Friday, June 24, 2011

Lecture Four - Could uni be any better than admiring good looking males all day?

Today we explored the male body. Although a good looking actor is often a strong incentive for my movie watching, I have never put a lot of thought into the representation of males on screen.

Just as female Hollywood stars have formed personas cultivated on and off screen, male stars have formed their own iconic star profiles.The historical development of these stars is interesting to consider. The movement from Cary Grant to James Dean, on to Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Brad Pitt. However what I am particularly fascinated by is the male suited body. The suit intrigues me as I am helpless against a boy in a suit.

Edwards suggests that the suit is a “symbol of masculine sexuality” and a “uniform of respectability” (Bruzzi, 2005, p42.). This is a similar reading to that of Anne Hollander who suggests that the suit forms a cast of the body, hinting at what is beneath it.

In our reading for today Pamela Church Gibson extended this concept to suggest that the suit is a phallic cast. I'm not so convinced by this argument. I can see why that conclusion could be drawn but I think it is possibly taking the whole phallic imagery too far. Hollander’s comments on the uniformity and style of the suit seem a more appropriate reading of male dress.

James Bond is an interesting figure for looking at the suit. When he’s topless I find him not so appealing. However in a suit and it’s a different story.



This is one of my favourite scenes in Casino Royale for several reasons:

- The female character Vesper Lynd is opinionated and feisty, not just a sex symbol

- The outrage of Bond at the idea of a tailored suit. He manages to capture the exact attitude that many males know have in regards to the suit

Although the suit may be deemed the uniform of the modern male, the subtle variations between the way it is worn is very interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed Oceans Eleven, partly because of the storyline but also because of the characters of Pitt and Clooney. Pamela Church-Gibson gives a very insightful evaluation of the suit within the film and the way it is used to form characters. Brad Pitt is the young, rough and reckless one and George Clooney the smooth talking ladies man.

I think these costumes have been particularly successful in forming characters without distracting from the story as a whole. They merely compliment and build up the dialogue and acting.

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