Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Classic HollywoodLifestyles and Film Styles of American Cinema, 1930-1960$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Veronica Pravadelli

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038778

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038778.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 15 January 2021

Excess, Spectacle, Sensation

Excess, Spectacle, Sensation

Family Melodrama in the 1950s

(p.128) 5 Excess, Spectacle, Sensation
Classic Hollywood

Veronica Pravadelli

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines 1950s cinema in terms of family melodrama. It interprets the genre in light of the convergence between the decade's new spectacular visual style and the image of the suburban family, which is the dominant lifestyle of 1950s America. By discussing in particular the discourse on masculinity, it argues that melodrama's visual style and narrative contradictions endorse the belief that sexuality is an essential component of human nature. Meanwhile, family melodrama is not a critique of the suburban ideology, as critics have often argued. Rather, it expresses the “difficulty of gender.” The genre's tendency to focus on a community rather on an individual or a couple is instrumental to the representation of competing models of identity, for men and women alike.

Keywords:   family melodrama, suburban family, masculinity, sexuality, identity, 1950s cinema

Illinois Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.