Movie Makeovers, 1958 Edition

Vertigo

I’m a Hitchcock fan, so when a film historian hosted an Alfred Hitchcock film series at the library, I went.  I had seen all the movies, but I enjoyed the lectures afterwards, with the little tidbits of behind the scenes gossip and film analysis.

The night we watched Vertigo, the professor (he teaches at a university) emphasized the absurdity of the Academy Award for Best Picture being awarded to Gigi that year.  Vertigo was not nominated, but is today ranked 66 on the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Movies list.  (Gigi is no where to be seen.)

There are things to be said in favor of Vertigo, but the one the professor chose was bizarre.  He bashed Gigi as an example of a frothy but chauvinistic depiction of women as objects.  There are a lot of valid arguments for Vertigo as a film, but feminism is not one of them.  I was left thinking, “Did he see the same movies I saw?”

A conservative suit doesn’t make a woman strong, and a pretty dress doesn’t weaken her resolve.  A makeover cannot change a person’s heart, their strength of character, or their lack thereof.  Brooding doesn’t equal intelligence, and happiness isn’t shallow.

Holding on to who you are while you pursue your dreams can be difficult, but you won’t live Happily Ever After without it.

Gigi

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8 thoughts on “Movie Makeovers, 1958 Edition

  1. Love this. When I first saw Gigi as a child, I got that they were “professional girlfriends”, but the courtesan thing went right over my head.

    While they were strong women making the best of a woman’s lot for the time, Gigi is only a success in the end because she gets a man to marry her.

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently because of Downton Abbey. Marrying well is the only success, and the worst failure is to be sexual without getting a ring on it first.

    While the current hook-up culture leaves me cold, the previous options weren’t very good either.

    • I disagree. Gigi’s culture was not promoting marriage for her. She was being primed to be a courtesan, not a wife. Her aunt, who had never married, was considered the great success. Marriage was what she wanted, so, to me, her success was very personal.

  2. I’ve actually seen Gigi but never seen Vertigo. I thought Gigi’s desire to be married was considered ‘odd’ – giving up her freedom. I remember thinking at the time why would you do that? Hmm, think I’ll add that to my list of things to watch later this year.

    • It was considered odd. Not married she could have been “world famous,” married, she would be nothing special, and, yes, she’d have had more freedom as a courtesan than a wife.

  3. People seem to think wanting to get married or to have kids is anti-feminism. I don’t see it that way. I think Feminism is about equality and supporting women to choose the life they want whether they want to be moms or cheerleaders or president.

  4. Pingback: Every movie a children’s movie? | A Faded Ginger

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