SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #109
1 hour ago
This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...
The film’s largest deficit may be its handling of the romantic relationship of Bond and Domino Vitali, who begins as Largo’s mistress but who turns against the villain when Bond reveals that Largo had Domino’s brother killed. (In book and movie, Largo never knows of a connection between his mistress and the murdered man; clearly the writers’ god “Coincidence” reigns supreme here.)
No one should mistake Ian Fleming for a feminist. He wrote “blood and thunder” pulp fiction to an audience dominated by men, and often reflected the more sexist attitudes of his time. Nevertheless, his female characters are on occasion quite formidable, and the book makes clear that Domino is not merely a “kept woman,” but a Venus who gives her favors as she pleases. For instance, in the book she pretends that she needs Bond’s aid when she steps on the spines of a sea-creature, and later tells him that she could have helped herself, but feigned helplessness so that he would seduce her. This revelation doesn’t appear in the movie, and actress Claudine Auger isn’t able to convey Domino’s Italian fire on her own talents.
Further, while in both works Domino does revenge herself on Largo by shooting him with a harpoon, thereby saving Bond’s life, film-Domino is not nearly as formidable as print-Domino. In the book Largo tortures Domino when he learns she’s helping Bond, and though the torture isn’t depicted in detail on the page, the method— applying alternating heat (a cigar) and cold (ice cubes) to the skin-- is described prior to the act. However, in the film Largo is interrupted before the torture can begin, possibly in deference to sensitive mainstream audiences. Moreover, after print-Domino is tortured, she frees herself from her prison and despite her burn-wounds swims a considerable distance to the site where Bond is on the verge of being choked to death by Largo, and then kills Largo. Film-Domino doesn’t even get loose from her ropes without help. Certainly Felix Leiter would never say of this character: “I swear I’ll never call a girl a ‘frail’ again --not an Italian girl, anyway!”
My heart is breaking at the thought of this film being redone. I have said many times before that I don't have a problem with films being remade as they bring the originals to a newer audience that were otherwise unaware of the film's existence. HOWEVER, (this however is so big it needed caps) there are certain films that I believe should not be redone for the simple fact that even the smallest change could completely ruin its heart. The film has its faults as does every film (except for maybe Star Wars), but this is undoubtedly a flawed masterpiece. When the film was created, it was a time that didn't have as many "politically correct" and taboo subjects constantly buzzing around. We now live in a day and age where we must walk on egg shells in order to protect the feelings of the people around us. 1978 was a completely different world.
The rape scene in this film is VITAL. Without it, there is no set up for her absolutely brutal revenge on her assailants. These scenes were filmed in the 70's where we were flooded with video nasties but people weren't afraid to make them. It's not the same anymore. People take the easy route and they sugarcoat reality. I hate when TV portrays rape because they sanatize the hell out of it...AND THAT'S NOT BEING HONEST. We're going to end up getting a film with a rape scene that will be barely as graphic as the one in the remake of The Last House On The Left. This doesn't make me some sick person who wants to see rape, but the horrifying torture of Jennifer Hill is what gives this film such sting. The tagline of "this woman has just chopped, crippled, and mutilated four men beyond recognition...but no jury in america would ever convict her" only rings true if we get a real understanding of the pain that she endured which fueled her need for revenge. We're not going to understand her and the horror she experienced, unless we see it.
We are unalterably opposed to the presentation of the female body being stripped, bound, raped, tortured, mutilated, and murdered in the name of commercial entertainment and free speech.
In practice, attempts to sort out good erotica from bad porn inevitably comes down to "What turns me on is erotic; what turns you on is pornographic.
Sadly, a lot of internet nerd culture — hell, CULTURE — is preoccupied with establishing ideas of masculinity in the crudest and dumbest ways possible.-- Heidi McDonald, THE BEAT, 3-8-11.
Short version (as best I can make out) — the immensely popular comic strip Penny Arcade made a rape joke last year. Some objected. An then somehow this got turned into people calling themselves “rape culture” and wearing t-shirts that referenced the rapers — “d*ckwolves” — and a woman who had actually been raped and suffered PTSD not wanting to go, and then people claiming she had never been raped and… well it’s stupid and ugly. You don’t need a degree in psychiatry to know that there’s an aspect to video game culture that’s totally aggro and brutish, and it’s behind a lot of the casual misogyny of various parts of the internet.
when feminists (myself included) say that making a shirt or a comic about rape contributes to rape culture, it sounds a lot like the above argument. What the other side doesn’t understand, however, is that there is a critical difference between the argument of feminists and the argument of anti-violence video game censors. For the most part, our argument is not that a rape joke is going to make someone go out and rape. Our argument, instead, is that rape jokes, and allowing people to indentify themselves with a shirt promoting a fictional rapist character, contributes to a culture where rape is accepted, tolerated, and the impact of it diminished.
Almost everything we call "higher culture" is based on the spiritualization of cruelty, on its becoming more profound: this is my proposition. That "savage animal" has not really been "mortified"; it lives and flourishes, it has merely become—divine. What constitutes the painful voluptuousness of tragedy is cruelty; what seems agreeable in so-called tragic pity, and at bottom in everything sublime, up to the highest and most delicate shudders of metaphysics, receives its sweetness solely from the admixture of cruelty.
Your posts assume that a male's genital rape by any woman who doesn't gross him out must be a sexual fantasy. It can be, just Scarlet O'Hara's rape (admittedly within the context of marriage) was clearly a sexual fantasy for the predominant female audience that read the book. But a male rape by a sexy woman can, depending on execution, still be dispiriting and unsexy.
To expand on the caution I expressed before, this parallel does not imply identity, for the sublime can appear in any work regardless of its phenomenal category. I mentioned Maugham’s book THE RAZOR’S EDGE, which contains the sublime affect even though it’s an entirely isophenomenal work, while Poe’s HOUSE OF USHER, a work of uncanny metaphenomenality, has its own sublimities. The same aesthetic applies to the marvelous form of the metaphenomenal, but I stress that a work is not automatically sublime just because it contains marvels that do transcend causality.
The desire to be so strong and fast and smart and wonderful that you can save the world with one hand while winning at backgammon with the other — it’s cute when kids imagine it, embarrassing when adults do, and silly at all times and in all seasons.
Maybe we are only simply trying to reduce our fears with the vanquishing of the element that makes the monster fearful, leaving nothing more than a sanitized version, a parody to laugh at and cuddle.