• The Colonizing Gaze in Romaine Fielding’s The Rattlesnake

    Author(s):
    Jeremy R. Ricketts
    Editor(s):
    Kreg Abshire (see profile)
    Date:
    2017
    Subject(s):
    American cultural studies, Film, Postcolonial studies
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Romaine Fielding, The Rattlesnake: A Psychical Species (1913)
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6HH6C55F
    Abstract:
    Romaine Fielding was a popular and versatile silent filmmaker who often produced, directed, and starred in his own productions. He worked for the influential Lubin Film Company and cranked out two-reelers at a prodigious rate. Committed to authenticity, he was also one of the few directors of his time to film westerns in the West, shooting several in New Mexico. Enrique Lamadrid (1992), Linda and Michael Woal (1995), and A. Gabriel Meléndez (2008) have all argued for the importance of studying Fielding’s oeuvre. As Lamadrid points out, Fielding was a cinematic pioneer in the use of sophisticated symbolism; and as the Woals note, Fielding broke ground by portraying Indians and Mexicans in leading roles. His films also reveal American perspectives about Nuevomexicanos in the early twentieth century. Yet one of Fielding’s films, The Rattlesnake: A Psychical Species (1913), remains resistant to unified interpretation. This essay argues that the film is a colonizing narrative that uses a controlling gaze to justify the theft of Mexican land and render the Mexican male an object of colonial domination—a part of the landscape as surely as a rattlesnake but one that can be monitored and managed.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial
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