When I try to imagine a typical American family, the first image which comes to mind is that of a perfect family with beautiful (their teeth have to shine) and rich parents and beautiful and healthy children, who live happily in a small house somewhere in the countryside in a small village. A kind of Coca Cola or Hollywood chewing gum family, a part of the American dream. The studied films: Citizen Kane of O. Wells All about Eve of J. Mankiewicks,Hitchcock's Rear Window and Claughton's The Night of the Hunter show a completely different image of the American family and they criticize some American values. In these films couples are unmarried, divorced, children are often seen as a burden instead of a source of joy, men are macho, women naïve and submitted, there is almost any happy end. They reveal undoubtly a more contrasted and probably real image of the United States.
[...] Eve is the incarnation of ambition; she is ready to do everything to get a role in cinema and glory. To charm somebody who will be useful to her and be more useful than a producer of theatre and cinema, is in no way a problem. The last reason is probably the power and domination of one person over another. In Citizen Kane and The night of the hunter, men marry women thanks to or more exactly because of the domination that they exert on their future wives. [...]
[...] The father is apparently sometimes violent and the mother does not want to take the responsibility of educating the boy alone. Charles is obliged to leave the family home and we know all the consequences that will lead to. The second interesting example is the one of children in the Night of the hunter. Here, the children are almost opposed to the parents. They are probably a hope for the future: the first husband of Willa prefers to entrust the money to the children than to his wife because he thinks that they are cleverer than her. [...]
[...] Charles Kane is left by both his wives, the preacher kills Willa, Margo is still with her boyfriend but it is easy to see that they are in no way happy. The case of the Rear Window is the most interesting case for this theme. Everything looks as if Lisa and Jeff are finally happy: they seem to represent the perfect American and glamour couple of Hollywood; they are young very beautiful (especially Grace Kelly), famous, clever, act and behave as if they love together. [...]
[...] Claughton shows quite the same relationships between the preacher and Willa in The night of the hunter. Willa is completely under the domination of her husband. She accepts all his decisions (she even agrees to die) and he takes total the advantage of that. We can see through these couples how far their motivations from the “classical” ones are. Directors show the importance of money, glory and power in the American society. To get one of them people are ready to lie, cheat and feign love: these values are in reality more important than traditional ones. [...]
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