March 12, 2018

Colin Firth and Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones

Colin Firth and Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones

’60s films are an absolute catalog of misogyny. In What’s New Pussycat?, the men are portrayed as the main beneficiaries of the sexual revolution. The women are there in the main part to be exploited and deceived. One of the victims of this culture gets a few good laughs by trying to kill herself—twice. Only toward the end of the ’70s do we see a more humane note. Blake Edward’s sex comedy 10 finally represents a genuine satire on free love by pointing up the absurdity of Dudley Moore’s infatuation with Bo Derek. When he finally ends up in bed with her—on her own honeymoon—he becomes disgusted with the lack of meaning she attaches to sex, and returns to his girlfriend. Like Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” it is an unexpected reminder of the power of traditional relations.

Speaking of marriage, let us conclude on the Olympus of un-PC cinema, The Constant Husband. In this 1955 British comedy, an average Joe—played by Rex Harrison—awakes with amnesia, gradually to discover he is a bigamist on a truly epic scale. So far, so truthful. Bigamy may be misogynistic, but it doesn’t say much about women, other than they often have a poor choice of men. The Constant Husband does, however. When his eight victims finally line up in court, bristling at each other’s presence, they universally agree they would have him back. Worse, the one feminist presence—a high-powered lawyer—also crumples before him. When he is released from prison, where he has gone to escape feminine pursuit, she orders him into his car. His character manifests Leslie Howard’s dictum “I don’t chase women, but I can’t always be bothered to run away from them, either.” A proper, deep reading of the movie might reveal that misogyny is a two-way street, and that women respond to the worst aspects in men. Such truths are a better basis for real change than the teleological excursions of modern agitprop. Watch it before it’s banned.


Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Updates!