Abstract

ln Close Up, Dorothy Richardson and H. D. pose sound film as male because they constrain women’s aesthetic engagement as film spectators, a position that anticipates later feminist film criticism on embodied voice in classical cinema. This essay uncovers how Dorothy Arzner, the only woman director of Hollywood sound film from 1928 to 1943, embeds responses to these critiques through what she calls “unusual moments” in her films. In such moments, Arzner explores the possibility of an embodied modernist voice that is at once reflexive about technologies of mass culture and attentive to women’s social and aesthetic concerns.

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