Dimensions: 432 pages, 9.5 × 6.5 × 1.5 in
Published: January 29, 2013
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0307269167
ISBN - 13: 9780307269164
Read from the Book
Part 1 In the silent-film era, movies told the story of marriage straightforwardly, as a familiar situation—and audiences cheerfully accepted it as such. The idea that marriage might be unappealing at the box office, or perhaps a depressing plot development, didn’t seem to exist in the same way it did later, in the studio-system years. Silent-film makers presented marriage as something audiences could and would recognize, and therefore enjoy seeing on the screen. In embracing the subject, they had available current history, past history, imaginary history . . . different tones, attitudes, moods . . . myriad events and characters . . . the works. Although it was a rigid or fixed social event, marriage could still be used flexibly. It could be the main event, the comic relief, or the tragic subplot. And, of course, it could always be linked to the surefire box-office concept of love. Unlike in later decades, many silent movies openly carried the concept in the title: The Marriage of William Ashe (1921); The Marriage Maker (1921); Man, Woman, Marriage (1921); The Marriage Chance (1922); Married People (1922); The Married Flapper (1922); The Marriage Market (1923); Marriage Morals (1923); The Marriage Cheat (1924); Marry in Haste (1924); Married Flirts (1924); The Marriage Circle (1924); Marriage in Transit (1925); Marry Me (1925); The Marriage Whirl (1925); Married? (1926); Marriage License (1926
From the Publisher
From one of our leading film historians and interpreters: a brilliantly researched, irresistibly witty, delightfully illustrated examination of “the marriage movie”; what it is (or isn’t) and what it has to tell us about the movies—and ourselves.
As long as there have been feature movies there have been marriage movies, and yet Hollywood has always been cautious about how to label them—perhaps because, unlike any other genre of film, the marriage movie resonates directly with the experience of almost every adult coming to see it. Here is “happily ever after”—except when things aren''t happy, and when “ever after” is abruptly terminated by divorce, tragedy . . . or even murder. With her large-hearted understanding of how movies—and audiences—work, Jeanine Basinger traces the many ways Hollywood has tussled with this tricky subject, explicating the relationships of countless marriages from Blondie and Dagwood to the heartrending couple in the Iranian A Separation, from Tracy and Hepburn to Laurel and Hardy (a marriage if ever there was one) to Coach and his wife in Friday Night Lights.
A treasure trove of insight and sympathy, illustrated with scores of wonderfully telling movie stills, posters, and ads.
About the Author
Jeanine Basinger is the chair of film studies at Wesleyan University and the curator of the cinema archives there. She has written nine other books on film, including A Woman’s View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women, 1930–1960; Silent Stars, winner of the William K. Everson Film History Award; Anthony Mann; The World War II Combat Film: Anatomy of a Genre; and American Cinema: One Hundred Years of Filmmaking, the companion book for a ten-part PBS series.
“A witty look at how films portray marriage, and how these onscreen contradictions mirror the institution itself.” — O Magazine “A breezy, fun excursion into Hollywood’s presentation of matrimony . . . deeply personal.” — Los Angeles Times “Fascinating . . . The real fun comes from the splendidly crafted, creative, compelling critiques that make you want to see many movies again or for the first time.” — The Boston Globe “Written by the esteemed Wesleyan University academic and cinematic soothsayer Jeanine Basinger . . . an insightful account of how films have represented wedlock, both holy and unholy, through the years . . . Basinger has a gift for zeroing in on tantalizing details that bring a visual medium to readable life.” — USA Today “Lively . . . knowing and illuminating . . . Hollywood movies of the studio era were not, as Basinger takes pains to point out, produced by naifs. Many of them convey sophisticated references to sexual intercourse, prostitution, even homosexuality—if you know how to interpret them. That some of us still do is often thanks to popular scholars like Basinger . . . hilarious, spot-on.” — Salon “[Basinger''s] writing is strong, the vision clear . . . the amount of titles discussed and revisited are staggering . . . informative and witty . . . deft.” — Slant Magazine “A spikily opinionated voice congenial to a diverse read