Sign in to follow this  
CaveGirl

The Man-Child Persona in Movies

61 posts in this topic

Well, THAT topic got derailed quickly--

Too quickly to even talk about Rowan Atkinson's Jacques-Tati homage Mr. Bean's Holiday (2007) going back to formula and being miles away better than that annoying American-kissup first movie with Peter MacNichol.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Also, she has a lot of tomboy in her. So she is probably both, a woman-child and on some level a man-child.

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 10.18.31 AM.jpg

Yes.  The play has had a recent revival and her character is portrayed as someone who doesn't want to be defined by gender roles or stereotypes.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Interesting. Another guy who always seemed youthful was Frankie Darro. Even in guest-starring roles on shows like Peter Gunn in the late 50s he still looked like he did in the 30s.

Now that's interesting.  I haven't seen Darro's work as a grown-up that I can recall but I really like him in his teenager roles from the 1930s especially WILD BOYS ON THE ROAD.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, ChristineHoard said:

Now that's interesting.  I haven't seen Darro's work as a grown-up that I can recall but I really like him in his teenager roles from the 1930s especially WILD BOYS ON THE ROAD.

Later on he had mostly minor roles, often typecast as an errand boy or as a jockey. He didn't grow any taller than he was in the 30s and his face didn't age much so he was still able to play characters that were younger.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Lon Chaney Jr., as Lennie Small in Of Mice And Men (1939)

Great example. Also played by Randy Quaid in the 1981 version and by John Malkovich in 1992.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can even go the young JERRY LEWIS playing young in many of his  early films such as CINDERFELLA AND THE ERRAND BOY.IN the MARTIN LEWIS FILMS he played childlike, guilless characters. He had a childlike quality that endeared him to the audiences at the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mary Pickford became very rich and famous playing the woman-child. She often played characters much younger than herself.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, kingrat said:

Mary Pickford became very rich and famous playing the woman-child. She often played characters much younger than herself.

Yes. Was it miscasting? Or was she doing caricatures of girls or young women, like Fanny Brice did on radio? 

Earlier I was going to mention Gilda Radner's Baba Wawa character. When she was spoofing Barbara Walters, using a form of baby talk, she might have been suggesting that Walters was childlike and not a real woman. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Earlier I was going to mention Gilda Radner's Baba Wawa character. When she was spoofing Barbara Walters, using a form of baby talk, she might have been suggesting that Walters was childlike and not a real woman. 

Radner also portrayed the child character Judy Miller on SNL.

giphy.gif

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Feego said:

Radner also portrayed the child character Judy Miller on SNL.

giphy.gif

All her characters were fun to watch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Yes. Was it miscasting? Or was she doing caricatures of girls or young women, like Fanny Brice did on radio? 

Earlier I was going to mention Gilda Radner's Baba Wawa character. When she was spoofing Barbara Walters, using a form of baby talk, she might have been suggesting that Walters was childlike and not a real woman. 

Hmmmm...sorry TB, but I can't agree with your take here on why Radner exaggerated Barbara Walters' non-rhotic(sounding like Elmer Fudd/Bennett Cerf/Kay Francis) speech during those SNL skits.

Nope, I don't think it was to imply Walters was "childlike and not a real woman", but was solely done in order to mimic the newswoman.

(...nope, just for that reason alone)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Hmmmm...sorry TB, but I can't agree with your take here on why Radner exaggerated Barbara Walters' non-rhotic(sounding like Elmer Fudd/Bennett Cerf/Kay Francis) speech during those SNL skits.

Nope, I don't think it was to imply Walters was "childlike and not a real woman", but was solely done in order to mimic the newswoman.

(...nope, just for that reason alone)

But why mimic her at all? Something about Walters' on-air demeanor and delivery didn't seem respectable to Radner or else she wouldn't have targeted it.

I should say that Walters was very bothered by this caricature of herself. But later after Radner's death, Walters went on record as saying Radner was a talented comedienne. So Barbara Walters learned to take the high road, and Radner actually helped Walters not take herself so seriously. That's the gift of comedy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

But why mimic her at all? Something about Walters' on-air demeanor and delivery didn't seem respectable to Radner or else she wouldn't have targeted it.

I should say that Walters was very bothered by this caricature of herself. But later after Radner's death, Walters went on record as saying Radner was a talented comedienne. So Barbara Walters learned to take the high road, and Radner actually helped Walters not take herself so seriously. That's the gift of comedy.

