We recently watched THE COLLECTOR and ROSEMARY'S BABY, two movies in which women are victimized, and do a really horrible job of protecting themselves. They're gullible and passive, and panicky, and stupid. They do as they're told, even when they have every reason to suppose the people ordering them around are homicidal maniacs. I don't want to see them hurt, but I have a lot of trouble sympathizing with them.
I wonder, when these movies came out, in 1965 and 1968, were the female characters perceived as normal? Did women watch these movies and think, yes, that's what we're like? Or were the filmmakers making a point? I can't imagine any woman being this passive in a movie from the 1930's or 1940's.
On another note, it is remarkable how long it takes for ROSEMARY'S BABY to get off the ground. I literally fell asleep watching the first 20 minutes. (And then slept for 12 hours, so maybe it was the flu, not the movie.) It is not until about 40 minutes in that we have any reason to worry about poor Rosemary or her baby. The movie has a reputation as a classic, but it's because of the very alarming ending.
You couldn't do that these days. No one has that kind of patience any more.
Labels: watching movies
Alex, here's an old post from a long-retired local blogger on women's film roles in the 30s & 40s: http://blogorrhoea.blogspot.com/2003_06_29_archive.html
And I first noticed the plodding pace of (ahem) 'old movies' when I sat down to watch "Star Wars" with my kids about 8 years ago. They couldn't sustain interest, and I kind of can't blame them because after the opening battle, it's just a lot of wandering around in the desert. We're habituated to a lot more spectacle these days.
I think you're really missing the way Rosemary's Baby is a product of its times an a strongly feminist movie - precisely because Rosemary gets in trouble because she consistently makes passive choices and defers to the men in her life.
Watch the movie and pay attention to the sense of dread you get every time Rosemary makes a decision that abdicates her responsibility for herself. Notice the strong connection between the "we know better than you" attitude of the men and, well, pure evil.
The film is a call to arms: The audience is constantly rooting for Rosemary to make the feminist choice, and her failure to do so results in the birth of the son of the devil.
I haven't seen the movie in a few years, but didn't have issues with the pace of the film.
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