I Do and I Don’t : A History of Marriage in the Movies

I Do and I Don'tJeanine Basinger enlightens us to the movie business and its inability to market movies about marriage as such. Instead the marketers choose the broad appeal path. This approach is motivated by production companies’ fears that audiences don’t want to watch what they already know. Marketers focus their energies on escapism-capitalizing on glamour, romance, and star power. Nonetheless, an unsuspecting audience is still treated to the ups and downs of matrimony from the moments of dislike and disapproval, job loss, tragedy, appreciation, and love. Whether the screenplay’s subtext is digested or not, the audience walks away moved by a marvelous film. A few examples: Penny Serenade, Brief Encounter, Gaslight, Summer Wishes Winter Dreams, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

–Elaine