Author: Aimee Ginez

Bette Davis: Commodifying the Feminine

Hollywood has always been a business, and for most studios in the early 20th century their main profit drivers were the men and women who brought films to life on screen: the actor. In the days of early silent films, actors were largely anonymous thanks to the scattered system of film distribution that was in place at the nascence of film as a media industry. Once audiences began to recognize actors in different roles from film to film, studios began to realize that the recognition of stars by audiences could be used to market films to audiences. Thus, star images became one of the most useful and effective tools studios could use to market their products. By the time Bette Davis came to prominence at Warner Bros., the studio already had a system in place for the promotion and maintenance of their own stars through star images and star personas.[1] Star images tended to follow a set trajectory depending on whether or not the actor was male or female; in the studios’ eyes, it was …

Aimee Ginez is a graduating senior and Cinema Studies major.

Vittorio De Sica and Italian Neorealism

After the end of World War II, several countries experienced a great post-war economic growth. However, not every country was so fortunate. Italy struggled to get back on its feet. Its citizens no longer believed or trusted those in power to make the right decisions on their behalf. Italian Neorealism rose to popularity as a result of the anxieties of an entire nation trying to come to terms with the war it had just been involved in. In trying to reconcile the terrors it had seen, the people of Italy staunchly rejected the war films and historical epics that they had been used to before the war. Instead, Italians turned toward Italian Neorealism, a genre which was used as a kind of exposure therapy to help Italians process the effects of the war. While Italy did not suffer the same kind of devastation as Germany or Britain did, the war still left substantial scars on the country. This is something that many Italian neorealist directors took great advantage of.[1] In Bicycle Thieves (1948), Vittorio De …

Aimee Ginez is a graduating senior and Cinema Studies major.

BULLETS OR BALLOTS: The Gangster as the Antithesis of the American Dream

The American Dream is that mythical idea that every American citizen wants to achieve: a house, a picket fence, two cars in the garage, and 2.5 kids to play on the perfectly manicured green lawn out front. But this dream was proved as nothing more than a dream with the coming of The Great Depression. Bullets or Ballots, released in 1936 by Warner Brothers  and directed by William Keighley stars Edward G. Robinson as Johnny Blake. Bullets or Ballots tells the story of a police investigation into a racketeering ring, and follows Johnny Blake, a retired detective who is pulled back into the force in order to infiltrate the racketeering ring and find out who is responsible for it. Bullets or Ballots, according to its original script, was poised to be another entry into Robinson’s long line of gangster films, alongside work like Little Caesar (LeRoy 1931) and Kid Galahad (Curtiz 1937). Once the Production Code Administration realized this, they refused to approve the film unless heavy changes were made to the script. The Production …

Aimee Ginez is a graduating senior and Cinema Studies major.