Tue May 12, 2009
Talking about "Fast-Talking Dames" in Classic American Movies.
By Rich Fisher
Tulsa, Oklahoma – On this edition of StudioTulsa, which was first aired last year, we hear from Maria DiBattista, a professor of English and comparative literature at Princeton University, where she also chairs the film studies committee. DiBattista was visiting the TU campus about a year ago as a guest lecturer, and she stopped by our studios while here to chat about her terrific book of film criticism entitled "Fast-Talking Dames." As DiBattista tells our host Rich Fisher, the so-called "dame" of the Hollywood films of the 1930s and '40s --- and indeed, of the popular culture of that day and age --- was a streetwise, sassy, well-spoken, and (above all else) self-reliant heroine who had originated in the American urban experiences of the Great Depression and WWII years. On screen, such tough-yet-tender women flourished in the hands of versatile, expert performers like Katharine Hepburn, Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, Barbara Stanwyck, and others. These celluloid dames captivated moviegoers of their era --- and they still strike today's audiences as charming, funny, smart, appealing, and relevant. In other words, they've aged very well --- and on this installment of our program, we learn why. (Hint: It's about how they speak, and what they're saying.)