Cavell and A Star is Born

“In his book “Pursuits of Happiness,” the philosopher Stanley Cavell offers a brilliant analysis on a handful of sexy, funny Hollywood romantic comedies from the 1930s and ’40s. For Cavell, these films (like “The Philadelphia Story”) involve the creation of “the so-called new woman, the woman of equality.” Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant aren’t just bickering in “His Girl Friday;” they are optimistic participants in the comedy of equality. A generation after American women won the right to vote, these films, Cavell persuasively argues, show us our fantasies, expressing “the inner agenda of a nation that conceives Utopian longings and commitments for itself.'”

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