Scott had chosen that camera position to feature Ms Weaver's derriere because, after all, Ripley had been throughout much of the movie its protagonist and most resourceful character - assuming in the story a role usually portrayed by a man - and the director's (or editor's) selection of this 'take' was intended to reveal a softer, more feminine aspect of her. If that were so, however, it's valid to ask why and how showing the 'crack in that ass' above the panty-line would feminize Ripley.
with the advent of Sexual Liberation, women's roles in films became more complex and less 'sexist' than in the Hollywood movies of the 1930s and 40s. What has happened, in fact, is much the opposite. In films such as Taxi Driver, Pulp Fiction and Sex, Lies and Videotape, contemporary Hollywood depicts women in ways more stereotypic, less independent and unique, than it did in that so-called Classic era of American movies.
Released by Paramount in 1941, Sullivan's Travels defies neat categorization. With its mixture of drama, sentiment and comedy, it could be considered 'black humor,' a trademark of its writer/director, Preston Sturges. One of the film's more remarkable aspects is its depiction of 'The Girl' played by Veronica Lake.
Though she is given no name, The Girl is attractive and sexual, but she is more than the sum of those attributes. While Lake's trademark blond tresses frame her face alluringly, she is never an object of stereotypic sexuality. Her character has validity in the sense that she is herself; though an out of work actress, she does not play the sex card with the well-known director, Sullivan. To the contrary, throughout the story she contradicts and bullies him while also sharing his 'travels' as an equal. When they first meet in the diner and Sullivan has no money on him, The Girl, though out of work and her apartment, offers to buy him breakfast. Sullivan refuses and Lake says, "Don't be a sucker. (to the counterman) Give him some ham and eggs." After she and the director jump from a moving train and she lands on top of him, The Girl asks, "Did I hurt ya any" But it is more taunt than clichd, submissive concern (Sullivan's response is worth
quoting: "Well, you didn't do me any good.").
Sullivan may be a successful director but it is The Girl who is more tenacious of life and the stronger character. She dominates their scenes together the way Rosalind Russell as Hildy Parks did Cary Grant in His Girl Friday, or as Kate Hepburn and Bette Davis dominated - or were equal to - their co-stars in just about any film they made. Even Mae West (sex incarnate) portrayed gutsy, self-secure and unique women; indeed, she gloried in her over-ripe sexuality with relentless and less-than-subtle double entendres. It is well-known that Olivia deHavilland groused about her insipid roles opposite Errol Flynn for Warner Bros., but she proved a