Damsel in distress

The damsel-in-distress, persecuted maiden, or princess in jeopardy is a classic theme in world literature, art, film and video games; most notably in those that have a lot of action. This trope usually involves beautiful, innocent, or helpless young female leads, placed in a dire predicament by a villain, monster or alien, and who requires a male hero to achieve her rescue. Often these young women are stereotyped as very physically weak and almost completely dependent on the male lead. After rescuing her, the hero often obtains her hand in marriage. She has become a stock character of fiction, particularly of melodrama. Though she is usually human, she can also be of any other species, including fictional or folkloric species; and even divine figures such as an angel, spirit, or deity.

The word "damsel" derives from the French demoiselle, meaning "young lady", and the term "damsel in distress" in turn is a translation of the French demoiselle en détresse. It is an archaic term not used in modern English except for effect or in expressions such as this. It can be traced back to the knight-errant of Medieval songs and tales, who regarded protection of women as an essential part of his chivalric code which includes a notion of honour and nobility.[1] The English term "damsel in distress" itself first seems to have appeared in Richard Ames' 1692 poem "Sylvia’s Complaint of Her Sexes Unhappiness."[2]

Paolo Uccello 050
Paolo Uccello's depiction of Saint George and the dragon, c. 1470, a classic image of a damsel in distress.


Ancient history

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 011
Rembrandt's Andromeda chained to the rock – a late-Renaissance damsel in distress from Greek mythology.

The damsel in distress theme featured in the stories of the ancient Greeks. Greek mythology, while featuring a large retinue of competent goddesses, also contains helpless maidens threatened with sacrifice. For example, Andromeda's mother offended Poseidon, who sent a beast to ravage the land. To appease him Andromeda's parents fastened her to a rock in the sea. The hero Perseus slew the beast, saving Andromeda. Andromeda in her plight, chained naked to a rock, became a favorite theme of later painters. This theme of the Princess and dragon is also pursued in the myth of St George.

Another early example of a damsel in distress is Sita in the ancient Indian epic Ramayana. In the epic, Sita is kidnapped by the villain Ravana and taken to Lanka. Her husband Rama goes on a quest to rescue her, with the help of the monkey-god Hanuman.

Post-classical history

European fairy tales frequently feature damsels in distress. Evil witches trapped Rapunzel in a tower, cursed the princess to die in "Snow White", and put Sleeping Beauty into a magical sleep. In all of these, a valorous prince comes to the maiden's aid, saves her, and marries her (though Rapunzel is not directly saved by the prince, but instead saves him from blindness after her exile).

The damsel in distress was an archetypal character of medieval romances, where typically she was rescued from imprisonment in a tower of a castle by a knight-errant. Chaucer's The Clerk's Tale of the repeated trials and bizarre torments of patient Griselda was drawn from Petrarch. The Emprise de l'Escu vert à la Dame Blanche (founded 1399) was a chivalric order with the express purpose of protecting oppressed ladies.

The theme also entered the official hagiography of the Catholic Church – most famously in the story of Saint George who saved a princess from being devoured by a dragon. A late addition to the official account of this Saint's life, not attested in the several first centuries when he was venerated, it is nowadays the main act for which Saint George is remembered.

Obscure outside Norway is Hallvard Vebjørnsson, the Patron Saint of Oslo, recognised as a martyr after being killed while valiantly trying to defend a woman – most likely a slave – from three men accusing her of theft.

Modern history

17th century

In the 17th century English ballad The Spanish Lady (one of several English and Irish songs with that name), a Spanish lady captured by an English captain falls in love with her captor and begs him not to set her free but to take her with him to England, and in this appeal describes herself as "A lady in distress".[3]

18th century

The damsel in distress makes her debut in the modern novel as the title character of Samuel Richardson's Clarissa (1748), where she is menaced by the wicked seducer Lovelace.

Reprising her medieval role, the damsel in distress is a staple character of Gothic literature, where she is typically incarcerated in a castle or monastery and menaced by a sadistic nobleman, or members of the religious orders. Early examples in this genre include Matilda in Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, Emily in Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho, and Antonia in Matthew Lewis' The Monk.

