All posts tagged: representation

SCARFACE and the Italian

In the United States during the early 1930s, Prohibition became a gateway for criminal activity that led to a fight for control over the different aspects of illegal goods and services. This new era of criminal underworld, brimming with riches ripe for the taking, attracted the likes of those such as Al Capone, Charles “Lucky” Luciano, and Frank Costello. America became fascinated with these gangsters and their illegal organizations, in part due to the economic status of the early 1930s, with the gangster representing a challenge to social institutions and the instability of the government and economy. Unlike the usual criminal, the gangster was smart and organized, an example of success and wealth, sought out public and media attention, and evolved into the embodiment of a Great Depression anti-hero.[1] Even though the Great Depression gravely impacted the United States’ economy and most industries, Hollywood managed to stay afloat through various marketing strategies and by providing a sought-after diversion.[2] To increase movie attendance, Hollywood quickly capitalized on America’s recent era of captivation with gangsters. Being the …

Angela Peticca is a recent graduate of Oakland University who minored in Cinema Studies.

Queer Christina: The Representation of LGBT Characters in Pre-Code Era Films

Historically, the representation of queer characters in film and onscreen is very poor. They are often one-dimensional stereotypes portrayed through gender inversions — the gay “pansy” or the “butch” lesbian. Despite the presence of LGBT persons in front of and behind the camera, showing homosexual characters in the early years of Hollywood “in anything but a degrading comic light” was “extremely rare.”[1] Queer characteristics were also often applied to the villains or monsters of early and classical Hollywood cinema to represent evil.[2] These demeaning representations lessened as Hollywood entered the pre-Code era. Homosexual and queer filmmakers and stars, such as Marlene Dietrich and arguably Greta Garbo, rose to fame, and studios grew more daring in the face of censorship, testing how far they could push the Production Code Administration and Studio Relations Committee in regards to the screen-time of banned topics. Although the Code prohibited “sex perversion,” which mainly concerned homosexuality, queer characters still appeared in pre-Code era films with alarming explicitness, growing less one-dimensional and more prominent, as particularly demonstrated in Morocco (1930), Queen …

Bushra Varachia is a Cinema Studies filmmaking major with a minor in Spanish. After graduation, she hopes to edit videos to help her pay her way through Europe. If she's not at Kresge Library, you can probably find her in her car, driving 2,000 miles to walk around some rocks and sleep on some dirt.