the sound of silence

by Andrea Elizabeth

(cont. from previous post) Alfred Hitchcock’s 1929 Blackmail is the second movie reviewed in Chapter 4 of Echo and Narcissus. Here, this is the basic complaint,

Norah’s inability to “remember” or to say what actually happened represents the common experience of women in patriarchy—that of feeling unable to reason well because the terms in which the culture thinks are male and alien.

Women in patriarchy do not function competently at the level of external public articulation and thus may appear “stupid” and “uncertain.”
(Kaplan 1978b, p. 85; italics added)

Again, I don’t think this is because of patriarchy, but because of alphaarchy, male or female. The women in these two movies are muted by their sense of powerlessness to a stronger system. Even the man feels this at the end of the review:

In Blackmail , maturity comes at the cost of innocence. Alice resumes her place in patriarchy, but has to acknowledge that she is neither innocent nor free. Frank succeeds in containing Alice, but is forced to compromise his duty and any idealism in favor of maintaining appearances. Frank and Alice are painfully aware of the price of socialization. The recognition of the workings of patriarchy and language precludes a romantically happy ending. Alice and Frank are fragmented and must confront that what society holds they should be is actually very far from what they are. The end only increases their disintegration. Their images are false and they are struck dumb.[4]