#1 [url]

Feb 16 17 8:42 AM

The more I think about history, costumes, and theater, the more I'm beginning to think that a lof of women's gestures and mannerism originated with men.  Women have been imitating masculine men AND feminine men all along!  A case in point: men used to wear high heels in the courts of Europe.   Women wore heels to be like the men.  Then, because the men didn't want to be like women, 'em brothers stopped wearing high heels!!

Another exmaple: Italian courtesans in the Renaissance learned to read and were permitted into libraries when the average wife and daughter were not because they needed to be able to converse with their male patrons.  The women had to read to be like the men so that they can be prized above other women with a skill that was reserved for men: reading!

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#2 [url]

Feb 17 17 2:13 AM

That actually makes sense.

In the Elisabethaen period in Britain, this back and forth gender expression imiation went so far that the queen had to introduce new laws to stop women from dressing up as men and vise versa. These laws described in detail what proper gendered attire should be. The reason for the laws was that the crossdressing threatende the Divine laws of gender segregation!

It is as if the two genders imitated each other in order to expand their "gender vocabulary", so to speak. The traditionalist rulers could not have that, obviously, even if they were commanded by a woman!

Last Edited By: jackmolay Feb 17 17 4:48 AM. Edited 1 time.

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#3 [url]

Feb 20 17 9:16 PM

I don't think, that reading and thinking made them "like men". I think reading makes anyone, who does that - deeper and more interesting person. I'm not saying, that anyone who doesn't read is stupid and shallow. It just requires a lot of various experiences to make up for lack of cultural education.

These courtesans, I believe, weren't bacoming more "manly", I doubt, they could've sell their services if they did. More, like in eyes of men they were becoming more more relatable. More, like "people".

To think about, throughout a history, men and women were often treated like different classes of people. Not different classes, actually, but "like different classes", mind. Yeah, they were treated, as inferior and subservient, but more importantly, they had different culture, they were allowed to learn and experience different range of culture (and create their own), most men weren't permitted to get into (or interested/) either. But they were still familiar with it. Two different cultures living together, inpenetrable, but inseparable breed special kind of contempt. A confusion.

Of course, they weren't immutable as we know today, there were cultural revolutions, and borders were redrawn. On the other hand, even periods, when men and women allowed to experiment fade and conservatism cements new developments as status quo. People often explorative and curious and their teens-twenties grow old and don't want their children to "do anything weird." Parenting is biologically-indiced behavior, after all.

Your mind is software. Program it.

Your body is a shell. Change it.
Death is a disease. Cure it.
Extinction is approaching. Fight it!

© "Eclipse Phase" by Posthuman Studios

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#4 [url]

Feb 21 17 11:46 AM

Crossdreaming-wise, Goodbye Charlie was a big deal for me, when I first caught it on TV, in the early 1980s. It pressed some, but not all, of my particular buttons (almost before I even knew I had them!) back then; for instance, you never really get much of a good look at the male Charlie to any great extent, nor his interaction with others, since he's shot and falls overboard at the very beginning of the movie... so all the contrast is from comments about what pre-transformation Charlie used to be like. Still, gender-swapping films were pretty rare then, even moreso than today, so you took what you could get. My favorite from those times was (and still is) Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971), mainly because it best achieves what it sets out to do, as a movie. But, really, apart from a few TV episodes (or bits from episodes), filmed MtF TG in the USA basically consisted of Turnabout (1940), Goodbye Charlie, Frankenstein Created Woman (1966), Myra Breckinridge (1970), The Christine Jorgensen Story (1970), Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde and I Want What I Want (1972)... and half of those weren't normally shown on TV.

Goodbye Charlie is professionally-made, I aesthetically like the era in which it was made, and Debbie Reynolds gives it her all, though I find her to be a bit too hyper and shrill, at times. Tony Curtis is okay, but comes across as a bit stiff and false to me. Though the film is a comic farce, like many early-1960s comedies, it isn't really all that clever or laugh-out-loud funny... and Walter Matthau's character seems to have walked in from a different, cartoonishly-broader comedy. Amazingly, I liked Pat Boone's "playboy" character, who had some potential, but was underutilized (he kind of gets crowded out by Curtis and Matthau). But the film does have its moments, mostly when Charlie emerges from his/her temporary amnesia and realizes what's happened, and a bit later, when some feminine thinking and behavior (stereotypical or not) start seeping into his/her mind. The ending (which I won't spoil) is pretty dopey, however. Still, it's overall better than Switch (1991). The low-budget, softcore unofficial remake, Cleo/Leo (1989), actually does the story better than both of its more-prestigeous rivals, despite its own deep flaws.

Sociology and gender politics aside, let's take a moment to look into a bit of film history and see what potentially might have been...

