Hollywood Romantic Comedies of the Fifties: A Critical Study of a Film Genre

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This text examines the transformative and countercultural nature of romantic comedies of the 1950s.

It is the first to analyze the transformative and countercultural nature of romantic comedies from the 1950s, a genre heretofore considered largely uncritical of the then-dominant culture.


“The author builds on all the relevant previous scholarship to offer an extremely well argued, entertaining, and sophisticated account of the filmic cultural relevance of the genre in the 1950s.” – Prof. Celestino Deleyto, University of Zaragoza

“…an excellent, scholarly but also readable and accessible account of a major genre at one of its key moments in Hollywood film history.” – Prof. Peter William Evans, University of London

“The author presents a fresh and invigorating scrutiny of the cultural obsessions of the period, one that is guided by but exceeds existing scholarly examinations.” – Prof. Frank Krutnik, University of Sussex

"... displays her find[ing]s elegantly and intelligently, relating the films analysed to changing discourses around three dominant strands of context: notions of success, in terms of both business and personal identity; concerns about suburbanisation and the effect of domesticity on both female and male subjects; and the rise of consumerism in that decade of plentitude." -Prof. Tamar Jeffers McDonald, University of Kent

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword Introduction
Part 1: People of Plenty: Gender Relations and Romantic Ideals in the Postwar Consumer Society
Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
How to Marry a Millionaire
Father of the Bride
Part 2: Home Sweet Home: Coming to Terms with the Postwar ‘Domestic Mystique’
Pillow Talk
The Seven Year Itch
The Thrill of it All
Part 3: Intimate Dilemmas: Redrawing the Meanings of Sex in the Age of Containment
That Touch of Mink
The Girl Can’t Help It
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Works Cited
Films Cited

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