The classical Hollywood cinematography has long ago become the fundamental mode of filmmaking in the United States of America. These movies include two particular interrelated types of power, which are ideological and hegemonic ones. The first one is a belief constructed and embedded in the people’s consciousness. The dominant ideologies may include capitalism, patriotism, the concept of marriage and family, and male superiority. Hegemony, in its turn, is the way of people in power to maintain their control. Thus, dominant ideologies refer to hegemonic ones, which state that only one superior social class may rule culturally diverse society. It can manipulate people’s beliefs, values, opinions, and impose their views on others as social ones. The current essay will discuss the issues of ideology and hegemony through the medium of two classical movies Some Like It Hot and It Happened One Night.
It Happened One Night was an early and influential screwball romantic comedy, directed by Frank Capra in 1934, in the midst of the Great Depression. The movie stars Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, of whom critics at that time did not think as comedians. The leading actress portrays a wealthy young woman, Ellie Andrews, who rejected her fortune in search of independence. Gable’s character, Peter Warne, in his turn, is a cynical but sensible reporter, who came to Ellie’s company. The movie plot includes an enormous number of misunderstandings, coincidences and critical situations resolved in ridiculous ways. Like in any other romantic comedies love eventually finds the way out of conflicts. It Happened One Night won all five top prizes at the Academy Awards.
Another most screened comedy is Some Like It Hot, directed by Billy Wilder in 1959. The leading actors Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon undoubtedly made people write and talk about this movie. Initially, the plot reminds the one of the Fanfaren Der Liebe, a German comedy in which two male musicians dressed in female’s clothes and played in a female band. Marilyn Monroe appeared as Sugar Kane Kowalczyk, and for this role won the Best Motion Picture Actress award. Unlike It Happened One Night, this movie became exceptional due to its discussion of the taboo topic of homosexuality. However, its plot and content became controversial as some viewers considered it offensive to Christian standards. Others claimed that a creation of this film was a courageous and successful move. These two comedies premiered during the same era became legendary and perennial classic ones not only in the 20th century but in film history as well. Moreover, they achieved success for making worldwide gross of million dollars.
These two comedies include an enormous number of interesting and worth viewing episodes. However, there are two most prominent ones that may strike anyone and provide the essence of the whole film. Both of them are final scenes and depict a happy ending to all problems and conflicts.
The first scene called “ending” is from It Happened One Night portrays Ellie and King’s wedding day. When her father was walking her down the aisle, he finally revealed her the true story of Peter Warne, in whom she was in love. Mr. Andrews told that Peter refused to take his money and did not want a reward. He only asked to pay him 39.60 dollars that were his expenses on Ellie. Moreover, he added that if she changed her mind, the car would be waiting at the back of the gate. Thus, Ellie refused to marry Westley and run from the wedding ceremony.
The second episode called “nobody’s perfect” is from the comedy Some Like It Hot, which depicts the time when Jerry and Joe decided to leave on Osgood’s yacht. After Sugar’s performance, she assumed that Josephine is a man. She runs to the dock and jumps into the boat while Joe started explaining that he was not good for her, and she needs to go back to the millionaires. Sugar convinces him that she needs nobody but him. Jerry, in his turn, gives a plenty of reasons to Osgood why he cannot marry him. When Osgood was dismissing all of them, Jerry took his wig off and said that he was a man. Surprisingly enough, Osgood responds that no one is perfect.
The romantic comedy It Happened One Night draws on the mainstream values and ideology present in society, especially love and family, and opposes money and power. It describes these issues throughout the whole movie, especially the last scene. It affirms the middle-class values that were present during the times of the Great Depression. At the beginning of the film, the main character, Ellie supported her and her father’s ideology of being rich and made their world revolving around money. Later on, she became stubborn and decided to escape from the power of Mr. Andrews, and hurriedly married King Westley, an aristocrat aviator. Her father thought it was a joke and trapped her in a luxurious yacht to prevent a consummation of the marriage.
However, when she escaped to her husband, she met Peter Warne, a dismissed journalist. The journey united and created a special bond between them. Peter was a middle-class representative and supported hard work, and individualism, the ideology of which was under siege. He became a romantic hero, and a moral spokesman, who changed a main heroine to his perspective. Furthermore, Peter’s triumph has broken all impediments between the rich and the poor. Moreover, his relationships with Ellie proved that there should be no fight for gender dominance, and the establishment of independence. Finally, the movie proved that family and friends are the best allies who can help to overcome all the obstacles.
Just like the previous film, Some Like It Hot includes a problem of money, but it puts an initial accent on sexuality, which challenges the hegemonic discourse. As the 20th-century government tried to enforce laws prohibiting homosexuality, the movie raised this fundamental issue to make people aware and comprehend that it is not a taboo. Particularly the final scene is a good example of how people should perceive this issue. Thus, the director represented such important points as comic ones. The movie makes people believe that there are sexual differences between people, and they should not become an obstacle between friends, co-workers, and partners.
This movie is specifically worth watching today when people feel so much bullying and hate regarding their sexual preferences. Some Like It Hot teaches viewers that this aspect of people’s life does not define their personality, and it is impossible to judge them for who they are. The society during various eras developed an opinion that males should finance the family and women should be housekeepers. However, the World War II, and following events proved that women can be independent, and men should not necessarily be fearless and manly. Moreover, today people become more internationalized, and the topic of homosexuality is not uncomfortable anymore. Finally, yet importantly, every single person deserves to choose where to study and work, whom to love and marry, and what food, book, movie, and even sexual preferences to have.
Overall the classic comedies Some Like It Hot and It Happened One Night depict and criticize the significant issues of ideology and hegemony that dominant social groups held. Additionally, they discipline their viewers to be aware and cautious about these essential social phenomena. The comedy, It Happened One Night, makes it clear that money cannot buy love and happiness, and sometimes richer people may be happier with the ones of lower social class. Some Like It Hot, in its turn, makes people believe that everyone is different regarding all aspects of life, and no one should feel ashamed for that. Thus, these two films will remain legendary ones for paying attention to essential problems of the society.