Wait. "Why mimic her at all?" Dude, that's what every SNL comedian/cast member throughout the history of that show does...mimics famous people.

My feeling here is that you might over associate the non-rhotic speech, which admittedly DOES sound a bit like "baby talk", as solely being just that. However, once again in Radner's case of mimicking Barbara Walters' speech in those old skits, I truly believe it was just in efforts to mimic Walters and not to imply he was "childlike" in any manner at all.

(...but ain't it a shame that the very funny Miss Radner died so damn young and so isn't around anymore to ask her this?...and of course, to say that I'm right about this!) ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Wait. "Why mimic her at all?" Dude, that's what every SNL comedian/cast member throughout the history of that show does...mimics famous people.

My feeling here is that you might over associate the non-rhotic speech, which admittedly DOES sound a bit like "baby talk", as solely being just that. However, once again in Radner's case of mimicking Barbara Walters' speech in those old skits, I truly believe it was just in efforts to mimic Walters and not to imply he was "childlike" in any manner at all. 

It wasn't mimicry as much as exaggerated caricature, which is often the route on SNL. Take Dana Carvey's Bush senior for example, or more recently, Alec Baldwin's Trump. They are exaggerating certain aspects for comic effect. Same with Radner and Walters. And I never saw her take as infantilizing Walters, either. Her character was never child-like or foolish, just the silly voice.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Hmmmm...sorry TB, but I can't agree with your take here on why Radner exaggerated Barbara Walters' non-rhotic(sounding like Elmer Fudd/Bennett Cerf/Kay Francis) speech during those SNL skits.

Nope, I don't think it was to imply Walters was "childlike and not a real woman", but was solely done in order to mimic the newswoman.

(...nope, just for that reason alone)

Those early, great days of SNL! The great Gildna Radner also mimicked Rose Ann Scamardella, a local NY news person, with a character called Roseanne Roseannadanna. It was all affectionate, good fun, as it was with Baba Wawa.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hYGtXIqDa0

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_Ann_Scamardella

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Wait. "Why mimic her at all?" Dude, that's what every SNL comedian/cast member throughout the history of that show does...mimics famous people.

My feeling here is that you might over associate the non-rhotic speech, which admittedly DOES sound a bit like "baby talk", as solely being just that. However, once again in Radner's case of mimicking Barbara Walters' speech in those old skits, I truly believe it was just in efforts to mimic Walters and not to imply he was "childlike" in any manner at all.

(...but ain't it a shame that the very funny Miss Radner died so damn young and so isn't around anymore to ask her this?...and of course, to say that I'm right about this!) ;)

This will have to be one of those times we simply disagree. I think you misunderstood my "why mimic her at all" comment. Yes, the SNL cast do mimic/spoof various celebrities, but they seem to target people they don't respect and want to bring down a peg or two. It's really never just good clean fun on that show, in my opinion. Otherwise they'd be mimicking people they like, which I don't think happens.

8 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

It wasn't mimicry as much as exaggerated caricature, which is often the route on SNL. Take Dana Carvey's Bush senior for example, or more recently, Alec Baldwin's Trump. They are exaggerating certain aspects for comic effect. Same with Radner and Walters. And I never saw her take as infantilizing Walters, either. Her character was never child-like or foolish, just the silly voice.

Mimicry and caricature often go hand in hand in these sort of skits. Radner was a master at it. Jan Hooks another female SNL alum, was another one. In the case of Radner's spoof on Walters, it wasn't a one-time thing. It was an on-going series of comic jabs, which I can understand why Barbara Walters herself became quite uneasy with it. The baby voice was probably chosen by Radner because of the letters in Walters' name, which were fun to mispronounce. But she still could have mimicked and caricatured Walters without the baby voice. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

This will have to be one of those times we simply disagree. I think you misunderstood my "why mimic her at all" comment. Yes, the SNL cast do mimic/spoof various celebrities, but they seem to target people they don't respect and want to bring down a peg or two. It's really never just good clean fun on that show, in my opinion. Otherwise they'd be mimicking people they like, which I don't think happens.

Mimicry and caricature often go hand in hand in these sort of skits. Radner was a master at it. Jan Hooks another female SNL alum, was another one. In the case of Radner's spoof on Walters, it wasn't a one-time thing. It was an on-going series of comic jabs, which I can understand why Barbara Walters herself became quite uneasy with it. The baby voice was probably chosen by Radner because of the letters in Walters' name, which were fun to mispronounce. But she still could have mimicked and caricatured Walters without the baby voice. 

