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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 3, March 1978
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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 3, March 1978 - Page 7. March 1978. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. November 18, 2019. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1189/show/1171.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(March 1978). Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 3, March 1978 - Page 7. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1189/show/1171

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 3, March 1978 - Page 7, March 1978, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed November 18, 2019, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1189/show/1171.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 3, March 1978
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date March 1978
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
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Title Page 7
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File Name femin_201109_538g.jpg
Transcript From reverence to rape... With the Academy Awards coming up, Breakthrough film critic Victoria Hodge Lightman interviews Molly Haskell, New York film critic and author of From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in Movies. By Victoria Hodge Lightman Lightman: How did you get started as a film critic? Haskell: I started at the Village Voice as a theatre reviewer in 1968. I'd always been interested in both theatre and film, had seen a lot of plays and movies and actually had wanted to write plays at that time. Andrew Sarris was doing the movie reviews then, but he wanted to expand the coverage so he got me and several others to serve as second stringers. So I got into movies and I really felt that film was a lot more interesting then, and still is, than what's going on in theatre. I did reviews for the Voice until last year when I went to New York magazine. Lightman: Did you always write feminist criticism? Haskell: In the late 60s and early 70s I became more and more interested in feminism and the subject of women in movies, particularly because there were so few at that time. It struck me as ironic that at the height of the women's movement, suddenly, there were fewer women in film and worse parts for them. I was interested in that, but at the same time I was trying to-and still try to-be a film critic first and a feminist second. That is, not to introduce the feminist angle when it's not relevant. Now that I'm writing for New York magazine I have to be even more careful what I'm writing because I am writing for a general audience. At the Voice I could indulge in more feminist critique. JANE FONDA "Julia" Also, once you feel that a move has been made in the right direction you can lay off a little. Now women have gotten into movies as actresses and directors and writers to such an extent that we don't need to either make apologies for them or bend over backwards to find something good to say about them. I think now they can stand on their own with the work of men. Certainly this last year women have outshone men by a huge margin in films. Lightman: Do you see this reinvolvement of women in films as a cycle repeating itself, or something completely different? Haskell: There are cycles that come into vogue at one time, but it's never quite the same. For instance, I think we've come out of the whole thing of realism. Taxi Driver was the final of the period of that genre. One of the reasons there weren't very many women was because the kind of films and the kind of characters that were popular were disaffected types like Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. There's a reason these kinds of people come into fashion. I think they're all brilliant actors, but you do begin to see a pattern. Now, I think there is a reconciliation and I do think these things operate in cycles. Maybe it means that men and women are coming back together, in some way; that there is a truce and there will be male-female screenplays. I really do think things are looking up. I keep seeing women screenwriting credits. There's a film called Casey's Shadow, sort of a family film with Walter Matthau as an old Cajun horse trainer. A woman wrote the screenplay, Alexis Smith plays this very strong horsewoman and there's a girl jockey-back to National Velvet-so I think there has suddenly been a turnaround. There was a lot of talk at one time about this male conspiracy in Hollywood. I don't think it was really that as much as people there not knowing what they were doing. They were just going for broke— for the blockbuster. The really adult films about men and women are not blockbuster material; they're not Jaws and they're not things that are going to scare you and make you leap out of your seat. The fact that Julia was so successful is the best thing that could have happened. Whatever reservations I may have about Julia, I was just delighted that a film as serious and down-beat as that could be a hit. The Goodbye Girl is a hit because it's back to the 50s and that to me is retrogressive. I don't really mind it... well, I suppose I do in a way, because all those things that are good about the An Unmarried Woman is my all time favorite film. It probably hasn't opened there in Houston yet. Well, it hasn't opened here yet either-I jumped the gun on that one. But it's funny, because whenever I would lecture, people would ask so what should there be? I don't think there have to be positive films about women or negative films or this or that. Just write the roles, have films with women and the positive and negative will take care of themselves. But if ever I would have to say what the film would be, I think An Unmarried Woman would be it. You know from my review it was exciting and, in the end, she does stay with her job. That's the thing that is going to see her through-not the man. And yet it's romantic, too. What's interesting about films now is that it's suddenly all right to be alone at the end, like in Annie Hall. Even the most hopelessly romantic people accepted that ending, accepted them separating at the end. You somehow knew they really could love each other better that way than if they lived together. There is a realization that all sorts of other arrangements-never dreamed of by Hollywood or the Production Code—are possible between men and women, men and men, women and women. DIANE KEATON "Annie Hall" "I thought Diane Keaton was great in Annie Hall, but I thought she was even just sublime and extraordinary in Looking for Mr. Goodbar." Lightman: Do you think that feminism is in vogue now? Haskell: Hollywood has always had a sort of delayed reaction to things. You need a little time to sift through the material and let it settle and digest your own feelings about it. I think that now they're ready to deal with it. I think films are going to have to be about women who are working because most women will be working. It's just a matter of reflecting reality. I think that's what is interesting about people liking The Goodbye Girl, because it is a throwback; it's unreal. It goes back to a time "Whatever reservations I may have about Julia, I was just delighted that a film as serious and down-beat as that could be a hit." others are what's missing in The Goodbye Girl. There's no sense of reality of a woman having to work. This is a woman who's the old doormat. When a man comes in, then her life lights up and then he leaves and she mopes around. She never really pulls herself together. Everything is all wisecracking and gags. So, you never feel any of the pathos underneath or any kind of 70s reality, the kind of things An Unmarried Woman has in it. when the woman was waiting for the man. I think this is a generational thing. The older men who are writing, because of the way they were brought up and the way they were conditioned, will see women in a different way than the young men coming along. This doesn't mean there won't be misogyny and they won't have problems relating to women, but I think they will automatically accept women working. This will not threaten them. Inevitably, women will be playing a great many more roles in the movies of the future. It comes down to individual directors and their attitudes. I think Mazursky, who made An Unmarried Woman, is still very unusual because fundamentally there is a great deal of hostility between the sexes in America. It's disguised, but I think it's there. There's a lot of fear and there is bound to be fear on the part of men now because they're losing that automatic supremacy they once had. Now there are all these actresses that people want to see and projects will be found for them, and this serves as a check on what our director's instinctual misogyny is. If certain things are imposed on him he can't express it as freely. Lightman: What about the questions you leave us with at the end of your book: "Where, oh where, is the camaraderie, the much-vaunted mutual support among women? It was there in the twenties...the thirties...the forties...and even the fifties. But where, in the movies and out, are their modern equivalents?" Haskell: People criticize that paragraph because you're supposed to say that now sisterhood is everything and women really were getting along better. I think that is what was exciting about The Turning Point,whatever you may think of it, it's kind of classy soap opera, a fun film, but at least you have these Page 6 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH March 1978