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Spectacular Expectations: Women, Law and Film


This article explores the contradiction between the ingrained belief that justice should be “blind” and the filmic tradition of positioning woman as spectacle. Recognizing that a law film does not offer a direct translation of material reality, it explores how these representations of the law work with and against popular understandings of femininity – and feminism. The article offers a reading of selected screen adaptations of real legal entanglements to show how a focus on appearance marks a woman's trial (and subsequent filming of it), before focusing on the case of Barbara Graham, immortalized in the award-winning film I Want to Live!

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Journal of American Studies
  • ISSN: 0021-8758
  • EISSN: 1469-5154
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-american-studies
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