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Film, Music, Memory$
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Berthold Hoeckner

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226649610

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226649894.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Affective Attachments

Affective Attachments

(p.189) Chapter Seven Affective Attachments
Film, Music, Memory

Berthold Hoeckner

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 7 broadens the book’s concern with film music’s contribution to cultural memory toward its role in cultural politics by focusing on two mid-century American films where the transition to modern society involves the creation of trust. While George Stevens’s I Remember Mama (1946) is a parable of economic trust, Robert Mulligan’s To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) is a morality tale about racial trust. Both films are narrated by a daughter remembering her mother or father, thereby bringing into focus how trust emerges through affective attachment between child and parent; in both films, the formation and representation of such attachment involves the music by film composers Roy Webb and Elmer Bernstein, respectively. By shaping nostalgic memories of attachment, music itself became attached to these memories and thereby influenced the viewer’s trust in the narrator and, by extension, in film as a medium. As a quick heuristic for trust judgments, both composers scored caregivers—including ethnic, racial, and uncannily queer others—as trustworthy figures with whom children (and viewers) could form attachments whose lasting effects would shape the personal attitudes and actions essential for a functioning modern society.

Keywords:   I Remember Mama (1948), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), George Stevens, Robert Mulligan, Roy Webb, Elmer Bernstein, economic trust, racial trust, uncanny queerness, affective attachment

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