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Forgetting Lot's WifeOn Destructive Spectatorship$
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Martin Harries

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780823227334

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823227334.001.0001

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Hollywood Sodom

Hollywood Sodom

(p.41) 2 Hollywood Sodom
Forgetting Lot's Wife

Martin Harries

Fordham University Press

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

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