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June 14, 2012 - Image 98

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-06-14

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Liam Da n ie l / So ny P ic tures Class ics


Comedic film delves into treatment
of Victorian-age female "hysteria."

Curt Schleier
Special to the Jewish News


Since 1973 I have had the pleasure to know Danny. I have always
appreciated his honesty and his support ... Thank you, Danny, and
here's to many, many more!

Stefano, Bill and the staff of The Gallery


Congratulations Danny!

Thanks for your 40 year friendship
and many more years to come

Gary Cochran, My late father Jack Cochran
and the staff of Beau Jacks

100 June 14 • 2012



ysteria is a film about man
and machine. Actually, it's
the story of women and a
machine, that machine being the elec-
tric vibrator.
It's set in 1880s Victorian London
and loosely based on the real-life
invention of a device that was thought
to cure all types of feminine ills. At
the time, the "epidemic of hysteria:'
thought to be caused by a "wander-
ing uterus:' was treated by "pelvic
hand massage" performed on clothed
women with their drawers off and
their feet up in stirrups, under a drape,
until they achieved a "paroxysm."
The film, directed by Tanya Wexler,
stars Hugh Dancy as Dr. Granville, a
germ-obsessed doctor who loses his
hospital position and goes to work
for Dr. Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce),
whose private practice treats the
"hysterical" upper-class women. The
doctors' "exhaustive physical labor"
is finally relieved when Dr. Granville
discovers another use for a prototype
of an "electric feather duster:'
Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Dr.
Dalrymple's elder daughter, Charlotte,
a forward-thinking social reformer
who runs a settlement house for poor
women, much to the dismay of her

conservative father.
It is another well-crafted and intel-
ligent role for the Academy Award
nominee, who moves effortlessly
between roles in big budget films such
as Dark Knight and smaller, indepen-
dent projects like Crazy Heart. If there
is a commonality to them, it is that she
often portrays strong, smart and inde-
pendent women.
Strong, smart and independent
women run deep in her family.
"My grandmother was a pedia-
trician and her sister, who is my
great-aunt, was a lawyer and a judge
Gyllenhaal said in a recent telephone
interview. The other sister was an
opera singer, she said. They were first-
generation, and probably because their
parents were immigrants, there was a
different kind of pressure to succeed.
"I never knew my grandmother, but
I was close to my great-aunt Frieda,
who was the lawyer. I think it's kind of
amazing that all three of these women
so long ago were able to be as success-
ful as they were.
"My mom, [Naomi Foner
Gyllenhaal, nee Achs], also is interest-
ing and smart. She's a screenwriter
in her 60s and just about to direct
her first movie. She is very politically
active. I'm interested in interesting
women, and as I look around, not
everyone is. But those are the women I

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