This chapter explores and introduces one of the most impressive and influential creations of the talkies—the momentous yet underappreciated sexual and social revolution that occurred when movies acquired the power of speech—the fast-talking dame. One example of such a dame is Claudette Colbert, played by Edwina Corday, in It's a Wonderful World. The film relates Guy Johnson's—played by James Stewart—experience of reevaluating dames from the neck up. After such an experience with Claudette, Guy sees a dame as a brainy marvel. Damehood, then, is a distinction reserved for the quick-witted as well as the attractive. A pretty faces therefore has no claims on damehood, and brains have an equal part in the allure of the fast-talking speech. This chapter thus explores the persona of the fast-talking dame and how the persona emerged in American and movie culture.
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