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Virtual Metamorphoses: Cosmetic and Cybernetic Revisions of Pygmalion's "Living Doll"

From: Arethusa
Volume 41, Number 1, Winter 2008
pp. 133-156 | 10.1353/are.2008.0006



This paper offers an overview of popular cinematic remakes or re-visions of Ovid's tale of Pygmalion and conducts a close interrogation of three exemplary texts: Vertigo (1958), Blade Runner (1982), and Pretty Woman (1990). Employing a largely feminist and psychoanalytic approach to film analysis, it argues that these narratives detail an essentially fetishistic process of substituting a notionally "real" woman with an ostensibly more manageable version. This process of remaking or making-over is considered in terms of the narrative content of the films and the meta-narrative of textual adaptation, with its associated issues of original versus copy and hierarchies of high and low cultural production.