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The Casting Couch and Other Front Row Seats: Women in Films of the 1970s and 1980s

The Casting Couch and Other Front Row Seats: Women in Films of the 1970s and 1980s

Marsha McCreadie

ISBN: 9780275929121

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This collection of film reviews and essays focuses on the role of women in films during the 1970s and 1980s. The author, a widely published film critic, examines the shifting portrayals of women from the almost anti-progressive treatment of women in the early 1970s through the integration of more progressive professional women in the films of the late 1980s. She shows that most of the important movies of the period were about women and that these films seemed to reflect the momentous changes that women were going through in the society at large. McCreadie's in-depth analysis of women in cinema is augmented with personal interviews with leading female actresses of the period including Jane Fonda, Kathleen Turner, Jessica Lange, Sissy Spacek, Sally Field, Anjelica Huston, and others. Taking a chronological approach to her subject, McCreadie shows that the late 1970s saw some radical breakthroughs in roles for women in such movies as Annie Hall and Coming Home--perhaps reflecting the outcries earlier in the decade that women were not being treated progressively in current cinema. These more progressive and sometimes shattering images of women were in some cases even more advanced than the society the films were attempting to characterize. Throughout the early 1980s there was a sharp retreat from this position as movies like "Ghostbusters" and "The River" showed a definite backlash against feminism and gains made by women. Finally, in the late 1980s, the focus has turned toward more progressive and accomplished women in cinema although, even here, McCreadie argues, there is sometimes a conservative or reactionary hue to even the most advanced role models offered by film. Students of film, women's studies, and popular culture will find McCreadie's analysis fascinating and illuminating reading.
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