I Do and I Don't: A History of Marriage in the Movies

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Alfred A. Knopf, 2012 - Performing Arts - 395 pages
17 Reviews

From one of our leading film historians and interpreters: a brilliantly researched, irresistibly witty, delightfully illustrated examination of “the marriage movie”; what it is (or isn't) and what it has to tell us about the movies—and ourselves.

As long as there have been feature movies there have been marriage movies, and yet Hollywood has always been cautious about how to label them—perhaps because, unlike any other genre of film, the marriage movie resonates directly with the experience of almost every adult coming to see it. Here is “happily ever after”—except when things aren't happy, and when “ever after” is abruptly terminated by divorce, tragedy . . . or even murder. With her large-hearted understanding of how movies—and audiences—work, Jeanine Basinger traces the many ways Hollywood has tussled with this tricky subject, explicating the relationships of countless marriages from Blondie and Dagwood to the heartrending couple in the Iranian A Separation, from Tracy and Hepburn to Laurel and Hardy (a marriage if ever there was one) to Coach and his wife in Friday Night Lights.
A treasure trove of insight and sympathy, illustrated with scores of wonderfully telling movie stills, posters, and ads.


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Review: I Do and I Don't: A History of Marriage in the Movies

User Review  - Kate Baxter - Goodreads

Very interesting and some intelligent comments about the portrayal of men, women and sex in the movies. Her comments about why so called romcoms today fail totally is right on. However, she misses the ... Read full review

Review: I Do and I Don't: A History of Marriage in the Movies

User Review  - Sally - Goodreads

This was a very disappointing book. Although Basinger has seen a lot of movies and has great enthusiasm for them, the analysis that she applies and the conclusions that she comes to are very ... Read full review


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About the author (2012)

Jeanine Basinger is the chair of film studies at Wesleyan University and the curator of the cinema archives there. She has written nine other books on film, including A Woman's View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women, 1930–1960; Silent Stars, winner of the William K. Everson Film History Award; Anthony Mann; The World War II Combat Film: Anatomy of a Genre; and American Cinema: One Hundred Years of Filmmaking, the companion book for a ten-part PBS series.

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