of a significant undercurrent within American culture challenging the dominance of the cult of youth and masculinity, through the interpretation of selected American popular films of the 1930s and 1970s/80s featuring heroines over 60 years of age. These two eras, which witnessed the impact of elder advocacy on national legislation and social policy, generated films such as If I Had A Million (1932), Make Way for Tomorrow (1937), Harold and Maude (1971) and The Trip to Bountiful (1985). Through analyzing these films as well as related media trends, psychoanalytic approaches to the study of female representation in cinema are critiqued. While psychoanalytic approaches often stress the cultural dominance of an ahistorical patriarchy, a sociological model conceptualizes culture as a process constituted by communication and negotiation, resistance and rebellion as well as oppression and domination.

Link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00989245

Keywords: N/A