1. Umberto Eco, A Theory of Semiotics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976), p. 174. [return to page 1]

2. Eco, p. 8.

3. Eco, p. 72.

4. Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics, trans. Wade Baskin, eds. Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye (1957); rpt. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966), p. 16. Saussure here first suggested a general semiology, of which linguistics would be a branch.

5. The graphic conventions I am using are based on those Eco has used in A Theory of Semiotics. To make a point that images, gestures, and objects are signs and that I must use words as signs to refer to these, I have set off these special signs with slant lines //. Thus, /dog/ is meant to designate the image rather than the word dog. Connotation and denotation, or that content which is signified, is set off by arrows <>. For instance, /leg/ is a sign connoting <hurdle>. Codes or systems are set off with brackets {} instead of quotation marks, hence the {tap dance} code. Double quotation marks are reserved for emphasis and quotation.

6. Stuart Hall, in "Encoding and Decoding the Television Discourse," Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies Occasional Paper, 1973, p. 2, describes transmission and reception as a complete circuit because received messages are translated into social systems which then become sources. Reprinted in Culture, Media, Language, eds. Stuart Hall, Dorothy Hobson, Andrew Lowe, and Paul Willis (London: Hutchinson, 1980).

7. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer publicity copy for Lady Be Good, Arthur Freed Collection (University of Southern California Special Collections).

8. Eco, p. 141.

9. Eco, p. 275.

10. Eco, p. 274.

11. Eco, p. 16; Saussure, p. 113. [return to page 2]

12. Eco, p. 72.

13. Eco, pp. 268-275.

14. Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, p. 56; Umberto Eco, "Articulations of the Cinematic Code," in Bill Nichols, ed., Movies and Methods (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), p.,596.

15. Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, p. 274.

16. Marshall and Jean Stearns, Jazz Dance (New York: Macmillan, 1968), p. 281.

17. Eco, "Articulations of the Cinematic Code," p. 592.

18. Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, p. 193

19. Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, p. 193.

20. Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, p. 191.

21. Richard Dyer, Stars: A Study Guide (London: The British Film Institute, 1979), p. 7.

22. John Kobal, "I Would Rather Dance than Eat!" interview with Eleanor Powell, Focus on Film No. 19 (Autumn, 1974), p. 23.

23. Fred Astaire, Steps in Time (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1959), quoted in Stearns, p. 224.

24. For an idea of the scope and complexity of social typage see Orrin E. Klapp, Heroes, Villains, and Fools (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1962).

25. See Roland Barthes, "The Realistic Effect," Film Reader 3 (February, 1978), for a discussion of the way detail signifies "reality" in literature (p. 134).

26. Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman, The Social Construction of Reality (New York: Doubleday, 1966) theorize this more fully as "collective sedimentation" (p. 39).

27. Hugh Fordin, The World of Entertainment (New York: Doubleday, 1975), p. 43.

28. These rediscoveries range from Molly Haskell's cautious suggestion that Garbo, Dietrich, Powell, and Hepburn "strayed" from heterosexuality but returned to it in From Reverence to Rape (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973), p. 132; to Janet Meyers' identification of the sexually "inscrutable" stars as certainly lesbian, quoted in Richard Dyer, Stars (London: British Film Institute, 1979), p. 67; and the "Introduction to the Lesbian Special Section" (Jump Cut Nos. 24/25, March, 1981), p. 18, by Edith Becker, Michelle Citron, Julia Lesage, and B. Ruby Rich, which acknowledges "viewing strategies" which find the lesbian subtext in some of the classic star performances.

29. Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, p. 310.

30. Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, pp. 275-276.

31. Ray L. Birdwhistell, Kinesics and Context (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1970), p. 42. Birdwhistell's "rule of thumb" is that the more similar (unimorphic) the male and female of a species, the more necessary the gender display. Humans, although they are dimorphic (having both a male and a female form), rather than unimorphic, are, relative to other species, not strongly marked as different by secondary sex characteristics.

32. Birdwhistell, p. 46.

33. Dennis Giles in "Showmaking," Movie No. 24 (Spring, 1977), pp. 17-18, quotes a lecture by Paddy Whannel in which Whannel describes Fred Astaire's dance style as "seduction and initiation of the female partner."

34. Eco, "Articulations of the Cinematic Code," p. 592.

35. Eco, "Articulations of the Cinematic Code," p. 600.

36. Birdwhistell, p. 113.

37. The idea that gesture is innate rather than learned has had particular tenacity because Charles Darwin espoused the instinctual explanation. See, for example, Charles Darwin, The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals (1887, rpt. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979).

38. Birdwhistell, p. 193.

39. Birdwhistell, p. 197.

40. Stearns, p. 140.

41. Eco, "Articulations of the Cinematic Code," p. 602.

42. Richard Dyer, "Entertainment and Utopia," Movie, No. 24 (Spring 1977), p. 3. Reprinted in Genre: The Musical, ed. Rick Altman (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981).

43. Richard Dyer, The Musical, Study Unit No. 16 (London: British Film Institute Education Advisory Service, 1975), pp. 18-19.

44. Dyer, The Musical, p. 19.

45. Dyer, "Entertainment and Utopia," p. 3. Dyer makes the case for the cultural basis of feeling as seen in the relationship between tonal structures and the range of emotions endemic to every society.

46. Dyer, "Entertainment and Utopia," p. 3.

47. Dyer, The Musical, p. 19.

48. Fordin, p. 41.

49. Michael Wood, "When the Music Stopped," The Columbia Forum, 1972, reprinted in Dyer, The Musical, p. 25.

50. Kobal, p. 24.

51. Jane Feuer, The Hollywood Musical (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982), p. 61. Feuer points out that the popular/classical polarization in the film comments on Gershwin's own classical aspirations.

52. Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, p. 7.

53. Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, pp. 286-298.

54. An example of this is Eco's idea, developed in "Articulations of the Cinematic Code" (originally a paper delivered in 1967) that cinema iconography is triply articulated into figures, iconic signs, and iconic semes. This paralleled Birdwhistell's kine and kinemorph, to which Eco added the kinesic figure in this early paper. Later, in A Theory of Semiotics, he dismisses the possibility that iconic figures combine to produce iconic signs (p. 215).

55. John Corner, "Codes and Cultural Analysis," Media, Culture, and Society, Vol. 2, No. 1 (January, 1980), p. 81.