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Fast-Talking Dames$
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Maria DiBattista

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300088151

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300088151.001.0001

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Fast-Talking Dames

Fast-Talking Dames

(p.4) 1 Fast-Talking Dames
Fast-Talking Dames

Maria DiBattista

Yale University Press

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.

Keywords:   fast-talking dame, James Stewart, Edwina Corday, It's a Wonderful World, social revolution, damehood, power of speech

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