The perils faced by this Gothic heroine were taken to an extreme by the Marquis de Sade in Justine, who exposed the erotic subtext which lay beneath the damsel-in-distress scenario.

The Knight Errant b John Everett Millais 1870
John Everett Millais' The Knight Errant of 1870 saves a damsel in distress and underlines the erotic subtext of the genre.

One exploration of the theme of the persecuted maiden is the fate of Gretchen in Goethe's Faust. According to the philosopher Schopenhauer:

The great Goethe has given us a distinct and visible description of this denial of the will, brought about by great misfortune and by the despair of all deliverance, in his immortal masterpiece Faust, in the story of the sufferings of Gretchen. I know of no other description in poetry. It is a perfect specimen of the second path, which leads to the denial of the will not, like the first, through the mere knowledge of the suffering of the whole world which one acquires voluntarily, but through the excessive pain felt in one's own person. It is true that many tragedies bring their violently willing heroes ultimately to this point of complete resignation, and then the will-to-live and its phenomenon usually end at the same time. But no description known to me brings to us the essential point of that conversion so distinctly and so free from everything extraneous as the one mentioned in Faust (The World as Will and Representation, Vol. I, §68)

19th century

The misadventures of the damsel in distress of the Gothic continued in a somewhat caricatured form in Victorian melodrama. According to Michael Booth in his classic study English Melodrama the Victorian stage melodrama featured a limited number of stock characters: the hero, the villain, the heroine, an old man, an old woman, a comic man and a comic woman engaged in a sensational plot featuring themes of love and murder. Often the good but not very clever hero is duped by a scheming villain, who has eyes on the damsel in distress until fate intervenes to ensure the triumph of good over evil.[4]

Such melodrama influenced the fledgling cinema industry and led to damsels in distress being the subject of many early silent films, especially those that were made as multi-episode serials. Early examples include The Adventures of Kathlyn in 1913 and The Hazards of Helen, which ran from 1914 to 1917. The silent movie heroines frequently faced new perils provided by the industrial revolution and catering to the new medium's need for visual spectacle. Here we find the heroine tied to a railway track, burning buildings, and explosions. Sawmills were another stereotypical danger of the industrial age, as recorded in a popular song from a later era:

... A bad gunslinger called Salty Sam was chasin' poor Sweet Sue

He trapped her in the old sawmill and said with an evil laugh,
If you don't give me the deed to your ranch
I'll saw you all in half!
And then he grabbed her (and then)
He tied her up (and then)
He turned on the bandsaw (and then, and then...!) ...

— Along Came Jones by The Coasters

20th century

Jungle girl Nyoka, played by Kay Aldridge, frequently found herself in distress in Perils of Nyoka

During the First World War, the imagery of a Damsel in Distress was extensively used in Allied propaganda (see illustrations). Particularly, the Imperial German conquest and occupation of Belgium was commonly referred to as The Rape of Belgium - effectively making British and French soldiers into knights bent on saving that rape victim. This was expressed explicitly in the lyrics of Keep the Home Fires Burning mentioning British boys as having gone to help a "Nation in Distress".

A form of entertainment in which the damsel-in-distress emerged as a stereotype at this time was stage magic. Restraining attractive female assistants and imperiling them with blades and spikes became a staple of 20th century magicians' acts. Noted illusion designer and historian Jim Steinmeyer identifies the beginning of this phenomenon as coinciding with the introduction of the "sawing a woman in half" illusion. In 1921 magician P. T. Selbit became the first to present such an act to the public. Steinmeyer observes that: "Before Selbit's illusion, it was not a cliche that pretty ladies were teased and tortured by magicians. Since the days of Robert-Houdin, both men and women were used as the subjects for magic illusions". However, changes in fashion and great social upheavals during the first decades of the 20th century made Selbit's choice of "victim" both practical and popular. The trauma of war had helped to desensitise the public to violence and the emancipation of women had changed attitudes to them. Audiences were tiring of older, more genteel forms of magic. It took something shocking, such as the horrific productions of the Grand Guignol theatre, to cause a sensation in this age. Steinmeyer concludes that: "beyond practical concerns, the image of the woman in peril became a specific fashion in entertainment".[5]

