Chapter

Hollywood Sodom

Martin Harries

in Forgetting Lot's Wife

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780823227334
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241026 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823227334.003.0004
Hollywood Sodom

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The film's vivid rendering of the punishment of Lot's wife (Hildegarde Watson) encapsulates the figure's combination of damaging retrospection and dangerous spectatorship. Isolating Lot's wife as a glamorous Hollywood icon in an experimental film that distances itself from the techniques of mainstream Hollywood filmmaking, Lot in Sodom places her at the nexus of a series of sexualized punishments, variations on the psychologically restrained but resonant biblical story. In the final moments of the melodramatic noir, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), Sam Masterson, the experienced wanderer and World War II veteran, says to his young beloved, Toni. It is as though in both cases, Aldrich, who worked as assistant director on Strange Love, had remembered the conceptual charge surrounding Lot's wife in that film, and exploded it, releasing its absurd and terrible potentialities.

Keywords: retrospection; noir; Lot in Sodom; Robert Aldrich; The Strange Love of Martha Ivers; Hollywood

Chapter.  13477 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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