Through The Glass DarklyThe Reflection Of Society — страница 2

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characteristics, coupled with her strength of character and fierce independence. The nature of the “good women” drastically contrasts this independence and strong will of the “femme fatale.” The “good women” embraces her traditional role and stereotype. She is what society wants the man to have, but on screen she is boring and unattractive in comparison to the “femme fatale”. The last woman to shadow the film noir is the “marrying woman”. Historically, the “femme fatale” was a reflection of those women who worked during the war and were reluctant to return to their humble labors within the home. In the late 40’s and into the 50’s a new woman emerged that film noir criticized. The “marrying woman” submitted to her domesticated role but dragged her

husband down with her, making him the slave to the family. (Blaser)Within Touch of Evil, the traditional role of the “marrying women”, portrayed through Susan Vargas’ character, and the “femme fatale”, which was seen in Tanya, were altered, paralleling the concerns of the time and branching into the Post-Modernist aspects of the film. Susan Vargas’ character existed as the perfect wife: beautiful, intelligent, devoted to her husband: a devotion that appeared often as an entrapment. Tanya was a prostitute, living on the wrong side of the border and whose dusky figure was framed by dark hair, gypsy clothing and an air of sensuality. At initial inspection, both conformed to the stereotypical “marrying woman” and “femme fatale” expected in film noir. As Touch of

Evil progressed, Susan was depicted as more of a threat to her husband, trying to dissuade him from his job, becoming a vulnerability by remaining by him when she should return to Mexico City, and Tanya, the classically destructive “femme fatale”, became the nurturing force that supported Quinlan and offered him safe haven. A systematic progression of analysis through the events and depictions of women in the film illustrates the importance of these roles to society’s worldview and leads into Post-Modernism. The opening scene of Touch of Evil introduced the main couple of Mike and Susan Vargas as a traditional and stereotypical pair of husband and wife who is about to witness an explosion, not only of Rudi Linnekar’s car, but of their own idealistic existence. The camera

pans in a continuous shot past the ill-fated car to the Vargas couple. Mike Vargas has his arm around his new bride, leading her forward. He walks protectively with Mrs. Vargas on the inside towards the sidewalk as they walk down the street. When they arrive at the border it is Mrs. Vargas that identifies herself as “Mrs.” and who pulls her husband away from the car that has pulled up next the them. This illustrates the give and take in a relationship. As Susan and Mike cross the border for the first time, the border being representative of many things, they pause to exchange sweet talk and kiss. It is during this intimacy the explosion occurs, and the camera breaks for the first time. The combination of camera technique, cinematography and character interaction sets the

scene for the movie and the conflict with the relationship of Mike and Susan. The border and the explosion combine to form the complimentary symbolism of the division between man and woman. Susan and Mike are literally from different countries as man and woman. They are physically from Mexico and America, but from psycho-social standpoint there are from different countries, or as pop culture would say, different planets: Mars and Venus respectively. Men are found in the “power” positions in the movie, specifically law enforcement. Besides Susan and Tanya, women are seen as objects of desire and adornment: the stripper in Rubi’s car, the “dancers” at the border club. The tensions that mount on the border zone grow as well in Mike and Susan’s marriage. “This isn’t

the real Mexico. You know that. All border towns bring out the worst in a country” (Touch of Evil, 1958) The border brings out the extremes in people as well, and the different priorities Mike and Susan have in their relationship. The differences between the two manifest itself particularly in relation to Mike’s work. Susan can not understand why he can not abandon the investigation to return with her to their honeymoon. She can not understand why he can not devote his attention to her, embodying the “marrying woman” persona. These underlying problems come to head and are exposed in the explosion, revealed along the border. “One of the longest borders in the world is between your country and mine “(Touch of Evil, 1958) and by traveling that border the conflict between