The damsel-in-distress continued as a mainstay of the comics, film, and television industries throughout the 20th century. Imperiled heroines in need of rescue were a frequent occurrence in black-and-white film serials made by studios such as Columbia Pictures, Mascot Pictures, Republic Pictures, and Universal Studios, and in the 1930s, 40s and early 50s. These serials sometimes drew inspiration for their characters and plots from adventure novels and comic books. Notable examples include the character Nyoka the Jungle Girl, whom Edgar Rice Burroughs created for comic books and who was later adapted into a serial heroine in Republic productions such as Perils of Nyoka (1942). Additional classic damsels in that mold were Jane Porter, in both the novel and movie versions of Tarzan, and Ann Darrow, as played by Fay Wray in the movie King Kong (1933), in one of the most iconic instances. The notorious hoax documentary Ingagi (1930) also featured this idea, and Wray's role was repeated by Jessica Lange and Naomi Watts in remakes. As journalist Andrew Erish has noted: "Gorillas plus sexy women in peril equals enormous profits".[6] A small screen iconic portrayal, this time in children's cartoons, was Underdog's girlfriend, Sweet Polly Purebred.

Frequently cited examples of a damsel in distress in comics include Lois Lane, who was eternally getting into trouble and needing to be rescued by Superman, and Olive Oyl, who was in a near-constant state of kidnap, requiring her to be saved by Popeye.

Critical and theoretical responses

Harry R. Hopps, Destroy this mad brute Enlist - U.S. Army, 03216u edit
A US World War I poster (Harry R. Hopps; 1917) invites prospective recruits to symbolically save a "damsel in distress" from the monstrous Germans.

Damsels in distress have been cited as an example of differential treatment of genders in literature, film, and works of art. Feminist criticism of art, film, and literature has often examined gender-oriented characterisation and plot, including the common "damsel in distress" trope, as perpetrating regressive and patronizing myths about women.[7][8] Many modern writers and directors, such as Anita Sarkeesian, Angela Carter and Jane Yolen, have revisited classic fairy tales and "damsel in distress" stories or collected and anthologised stories and folk tales that break the "damsel in distress" pattern.[9]

While late twentieth-century feminist criticism may have highlighted alternatives to the damsel stereotype, the origins of some alternatives are to be found elsewhere. Joseph Campbell's work on comparative mythology has provided a theoretical model for heroes throughout the history of literature, drama, and film, which has been further developed by dramaturgical writers such as Christopher Vogler. These theories suggest that within the underlying story arc of every hero is found an episode known as the ordeal, where the character is almost destroyed. By surviving fear, danger, or torture the hero proves he or she has special qualities and ultimately emerges re-invented to progress to ultimate victory. Within this theory the empowered "damsel" can be a female hero rendered powerless and imperilled during her heroic ordeal but who ultimately emerges as a strong figure who claims victory; yet the male and female versions of such ordeal and empowerment still differ at a fundamental level, in that when there is a character doing the rescuing (sometimes referred to as "help unlooked for"), he is almost invariably male.

A poster for The Perils of Pauline (1914).
French caricature on the Romanian-German Peace Treaty
Romania as a helpless "damsel in distress" threatened by the brutal Imperial Germany, in a French World War I caricature

Empowered damsel

Examples can be found in films that date back to the early days of movie making. One of the films most often associated with the stereotype of the damsel in distress, The Perils of Pauline (1914), in fact provides at least a partial counterexample, in that Pauline, as played by Pearl White, is a strong character who decides against early marriage in favour of seeking adventure and becoming an author. Despite common belief, the film does not feature scenes with Pauline tied to a railroad track and threatened by a buzzsaw, although such scenes were incorporated into later re-creations and were also featured in other films made in the period around 1914. Academic Ben Singer has contested the idea that these "serial-queen melodramas" were male fantasies and has observed that they were marketed heavily at women.[10] The first motion picture serial made in the United States, What Happened to Mary? (1912), was released to coincide with a serial story of the same name published in McClure's Ladies' World magazine.

