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 An Investigation of the Filmic Representation of Gender 
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This thread's goal is to investigate representational contexts and the nature of their representational practices, so as to scrutinize how films represent gender, sexuality, and power relations between the sexes.
It will include a few definitions, a list of gender stereotypes, a few reflections, articles on gender representation in the media, gender-related movie tropes and personal analyses of female (and male but mostly female) characters in specific films.
Of course, everyone is welcome to contribute to this thread by giving their opinion or by posting relevant content as I am far from being a specialist in this area.


Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:28 am
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Interesting.


Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:33 am
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:)


Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:35 am
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Good stuff, I'll be reading.


Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:36 am
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Gender is an extremely interesting topic for me so I'll definitely be paying attention.

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Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:36 am
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Two obvious points of interest for me are how women are depicted in 1.) Pre-code movies and 2.) Film Noir.

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Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:37 am
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dreiser wrote:
Two obvious points of interest for me are how women are depicted in 1.) Pre-code movies and 2.) Film Noir.


Slap that bitch.

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Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:38 am
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Ooh, nice.

I read this recently, in preparation for my own thread:

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Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:41 am
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-A gender difference is a distinction of biological and physiological characteristics typically associated with either males or females of a species in general.

-Gender roles refer to the set of social and behavioral norms that are widely considered to be socially appropriate for individuals of a specific sex in the context of a specific culture, which differ widely between cultures and over time. There are differences of opinion as to whether observed gender differences in behavior and personality characteristics are, at least in part, due to cultural or social factors, and therefore, the product of socialization experiences, or to what extent gender differences are due to biological and physiological differences.

-Feminism refers to movements aimed at establishing and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights. Feminism is mainly focused on women's issues, but because feminism seeks gender equality, some feminists argue that men's liberation is therefore a necessary part of feminism, and that men are also harmed by sexism and gender roles. Feminists—that is, persons practicing feminism—can be persons of either sex.

-Sexism, a term coined in the mid-20th century, is the belief or attitude that one sex is inherently superior to, more competent than, or more valuable than the other. It can also include this type of discrimination in regards to gender. Sexism primarily involves hatred of, or prejudice towards, either sex as a whole (see misogyny and misandry), or the application of stereotypes of masculinity in relation to men, or of femininity in relation to women.

-Sexual objectification refers to the practice of regarding or treating another person merely as an instrument (object) towards one's sexual pleasure, and a sex object is a person who is regarded simply as an object of sexual gratification or who is sexually attractive. Objectification is an attitude that regards a person as a commodity or as an object for use, with insufficient regard for a person's personality. Objectification is most commonly examined at a societal level, but can also arise at an individual level.


Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:42 am
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Nice presentation, and interesting stuff.


Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:44 am
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dreiser wrote:
Two obvious points of interest for me are how women are depicted in 1.) Pre-code movies and 2.) Film Noir.


I'm not sure there will be a lot of original content on that subject (I haven't watched a lot of pre-code movies or films noirs yet), but I will at least make sure to find and summarize articles on that subject in this thread.


Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:47 am
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dreiser wrote:
Two obvious points of interest for me are how women are depicted in 1.) Pre-code movies and 2.) Film Noir.


:up:

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Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:48 am
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Trevor wrote:

Slap that bitch.


Misogyny is pervasive for sure, but I'm more interested in characterizations where women are independent, tough, scheming, and sexually aggressive.

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New Rose Hotel (Ferrara, 1998) 3/10


Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:49 am
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Excellent. Will you be observing sexual orientation and how it is depicted as well?


Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:51 am
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dreiser wrote:

Misogyny is pervasive for sure, but I'm more interested in characterizations where women are independent, tough, scheming, and sexually aggressive.


Duly noted. :)


Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:51 am
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strykes wrote:
Excellent. Will you be observing sexual orientation and how it is depicted as well?


I will mainly focus on gender, but I may touch the subject of sexual orientation if it is relevant.


Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:53 am
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La Spectatrice Deviante wrote:

I will mainly focus on gender, but I may touch the subject of sexual orientation if it is relevant.

Looking forward to it


Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:10 am
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Very interesting!

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Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:15 am
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Urgh, women.

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Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:52 am
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wimmen ain't nuthin but bitches n tricks.

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Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:59 am
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That banner is turning me on.

/objectification


Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:17 am
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Iiiiiiiinteresting.


Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:17 am
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Disregard females acquire currency?

