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
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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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DieFledermaus - LibraryThing

I Do and I Don’t is an examination of the “marriage movie” from the silent era to contemporary films. It’s very readable and the analysis of individual films is good but sometimes the organization is ... Read full review

I DO AND I DON'T: A History of Marriage in the Movies

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Exhaustive, entertaining take on how the silver screen has portrayed wedded bliss and wedded misery.Marriage was a problem for Hollywood and its main business of putting people in theater seats. True ... 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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