Once again here TB, Walters' non-rhotic speech was what Radner was mimicking. And, even though YOU seem to over-associate that type of speech as primarily "baby talk", if I did MY Bennett Cerf or Elmer Fudd impression for you, I would NOT be implying that I thought Bennett Cerf or Elmer Fudd was "childlike", but would only be making light of how they talked.

(...and once again, "Baba Wawa" is how someone with an extreme non-rhotic speech, i.e. someone who can not pronounce the letter 'R', would say the name "Barbara Walters" if said in that extreme, and then hopefully funny to an audience, manner)

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One more note on this whole "Baba Wawa" thing here...

The only other thing that Radner in those skits of hers was always attempting to imply and hopefully get a laugh from, was that Walters was never known to be a "hard news" type newsperson, and thus in those skits in which she made fun of Walters' speech, also played Walters as a newsperson who was mostly into celebrity interviews and the "softer" news of the day.

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I wanted to point out. I'm glad we've been applying a dose of feminism to this topic. Did CG tell us the book she had read long ago about this topic? I am wondering if it was written by a sexist scholar/author. Because as we've shown in the various responses here, there are just as many examples of the woman-child as there are of the man-child on screen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, CaveGirl said:

"The character is almost Always Male. This is (presumably) to contrast the differences between him and "normal men" with the normal responsibilities and wisdom of adulthood. The female version is usually split between The Ingenue, the Genki Girl, or other tropes which highlight an adult woman's child-like attributes rather than her grown-up persona. Manchild has many more negative connotations than The Ingenue; the manchild's immaturity and lack of outward adult behavior is emphasized as being a bad thing versus being an emphasized good thing like The Ingenue's purity and idealism. This is also because of the Double Standard most societies have, which exist for various reasons, where they expect more from men than they do from women. On the Brain Chain, the Man Child occupies a space between The Cloud Cuckoolander and The Ditz, but without necessarily becoming The Fool. He usually does not have The Fool's luck, but he doesn't necessarily play the role of the Butt-Monkey either. Although the Man-Child is commonly portrayed as being mentally challenged he does not necessarily have to be. In many cases, the character may be very intelligent, and even leave the idealism aside and be very shrewd in business or career, but this only throws him deep in the Uncanny Valleywhen others find out his emotional immaturity. Alternatively, his childlike qualities/way of thinking, when intelligently applied, can be a basis for his success as a businessman, in which case he's also The Wonka.

In comedic works, he usually plays the role of The Ditz. In dramatic works, he could be the Jerk with a Heart of Gold due to his simplicity or immaturity, or he could be the sympathetic character we come to love. Sometimes the Man Child embarks on a late-in-the-day Coming-of-Age Story, which ushers him into true adulthood. Note that usually Sex as Rite-of-Passage works only some of the time. In many instances, A Man Child is not necessarily a virgin, but only sees sex as a tool of pleasure and does not recognize its emotional significance. If he ever gets married, it's likely that his wife will end up being a mother-figure not only to their children but to him as well, doing all the "emotional labor" needed to keep the household afloat while he just coasts along and drags her into all sorts of wacky hijinks.

One of the Kids is related, in where their childishness is caused by spending a lot of time around children.

Does not relate to Never Grew Up, because they physically did grow up - but never outgrew being attached to immature or childish things or behavior. Sister Trope (perhaps) to Adults Dressed as Children, although that trope is almost always played for laughs or borders on the grotesque. Compare Keet, One of the Kids, Kiddie Kid. For a villainous version, see Psychopathic Manchild. Compare Basement-Dweller. Not related to Manchild, the British TV series, either. Compare and contrast The Three Faces of Adam. Contrast with Wise Beyond Their Years, where a child acts like an adult."

CG, 

Who is the source for this? I'm curious to know more about the author you are quoting. Did this come from wiki, or from somewhere else?

Obviously I don't agree with the first line which I put in bold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Yes. Was it miscasting? Or was she doing caricatures of girls or young women, like Fanny Brice did on radio?

 

Pickford had many types of "characters" she played. Much like Chaplin had the little tramp, Pickford had "the little tomboy girl", "the slavey" or simply "ingenue". She played the type, even getting creative and building oversized sets. She developed a very strong pathos and intimate connection in her teenage characters that became incredibly impressive even though her audience knew she was in her 20s. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us