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Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:28 am
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getrhythm wrote:
wimmen ain't nuthin but bitches n tricks.

Vocabs! :heart:


Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:57 am
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Kewl.


Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:06 am
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Hey, Dinosaurus has a woman who faints underwater. And a caveman who doesn't know how to roast a rabbit on a spit without her help. :roll:

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Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:09 am
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Gort wrote:
Hey, Dinosaurus has a woman who faints underwater. And a caveman who doesn't know how to roast a rabbit on a spit without her help. :roll:

Ahem. "Dinosaurus!"

:P

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Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:23 pm
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Mod Hip wrote:
Ahem. "Dinosaurus!"

:P

It's true I forgot the !

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Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:51 pm
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The Male Gaze
In the essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema", Laura Mulvey introduced the concept of The Male Gaze as a feature of power asymmetry. Theoretically, the male gaze has much influenced feminist film theory and communications media studies. In film, the male gaze occurs when the audience is put into the perspective of a heterosexual man. A scene may linger on the curves of a woman's body, for instance. Laura Mulvey argues that the male gaze takes precedence over the female gaze. This can be reinterpreted as that the subjective male construction of feminine identity has too much prevalence over the subjective female construction of male identities.

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Examples of the Male Gaze in advertising


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Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:09 pm
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The Male Gaze

The Male Gaze is a term from Gaze theory that describes the tendency of works to assume a male viewpoint even if it does not have a specific narrative Point Of View, and in particular the tendency of works to present female (or male, depending on the director's tendencies) characters as subjects of implicitly male visual appreciation.

This viewpoint is often a result of Most Writers Are Male, and/or a (possibly unconscious) assumption that the audience is mostly or exclusively male, but is sometimes enforced by the money people to appeal to potential consumers, even in works by women or intended for a female audience. One of the reasons for this is that advertisers prefer shows targeted to young men, because young men are more easily swayed by advertising.

Common symptoms of Male Gaze include assuming that the audience will identify or empathize primarily with male characters, and will have typically male experiences, preferences and expectations. (The former is actually enforced in Young Adult publishing, as it is an accepted fact that boys dislike reading books about girls and thus general-audience YA novels must have male leads.)

One of the most obvious results of Male Gaze is the way a (usually male) director/cameraman's interest in women informs his shots, leading to a focus on breasts, asses and other jiggly bits even when the film isn't necessarily supposed to be a T&A-fest. For example, a sex scene between a man and a woman may show more of her body than it does of his, or focus more on her reactions than his (see Right Through His Pants). Alternatively, it could appear in shows that aren't overtly sexual - for example, scenes of bikini-clad female characters talking that emphasize their bodies rather than showing just their heads.

The Male Gaze Trope article


Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:18 pm
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Awesome. I'll be commenting more in-depth when I'm fully awake!

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Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:52 pm
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Are men really more easily swayed by advertising? I mean, I'm not questioning LSD's post, but rather wondering if that's truth or an advertising myth.

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Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:19 am
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Alex J. Murphy wrote:
Are men really more easily swayed by advertising? I mean, I'm not questioning LSD's post, but rather wondering if that's truth or an advertising myth.


I'm checking out studies that either confirm or infirm this. I'll get back to you if I find anything.


Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:49 am
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La Spectatrice Deviante wrote:

I'm checking out studies that either confirm or infirm this. I'll get back to you if I find anything.


Sweet :up:

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Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:53 am
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Alex J. Murphy wrote:

Sweet :up:


I didn't find anything.
I know that I'm generalizing male behavior here (and correct me if I'm wrong), but I would think that many men just want to get out of the store as soon as possible so they take the first product that look familiar to them (because of advertising) on the shelf. However, I think it's not always the case (e.g. computer equipement, cars, electronics...).

In other words, I would say that men do not care about most of the consumer products that are heavily advertised (food with a few exceptions, beauty and health products...).


Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:04 am
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La Spectatrice Deviante wrote:

I didn't find anything.
I know that I'm generalizing male behavior here (and correct me if I'm wrong), but I would think that many men just want to get out of the store as soon as possible so they take the first product that look familiar to them (because of advertising) on the shelf. However, I think it's not always the case (e.g. computer equipment, cars, electronics...).

In other words, I would say that men do not care about most of the consumer products that are heavily advertised (food with a few exceptions, beauty and health products...).