I did a little detective work (starting at Wikipedia, then verifying sources) on the production of Goodbye Charlie. If it had been filmed a few years earlier (in 1961), as originally intended, it might well have starred Marilyn Monroe as "Charlie" and James Garner in what became Tony Curtis' part, as both actors were offered the roles. Here's how they looked in 1961:

image            image

There's no information on who would've directed this version with Marilyn and Garner, though her last film at Fox, Let's Make Love (1960), as well as the Fox film in early production at the time of her death (though she had just been fired from it, due to personal problems), Something's Got to Give (intended for a 1962-1963 release), were both directed by George Cukor (The Women, Gaslight, Adam's Rib, My Fair Lady). As an interesting sidelight, the uncompleted Something's Got to Give was overhauled, retitled Move Over, Darling, and the male lead was played by James Garner (to have been played by Dean Martin in the Marilyn version). The stage play was apparently a somewhat different animal from the film version, though sharing the same overall plot, with a more androgynous Charlie, played on-stage by Lauren Bacall.

Goodbye Charlie was also offered, a bit later, to Billy Wilder to write/direct, but he turned it down, mainly because it was a 20th Century-Fox production (which had bought the rights to the play back in 1959, as a film vehicle for Monroe, before its Broadway debut)... a place where Wilder now refused to work. Wilder had previously made The Seven Year Itch (1955) at Fox, but by this time was writing/directing hits (Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, One, Two, Three) for United Artists (which offered much creative freedom), and didn't like the fact that Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck was forcing director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, to cut down his troubled epic, Cleopatra (1963), and feared he'd be working under similar restrictive conditions. The Seven Year Itch was an adaptation of a play by George Axelrod, later the author of Goodbye Charlie. One would assume that, had Wilder accepted the assignment to direct Goodbye Charlie, his likely co-writers on the film would be both Axelrod (who was then riding high from scipting Breakfast at Tiffany's) and Wilder's main collaborator during this period, screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond (Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, One, Two, Three, Irma la Douce, Kiss Me, Stupid, The Fortune Cookie).

By this time, however, Marilyn Monroe was already dead, so it's anybody's guess as to who would've been "Charlie" in this alternative universe... Wilder could've chosen to re-team Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon from two of his previous hits (The Apartment, Irma la Douce), or perhaps he, too, would've cast Debbie Reynolds, or maybe he'd use Kim Novak, ahead of (or in place of) his film, Kiss Me, Stupid (1964). Interestingly, Kiss, Me Stupid, which was a flop, was notorious in its day for pushing the envelope on what was considered tasteless and vulgar for a Hollywood film. One can speculate that Goodbye Charlie, as co-written and directed by Wilder, would certainly be sharper, wittier and more sophisticated in its humor than what we ended up getting from director Vincent Minnelli and screenwriter Harry Kurnitz (though Kurnitz did previously collaborate with Wilder on the courtroom classic, Witness for the Prosecution), and possibly more daring.

 

Here's a photo of Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine during the filming of Irma la Douce, and Kim Novak in a color publicity shot for Kiss Me, Stupid (which was filmed in black and white):

image            image

For further reading, take a look at this interesting blogged film review/overview of the film version of Goodbye Charlie, largely focusing on its place in the career of director Vincent Minnelli.

Though the various constellations ultimately wouldn't align, for a number of reasons, outlined above, just imagine what a Billy Wilder production of Goodbye Charlie, starring Marilyn and Garner, would've been like... especially just a couple of years after Some Like It Hot! I'd love to see that version! image

Last Edited By: Lassitude2 Feb 21 17 12:09 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#5 [url]

Feb 21 17 1:41 PM

lal2828 wrote:
Women have been imitating masculine men AND feminine men all along!  A case in point: men used to wear high heels in the courts of Europe.   Women wore heels to be like the men.  Then, because the men didn't want to be like women, 'em brothers stopped wearing high heels!!
 

Men used to wear wigs and makeup as well.


I took the time to watch 'Goodbye Charlie' and honestly wasn't much of a fan. A lot of my feelings about it I think is generational. The movie is well before my time, and in general, I'm not much of a fan of 60's style acting and cinema. I feel like back then the acting and mannerisms of the characters were so exaggerated that it doesn't feel natural. I'm sure some will disagree with me, but I digress...

If you're looking for some gender-bending conflict, I feel like this movie does not hit the mark. After the initial shock of the change, Charlie is way to quick to accepting and embracing his new identity. So much so that it creates almost no tension in the plot of the movie. All the plot tension is based around Charlie's character flaws in general that really had nothing to do with gender. Charlie is so quick to move on from his old life that it almost didn't take long for me to forget that he/she used to be a man.

Honestly, I thought that Walter Matthau was a lousy antagonist. The ending was weak, and quite frankly, didn't make a lot of sense. Debbie Reynolds was ok, but I felt like her performance slipped way to comfortably into being feminine. There were never really any moments that felt like 'this is a guy who is trying learn to be a woman.' 

I dunno, I liked 'Sam' better. Again, I'm sure some will disagree with me. It just didn't scratch my itch for what I like to see in a gender-bending story.

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#6 [url]

Feb 21 17 1:53 PM

I was watching the CNN series on the 1980s the other night. This particular episode covered the music scene during that decade. I already knew that a lot of the male musicians in that era were rather androgynous or even feminine looking, but seeing it all concentrated into an hour long program just reinforced that idea even more. I was especially surprised by how much makeup they wore in those days.

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