The Cooper Touch


Claudette Colbert’s spanking by Gary Cooper in Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife (1938), reframed in the CineManArt series by ArtGraeco

In Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife, Gary Cooper realizes that his relationship with his rebellious wife, Claudette Colbert, has many similarities with the plot in Taming of the Shrew. After exchanging slaps with his wife, he consults the book and tries something different: he puts his wife on his lap and starts spanking her, invoking Shakespeare!

Hollywood has used spanking routinely as a way to tame a rebellious woman. Studios reinforced the idea that spankings (retrograde, maligned, or erotic), were a healthy part of a woman’s life.


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