Show Less
Restricted access

Conditioned Identities

Wished-for and Unwished-for Identities

Series:

Edited By Flocel Sabaté

This book contains selected papers from the meeting «Conditioned Identities. Wished-for and Unwished-for Identities», held in the Institute of Research in Identities and Society (University of Lleida) in 2013 and attended by participants representing different disciplines, discussing the imposition and acceptance of identities. The different chapters of the book, written by scholars and researchers from all over the world, analyse the conflict between attributed and chosen identities in History, Language, Literature, Sociology and Anthropology across various historical periods and geographical regions. Theoretical and practical studies are combined in order to contribute to a renewal of perspectives regarding a key issue for understanding the roots of our current society and the problems surrounding conviviality in today’s world.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

“Maybe you’re too young to remember”: Baby Jane and the sin of acting against one’s age

Extract



Marta MIQUEL-BALDELLOU

Universitat de Lleida

1.The ageing actress and the ageist discourse

In the decades of the 1950s and 1960s, an unusual new heroine began to recur in many of the American films that were being released at the time. In Jodi Brooks’ words, this new heroine corresponded to “the figure of the aging actress undergoing a crisis as she confronts her demise as a public star”1. This was the case of Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950), Margo Channing in Joseph Mankiewicz’s All about Eve (1950), as well as Jane and Blanche Hudson in the film that centres the attention of this article, Robert Aldrich’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), based on Henry Farrell’s novel published two years before under the same title. In most of these cases, the female protagonist of the film − an aging actress – dares challenge what Kathleen Woodward refers to as “the normative youth-old age system”2. As an aging performer, this heroine prepares her return to show business in spite of those who believe her appearance on the screen is no longer feasible, precisely owing to the ageist discourse that is assumed to pervade the star system. Having been praised as an enthralling object of the male gaze in the golden years of her youth, the aging actress then feels compelled to face the threat of invisibility on-screen as well as off-screen.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.