Analysis Of The Movie ' The Hollywood Thriller Fatal Attraction ' And ' Madama Butterfly '

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“Since socialization occurs throughout the life span and since the mass media in industrial society permeates virtually every aspect of a person’s life, the media’s effect on our concepts of self, although impossible to determine precisely, are probably underestimated” (Saucier 1986, 147). Mass media forms of entertainment have the unique ability to impact large audiences across time and space. The Hollywood thriller Fatal Attraction (1987), with its many references to Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly (1903), proves to be a central film to study when considering how intertextual value may arise from referencing another text through a piece of media as well as what ideology can result from a popular media product. In considering the…show more content…
What is Fatal Attraction?
In the opening scenes of Fatal Attraction, New York City lawyer Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) appears to live happily with his wife, Beth, and daughter, Ellen. After a few encounters with book editor Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), Dan’s morals are called into question. Alex and Dan enter into an affair with different perceptions of their relationship. While Alex sees it as the start of a romantic commitment, Dan regards it as a casual fling. This misunderstanding drives Alex to drastic measures: she kills the Gallagher pet rabbit, kidnaps Ellen, and attempts to murder Beth. Repeatedly, Dan unsuccessfully attempts to sever ties with Alex. The film climaxes in what will be referred to as “the bathroom scene.” Having broken into the Gallagher house, Alex proceeds to the bathroom in which Beth is preparing a bath. Alex has a knife by her side; she intends to stab Beth to death. Dan attempts to rescue his wife by drowning Alex in the filled bathtub. Ultimately, it is Beth who defuses the threat by sending a fatal bullet through Alex’s chest.
However, Beth slaying Alex was not the original ending shot for the film. Yoko Kawaguchi describes the film’s two different endings in the chapter “Bunny-boiler or Like a Virgin: Images of the Geisha in Late
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