Not under my roof: Interracial relationships and black image in post-World War II film

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, Dissertations, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-25 20:47Z by Steven

Not under my roof: Interracial relationships and black image in post-World War II film

Northern Illinois University
56 pages
Publication Number: 10008811
ProQuest document ID: 1765648575
ISBN: 9781339455150

Andre Berchiolly

This thesis examines the historical implications of miscegenation and interracial interactions between minority males and white females in Post-World War II independent cinema. Elia Kazan’s studio film Pinky (1949) exemplifies the perceived acceptable studio representations of interracial coupling. My examination of Kazan’s film provides a starting point from which to evaluate other textual situations of interracial interaction, particularly in relation to casting. In contrast, Pierre Chenal’s adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son, Sangre Negra (1951) exhibits key differences in interracial depictions between studio productions and independent productions of that era. After a comparative analysis of Kazan’s and Chenal’s films, further exploration of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) as an unintentionally racialized film, allows for an investigation into the casting of Duane Jones and Judith O’Dea as the primary characters. An analysis of these three films permits an evaluation of depictions of miscegenation and interracial interactions through an independent lens, distinguishing between acceptable mainstream allowances (via institutionalize censorship) of such depictions, and the comparative freedoms allotted to independent productions. This thesis provides an overview of the limitations of studio productions and their failures to adhere to changing social conventions, broadening the current discourse of film analysis from more canonized Hollywood films to lesser known and lesser criticized independent films, as well as establishing an understanding of Western culture’s influence upon the censorship of racial depictions during this period.

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Dawn of the Different: The Mulatto Zombie in Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2012-08-02 02:45Z by Steven

Dawn of the Different: The Mulatto Zombie in Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead

The Journal of Popular Culture
Volume 45, Issue 3 (June 2012)
pages 551–571
DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5931.2012.00944.x

Justin Ponder

WHILE ZOMBIE FILMS DO NOT BLATANTLY FOCUS ON miscegenation or mulattos, interracial themes abound in them. In George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), Ben, a black man, saves Barbra, a white woman, from hordes of zombies. From this moment on, the film binds this interracial couple, casting them as partners attempting to survive the horrific attacks of the living dead. Cristina Isabel Pinedo (Recreational Terror: Women and the Pleasures of Horror Film Vieiwng) claims that “racial silence” is the film’s “structuring absence,” and this absence falls no more silent than the romance this interracial coupling implies (29). The film pairs the cantankerous and controlling Mr. Cooper with the long-suffering and submissive Mrs. Cooper while coupling the young, star-crossed lovers Tom and Judy. According to North American cinematic logic, one could safely assume that Ben and Barbra, the remaining adults, would fall in love by film’s end. While the late 60s might have been ready to see a black man save, protect, and even punch a white woman, the era apparently was not prepared to see him walk away hand-in-hand with her as innumerable zombies rise from the dead to keep Night’s black white couple from the normative romantic conclusion of North American cinema.

This romantic tension between black man and white woman continues in Romero’s 1978 Dawn of the Dead. The film focuses on four survivors: Fran, a resourceful news producer; Steve, a helicopter pilot and Fran’s lover; Roger, a S.W.A.T. team member; and Peter, a S.W.A.T. team member and the quartet’s only black man. Robin Wood (“Normality and Monsters: The Films of Larry Cohen and…

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