This may inform your thoughts a bit. Let's see:

I cannot recall the author or her book, but I once read a very good tome on the differences between male use of language and female use of language in North America. Points that I recall that may impinge upon male susceptibility to advertising follow.

1) Women use language not so much for communicating facts and points (although they do this, of course) as for getting the vibe. In other words, two women talking or a woman talking to a man will be more focused on whether "we are having a good time" in the conversation. How does it feel? On the other hand,

2) Men are more hierarchical as they talk. Two men talking, or a gaggle of men talking, or a man talking to a woman will be speaking in terms of "best" "strongest" "most expensive" and so forth. Men's conversations often take on the aspect of a verbal pissing contest (I can attest that this is too often the case) and passing back and forth of facts. How you feel, or how the other guys feel, or whether you're having a good time talking is not ignored exactly, but it isn't the point of the conversation.

Based on this rough sketch of differences, perhaps the advertising myth stems from this (many advertising execs are men) tendency to go hierarchical. Thus, if you can "position" your advertised widget as "the best" "the sexiest" "the one most likely to get your fat, acne-scarred face across the restaurant table from that Hollywood starlet-to-be" (yeeah, dream on), then males might be tempted to look for it.

Personally, I think budget is often the deciding factor. For example when I was younger I had plenty of money, and wanted to spend time not shopping. To accomplish this I'd go to an upscale department store in Memphis where people would help me select my merchandise, rather than to the money-saving but time-consuming discount house where I had to track the wild merchandise largely on my own. When I had kids and a wife and less disposable income (although many more bucks gross income) I tended to go to the discount house, comparison shop, and buy the cheapest I felt like would be usable.

Am I completely average? As Mr Carmady and I apparently agreed upon, there is no average or normal. :D

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Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:21 am
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La Spectatrice Deviante wrote:

I didn't find anything.
I know that I'm generalizing male behavior here (and correct me if I'm wrong), but I would think that many men just want to get out of the store as soon as possible so they take the first product that look familiar to them (because of advertising) on the shelf. However, I think it's not always the case (e.g. computer equipement, cars, electronics...).

In other words, I would say that men do not care about most of the consumer products that are heavily advertised (food with a few exceptions, beauty and health products...).


Well, it depends a lot on the product in question, I think. Gort's right, budget is one big factor, but another big factor is understanding and comfort level. I can't speak about everyone, but a lot of times when I go shopping, I tend to go into the store with a clear idea of what I want (which is especially easy with the internet). So it may look like I'm just going in and picking up the first item on the shelf, when in reality, I'm fully aware of what I want, and so I'm not meandering in the store. How do I know what I want? Well, because I've either researched the product, or it's something I've used before with satisfying results and am comfortable with (hence the comfort level). To go with your example, I have a very limited number of requirements from shampoo, so I know what brand I'm comfortable with. If I need shampoo, I can be in and out of the store in 2 minutes. It can be misconstrued that I'm buying that specific shampoo because I saw Daniel Craig use it in the latest Bond movie minutes before he went to bed with Amanda Seyfried, but it's not the case. So I don't necessarily pick the first product that looks familiar to me, it's that I don't bother looking at anything that's not the product I want. So that's how I shop, and I'm a man, so take that as you will.

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Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:02 am
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What is Lara Croft advertising in that picture?

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Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:07 am
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dreiser wrote:
What is Lara Croft advertising in that picture?


Utility belt?

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Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:14 am
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Alex J. Murphy wrote:

Utility belt?


Maybe, or the hair scrunchie.

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Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, 2012) 4/10
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Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:35 am
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dreiser wrote:
What is Lara Croft advertising in that picture?


:D
It isn't related to the link but is an example of the male gaze in film.


Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:55 am
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Gort wrote:
This may inform your thoughts a bit. Let's see:

I cannot recall the author or her book, but I once read a very good tome on the differences between male use of language and female use of language in North America. Points that I recall that may impinge upon male susceptibility to advertising follow.

1) Women use language not so much for communicating facts and points (although they do this, of course) as for getting the vibe. In other words, two women talking or a woman talking to a man will be more focused on whether "we are having a good time" in the conversation. How does it feel? On the other hand,

2) Men are more hierarchical as they talk. Two men talking, or a gaggle of men talking, or a man talking to a woman will be speaking in terms of "best" "strongest" "most expensive" and so forth. Men's conversations often take on the aspect of a verbal pissing contest (I can attest that this is too often the case) and passing back and forth of facts. How you feel, or how the other guys feel, or whether you're having a good time talking is not ignored exactly, but it isn't the point of the conversation.

