By M. Elise Marubbio
Killing the Indian Maiden examines the attention-grabbing and sometimes aggravating portrayal of local American girls in movie. via dialogue of thirty-four Hollywood motion pictures from the silent interval to the current, M. Elise Marubbio examines the sacrificial position of what she phrases the "Celluloid Maiden" -- a tender local girl who allies herself with a white male hero and dies due to that selection. Marubbio intertwines theories of colonization, gender, race, and picture reviews to flooring her learn in sociohistorical context all in an try to outline what it capacity to be an American. As Marubbio charts the constant depiction of the Celluloid Maiden, she uncovers fundamental characterizations -- the Celluloid Princess and the Sexualized Maiden. The archetype for the unique Celluloid Princess seems in silent movies reminiscent of Cecil B. DeMille's The Squaw guy (1914) and is punctiliously verified in American iconography in Delmer Daves's damaged Arrow (1950). Her extra erotic sister, the Sexualized Maiden, emerges as a femme fatale in such motion pictures as DeMille's North West fastened Police (1940), King Vidor's Duel within the solar (1946), and Charles Warren's Arrowhead (1953). the 2 characterizations ultimately mix to shape a hybrid Celluloid Maiden who first appears to be like in John Ford's The Searchers (1956) and reappears within the Nineteen Seventies and the Nineties in such movies as Arthur Penn's Little colossal guy (1970) and Michael Apted's Thunderheart (1992). Killing the Indian Maiden unearths a cultural iconography approximately local americans and their position within the frontier embedded within the American psyche. The local American girl is a racialized and sexualized different -- a conquerable physique representing either the seductions and the risks of the frontier. those movies exhibit her being colonized and anguish by the hands of appear future and American expansionism, yet Marubbio argues that the local American lady additionally represents a possibility to the assumption of a white the USA. The complexity and toughness of the Celluloid Maiden icon -- persisting into the twenty-first century -- symbolizes an id drawback concerning the composition of the yank nationwide physique that has performed persistently all through various eras and political climates. eventually, Marubbio establishes that the continuing illustration of the Celluloid Maiden signs the continued improvement and justification of yank colonialism.
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Extra info for Killing the Indian Maiden: Images of Native American Women in Film
Inaddition,thecharacteragainrecedesinto asecondarypositionintheplot,which,bytheendofthedecade,results initsminimalpresenceonscreen. The changes the character undergoesduringthedecademirrorthiscontroversialpoliticalclimate 16 Killing the Indian Maiden andregistertheattemptbysomeinHollywoodtovoicedissentabout growingcensorshipandconservatism. Moreovertlyracistdepictionsappearinaparticularlysadisticrun ofﬁlmsduringthe1940s,1950s,and1960s.
Early cinemainscribedmanyofthesecomplexissuesontheﬁgureoftheCelluloidPrincessand,throughherinteractionwithwhitesocietyandher violentdeath,reﬂectedtheanxietyandsocialturmoilthatmarkedthe earlytwentiethcentury. Sheisthe essenceofthenobleandvanishingsavagewhobridgestwoverydifferent culturesandworldviewsbutisunabletofullydivorceherselffromone culturetointegrateintotheother. 3Theideologyofwhiteracialandculturalsuperiority underliesthepoliticalformationoftheseviewsandsuggeststhatAmericancivilizationandprogressaresuperiortowhatwasdeemedsavagery, socialregression,andatbestculturalstasis.
4 This paradoxical need to recreate and continually reinforce the romanticized image of nineteenth-centurywesternfrontierAmericawhilealsopromotingthe economicandculturalforcesthatcauseditsdisappearancemanifested itselfinIndianandwesternﬁlms. Ofgreatimportancetothe subtextoftheﬁlms,themodeofdeathdiffers—thehelperiskilledwhile thelovercommitssuicide. Onthesurface,theseﬁlmsappearto support an assimilationist agenda and a romantic nostalgia for Native Americans; however, their structure and heavy reliance on the savage imageunderminesuchareadingandresultinavalidationofwestward expansion,conquest,andseparationofgroups.