Lady Chatterley's Legacy in the Movies
Sex, Brains, and Body Guys
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Rutgers University Press
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This book has grown out of work we have been doing together for ten years, and there are many more people than we could ever thank who have helped and encouraged us with feedback on conference papers, journal articles, and book chapters over the years. We are especially grateful to Bill Luhr, Bob Eberwein, and Santi Fouz-Hernández. We’d also like to thank the editors who ...
1. “Everything You Are Is between Your Legs”
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Titanic (1997) is still “king of the world” at the box office, grossing more money worldwide than any other film in history. For his epic tale, writerproducer- director James Cameron masterfully intertwines a broad array of genres: romance, action, adventure, and historical drama. The film belongs to yet another category, which has flourished virtually unnoticed for the past ...
2. Rebels, Outsiders, Artists, and... Brutes?
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In Moonlight and Valentino (1995), Rebecca, a widowed college instructor, is having “too delicious” sex with the guy who’s painting her house. At one point she asks him if he’s “really an artist—an oil painter who just paints houses as a sideline.” He replies, “No, I’m a house painter. I paint signs as a sideline.” No, the classic body guys in cinema are not intellectuals in disguise, bringing in a few dollars on the side to enable their loftier goals and passions. ...
3. “Fuck Me like a Cop, Not a Lawyer”
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The body guys do not offer their gold-medal sex style to just any women in the films of the genre. These women are not only beautiful but intelligent. The Harvard-educated Samuel (Henry Thomas) says of his fiancée Susannah (Julia Ormond) in Legends of the Fall (1994), “She’s got me spinning. She’s got these ideas and theories, and she’s . . . she’s sorta passionate.” Samuel confesses to his earthy brother, Tristan (Brad Pitt), that he’s afraid he won’t meet Susannah’s sexual expectations. ...
4. “Brain Work Isn’t Much of a Spectator Sport”
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In From Reverence to Rape, Molly Haskell writes of early Hollywood films: “A woman’s intelligence was the equivalent of a man’s penis: something to be kept out of sight” (4). Ironically, the second edition of Haskell’s book was published in 1987, on the cusp of the body-guy genre’s emergence. This was the very moment educated and professional women reached historic “visibility” in America, and the penis came into sight in movies. Haskell and the body-guy ...
5. Hung like a Horse... or an Acorn
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Within the body culture, people will pay money to see the sexy body but are not yet lining up on the fifty-yard line to watch the sexy mind at work. From this perspective, the undervalued brain is made up for by the overvalued penis. If we have trouble imagining the mind as sexy, we have equal trouble imagining sex without the thrusting good-sized penis. This model of lovemaking is so ...
6. Unmaking Love
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Mae West once famously remarked, “Sex is emotion in motion.” Her statement is uncannily reminiscent of the way many people speak of the medium that made Mae West famous: the movies. Many see motion as the essence of movies, and much bad filmmaking and film criticism has followed from accepting simplistic assumptions about this essentialist nature of cinema. In order to be “cinematic” movies should have action and not rely too much on ...
7. “Why Do You Say That as if It Were a Weakness? It’s Not.”
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The opening scene of Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) got a lot of press from film critics, primarily because of the frontal male nudity. Indeed, the film may be a first. When penises appear in movies, most reviewers don’t even mention them, let alone grant them detailed attention. Significantly, with this film the reception context began preopening, when the film’s star and ...
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About the Authors
Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 40 photographs
Publication Year: 2010