Based on this rough sketch of differences, perhaps the advertising myth stems from this (many advertising execs are men) tendency to go hierarchical. Thus, if you can "position" your advertised widget as "the best" "the sexiest" "the one most likely to get your fat, acne-scarred face across the restaurant table from that Hollywood starlet-to-be" (yeeah, dream on), then males might be tempted to look for it.

Personally, I think budget is often the deciding factor. For example when I was younger I had plenty of money, and wanted to spend time not shopping. To accomplish this I'd go to an upscale department store in Memphis where people would help me select my merchandise, rather than to the money-saving but time-consuming discount house where I had to track the wild merchandise largely on my own. When I had kids and a wife and less disposable income (although many more bucks gross income) I tended to go to the discount house, comparison shop, and buy the cheapest I felt like would be usable.

Am I completely average? As Mr Carmady and I apparently agreed upon, there is no average or normal. :D


That's an interesting point. :up:


Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:59 am
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La Spectatrice Deviante wrote:

:D
It isn't related to the link but is an example of the male gaze in film.


Ha, ha.

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Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:03 am
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Bringing Up Bride: Gender, Class, and Marriage in Screwball Comedy

[...] Both Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story reinforce the traditional institution of “marriage, or the promise of marriage”, while also examining divorce, broken engagements, and other practices and behavior that were deemed outside the realm of societal codes in the 1930s and 1940s. The two films also reinforce class divisions and the class-based ideology of the time. However, the two films reinforce these ideologies in opposing ways. While The Philadelphia Story strongly reinforces traditional gender roles and class divisions, Bringing Up Baby seemingly celebrates gender role reversal and the crossing of class boundaries, which explains why the latter did not have the box-office success of the former. The success (of The Philadelphia Story) and lack of success (of Bringing Up Baby) of these two films illustrates that while the American film audience of the 1930s and 1940s valued strong, free-spirited women and the possibility of crossing gender and class boundaries, the existing patriarchal and capitalist ideological codes prevented their complete acceptance.

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Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:22 am
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What do you think of this poster?

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Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:57 am
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Men are children. Says the poster.


Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:03 am
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Alice wrote:
Men are children. Says the poster.


Yep.
Men, do you get offended when you see male characters who don't know how to care of themselves?
There seems to be a lot of man childs in movies and TV these days...


Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:08 am
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La Spectatrice Deviante wrote:

Yep.
Men, do you get offended when you see male characters who don't know how to care of themselves?
There seems to be a lot of man childs in movies and TV these days...


They are often glorified though. Speaking of Heigl, I remember that "controversy" where she said she thought Knocked Up was kind of sexist. I should look for a link to what she said but I think it was something to the extent of the men and their immaturity was portrayed in a positive light and the women were portrayed as uptight and joyless.

EDIT: In the first paragraph: http://www.vanityfair.com/services/pres ... eigl200801


Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:11 am
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Alice wrote:

They are often glorified though. Speaking of Heigl, I remember that "controversy" where she said she thought Knocked Up was kind of sexist. I should look for a link to what she said but I think it was something to the extent of the men and their immaturity was portrayed in a positive light and the women were portrayed as uptight and joyless.


Oh yeah, that's true indeed. They always get the girl even if she definitely deserves better.
Here's an article on the subject.


Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:16 am
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Alice wrote:
Men are children. Says the poster.

I see that! I'd never have gotten it on my own. I was wondering why the father is drinking shampoo.

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YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Comprehensive Alphabetical Catalog Access
Most recent post 31 May 2014. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 2014.

Complete Round Three:
The Thing. The Champ. Death Race. King Kong. The Blob. Rollerball. Philadelphia/Society. Wizard of Oz. Godzilla. Scum.
Complete Round Two:
World on a Wire. Postman Rings. Let Me In. The Big Clock. Body Snatchers. Scarface. Peter Pan. The Fly. Rear Window.
Complete Round One:
Maltese Falcon. Earth Stood Still. Dorian. Nosferatu. Apes. Yuma. Romeo and Juliet. Time Machine. Lord of Flies.

trxbooks.com Will be updated summer and fall of 2014.


Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:17 am
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