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Spinsters, Widows and CharsThe Ageing Woman in British Film$
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Claire Mortimer

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781474452823

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474452823.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

Battleaxes and Chars: Working-Class Matriarchs

Battleaxes and Chars: Working-Class Matriarchs

(p.98) Chapter 5 Battleaxes and Chars: Working-Class Matriarchs
Spinsters, Widows and Chars

Claire Mortimer

Edinburgh University Press

The working-class grotesque was a perennial figure in British cinema, informed by a tradition of the female grotesque and the unruly woman in popular culture. The middle-aged working-class woman was a character type frequently deployed in British film as a comic figure, often in the guise of the battleaxe. This chapter explores the representations of working-class communities in the era of kitchen sink realism, and the ambivalent status of the matriarch in a culture increasingly centred on youth. The chapter explores two films from the 1960s, Ladies Who Do (1963) and Morgan – A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966), wherein the working-class matriarch manifests anger, faced with the loss of community, having to fight for all they hold dear, in the tradition of Pieter Bruegel’s Dulle Griet.

Keywords:   Middle age, Working-class femininity, Battleaxe, Kitchen sink realism, Matriarch, Working-class community, Female grotesque, Dulle Griet, Unruly woman

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