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Re: Rancho Notorious virgins

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  • Blake Lucas
    ... the Beth Forbes ... I thought this line did simply refer to the rape. when it is compounded with Beth s floral ... toward Beth s ... Maybe, because the
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 8 12:44 PM
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      --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Ken Eisenstein <kbe@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > When the doctor speaks to Vern upon Vern's return to the scene of
      the Beth Forbes
      > crime, he says:
      >
      > "I don't know how to tell you this - She - wasn't spared anything"
      > (Eisner, Fritz Lang, p. 303)
      >
      > While that could simply refer to the rape,

      I thought this line did simply refer to the rape.

      when it is compounded with Beth's floral
      > brooch being torn off, Lang seems to be upping the deflowering
      toward Beth's
      > virginity.
      >
      Maybe, because the brooch was a symbol of the marriage Vern and Beth
      will never have...(and in that way we understand its great importance
      to Vern during the course of the film, beyond its proof of the man
      he's seeking).

      But it seems to me to intimate the brooch==her virginity is another
      jump and one that's only arguably one Lang is making. Against that
      is my own earlier suggestion about the actual feeling of the scene
      between Vern and Beth, and beyond that, Peter Henne's own sense of
      the scene as eloquently expressed in his own post. I always dislike
      going beyond the tone and texture of scenes/films just for the sake
      of an interpretation that might suit an ideological purpose. Many
      feminist ideological critics in the 70s and beyond were always
      willing to do this and that's one reason I reacted to some of their
      writing with distaste.

      One point I'd hoped to make before is that it shouldn't really matter
      whether a woman is a virgin or not in a film. In a "repressive"
      society in which many films were made, the "sluttish" non-virgin was
      (supposed to be, though good filmmakers did not fall into this trap)
      morally condemned for her sexual ways. In a later time, it's the
      virgin, who is considered some vapid goody-goody who doesn't know
      what life is all about. But surely either woman is "sexual"--simply
      with different life experiences up to the point we see them in a film.
      To define people's sexuality narrowly, with attendant moral
      judgements, is kind of adolescent, isn't it?

      So I don't know whether Beth was a virgin or not, only that this
      didn't seem to be an issue for her--that she wanted to be and
      intended to be married was clear. And I don't think her virginity or
      lack of it is an issue for Lang either, the brooch having the
      resonance we want it to have in any event. In the same way, Altar's
      own sexually free life is not something Lang celebrates or condemns
      --the film has much deeper things on its mind than that.

      Blake Lucas
      (author of entry "Key Scene-The Final Spin of the Wheel/RANCHO
      NOTORIOUS in DEFINING MOMENTS IN MOVIES aka THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK:
      MOVIES)
    • Ken Eisenstein
      ... It does. But what she was spared is something the doctor might be able to tell. ... Sure. But all good art is supposed to make you jump. ... except that
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 8 1:44 PM
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        > >
        > > "I don't know how to tell you this - She - wasn't
        > spared anything"
        > > (Eisner, Fritz Lang, p. 303)
        > >
        > > While that could simply refer to the rape,
        >
        > I thought this line did simply refer to the rape.




        It does. But what she was spared is something the doctor might be able to tell.





        >
        > when it is compounded with Beth's floral
        > > brooch being torn off, Lang seems to be upping the
        > deflowering
        > toward Beth's
        > > virginity.
        > >
        > Maybe, because the brooch was a symbol of the
        > marriage Vern and Beth
        > will never have...(and in that way we understand its
        > great importance
        > to Vern during the course of the film, beyond its
        > proof of the man
        > he's seeking).
        >
        > But it seems to me to intimate the brooch==her
        > virginity is another
        > jump and one that's only arguably one Lang is
        > making.


        Sure. But all good art is supposed to make you jump.



        > So I don't know whether Beth was a virgin or not,
        > only that this
        > didn't seem to be an issue for her--that she wanted
        > to be and
        > intended to be married was clear. And I don't think
        > her virginity or
        > lack of it is an issue for Lang either,


        except that it furthers the greatness of the pairing of Vern and Frenchy
        Fairmont. I think it is Vern who has a line about there only being one woman
        for a man, and after that...
        That Vern's one is one thing and Frenchy's another deepens the pair.
      • Blake Lucas
        ... able to tell. Wait a minute. As you correctly quote him above, she WASN T spared anything. (So I don t understand what she was spared above but assume
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 8 2:53 PM
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          --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Ken Eisenstein <kbe@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          >
          > > >
          > > > "I don't know how to tell you this - She - wasn't
          > > spared anything"
          > > > (Eisner, Fritz Lang, p. 303)
          > > >
          > > > While that could simply refer to the rape,
          > >
          > > I thought this line did simply refer to the rape.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > It does. But what she was spared is something the doctor might be
          able to tell.

          Wait a minute. As you correctly quote him above, she WASN'T spared
          anything. (So I don't understand "what she was spared" above but
          assume you meant this differently--maybe "what she wasn't spared").

          I'm sure we'd agree it is not more desirable to be raped and then
          killed as a non-virgin than as a virgin. Neither victim could be
          seen as "spared anything" it seems to me.
          >
          >
          >>
          > Sure. But all good art is supposed to make you jump.

          No argument with that. But here I prefer to jump to the ambiguity
          on this point, since the "one woman" idea you refer to below refers
          to the woman and not her virginity or lack of it. If Vern and
          Frenchy are paired here, then Altar and Beth are not opposed. And
          that resonates against my sense of the whole film.
          >
          >
          >
          > > So I don't know whether Beth was a virgin or not,
          > > only that this
          > > didn't seem to be an issue for her--that she wanted
          > > to be and
          > > intended to be married was clear. And I don't think
          > > her virginity or
          > > lack of it is an issue for Lang either,
          >
          >
          > except that it furthers the greatness of the pairing of Vern and
          Frenchy
          > Fairmont. I think it is Vern who has a line about there only being
          one woman
          > for a man, and after that...
          > That Vern's one is one thing and Frenchy's another deepens the pair.
          >
          I'm pretty sure it was Frenchy who said that line. But at another
          point Vern memorably says to Altar "No...I have no girl."

          I like what you say about Vern and Frenchy, Ken.

          Blake
        • Ken Eisenstein
          ... Sorry about that typo. Yes, what I meant to write was: But what she wasN T spared... The doc is suggesting that in addition to her life, she wasn t
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 8 6:41 PM
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            > "I don't know how to tell you this - She -
            > wasn't spared anything"
            > (Eisner, Fritz Lang, p. 303)
            >
            > While that could simply refer to the rape,
            >
            > > > I thought this line did simply refer to the rape.
            >
            >
            >
            > It does. But what she was spared is something the
            > doctor might be
            > able to tell.
            >
            > > Wait a minute. As you correctly quote him above, she
            >> WASN'T spared
            >> anything. (So I don't understand "what she was
            >> spared" above but
            >> assume you meant this differently--maybe "what she
            >> wasn't spared").



            Sorry about that typo.
            Yes, what I meant to write was:

            "But what she wasN'T spared..."

            The doc is suggesting that in addition to her life, she wasn't spared the dignity
            of deciding whom she has intercourse with; but maybe he also has a guess
            whether this was her first time or not, in which case she also wasn't spared her
            virginity.



            looking forward to checking out your entry on Rancho in the Fujiwara.
            thanks for the tip.

            Ken
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