'I'm the girl he wants to kill': the 'women in peril' thriller in 1970s British film and television

Peter Hutchings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article considers a cycle of British 'women in peril' thrillers from the first half of the 1970s, focusing in particular on the films And Soon the Darkness (1970), Assault (1971) and Blind Terror (1971), and the television series Thriller (1973-1976). In their presentation of predatory males stalking female victims, these texts ostensibly offer a take on gender politics that is both disturbing and reactionary, and one might relate them in this respect to other narratives from this period that also relied on representations of the victimized female (most notably, A Clockwork Orange and Straw Dogs). In fact, the article finds in these fictions more ambiguity and ambivalence around gender identity than might initially be supposed. While this never coheres into anything that could be described as enlightened, there is nevertheless a distinctive playfulness with gender roles evident here, especially in the television dramas, which in various ways belies or troubles an ostensibly regressive sexual politics. Focusing on popular cultural product in this way can arguably lead to a more nuanced understanding of the possibilities for gender representation in British visual culture of the 1970s.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-69
JournalVisual Culture in Britain
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009

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