Empowered damsels were a feature of the serials made in the 1930s and 1940s by studios such as Republic Pictures. The "cliffhanger" scenes at the end of episodes provide many examples of female heroines bound and helpless and facing fiendish death traps. But those heroines, as played by actresses such as Linda Stirling and Kay Aldridge, were often strong, assertive women who ultimately played an active part in vanquishing the villains.

C.L. Moore's 1934 story "Shambleau" – generally acknowledged as epoch-making in the history of science fiction – begins in what seems a classical damsel in distress situation: the protagonist, space adventurer Northwest Smith, sees a "sweetly-made girl" pursued by a lynch mob intent on killing her and intervenes to save her, but finds her not a girl nor a human being at all, but a disguised alien creature, predatory and highly dangerous. Soon, Smith himself needs rescuing and barely escapes with his life.

These themes have received successive updates in modern-era characters, ranging from 'spy girls' of the 1960s to current movie and television heroines. In her book The Devil With James Bond (1967) Ann Boyd compared James Bond with an updating of the legend of St George and the "princess and dragon" genre, particularly with Dr. No's dragon tank. The damsel in distress theme is also very prominent in The Spy Who Loved Me, where the story is told in the first person by the young woman Vivienne Michel, who is threatened with imminent rape by thugs when Bond kills them and claims her as his reward.

The female spy Emma Peel in the 1960s British television series The Avengers was often seen in "damsel in distress" situations. The character and her reactions, as portrayed by actress Diana Rigg, differentiated these scenes from other movie and television scenarios where women were similarly imperilled as pure victims or pawns in the plot. A scene with Emma Peel bound and threatened with a death ray in the episode From Venus with Love is a direct parallel to James Bond's confrontation with a laser in the film Goldfinger.[11] Both are examples of the classic hero's ordeal as described by Campbell and Vogler. The serial heroines and Emma Peel are cited as providing inspiration for the creators of strong heroines in more recent times. Ranging from Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone and Princess Leia in Star Wars to "post feminist" icons such as Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena and Gabrielle from Xena: Warrior Princess, Sydney Bristow from Alias, Natasha Romanoff from Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kim Possible from the series of the same name, Sarah Connor from Terminator, and Veronica Mars also from the series of the same name.[12][13][14]

Reflecting these changes, Daphne Blake of the Scooby-Doo cartoon series (who throughout the series is captured dozens of times, falls through trap doors, etc.) is portrayed in the Scooby-Doo film as a wisecracking feminist heroine (quote: "I've had it with this damsel in distress thing!"). The 2009 film Sherlock Holmes includes a classical damsel in distress episode, where Irene Adler (played by Rachel McAdams) is helplessly bound to a conveyor belt in an industrial slaughterhouse, and is saved from being sawn in half by a chainsaw; yet in other episodes of the same film Adler is strong and assertive – for example, overcoming with contemptuous ease two thugs who sought to rob her (and robbing them instead). In the film's climax it is Adler who saves the British Empire, dismantling at the last moment a device set to poison the entire membership of Parliament.

In the final scene of the 2007 Walt Disney Pictures film Enchanted the traditional roles are reversed when male protagonist Robert (Patrick Dempsey) is captured by Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) in her dragon form. In a King Kong fashion, she carries him to the top of a New York skyscraper, until Robert's beloved Giselle climbs, sword in hand, to save him.

A similar role reversal is evident in Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, in whose climatic scene the male protagonist is captured by a mass murderer, locked in an underground torture room, chained, stripped naked, and humiliated when his female partner enters to save him and destroy the villain. Still another example is Foxglove Summer, part of Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series - where the protagonist Peter Grant is bound and taken captive by the Queen of the Faeries, and it is Grant's girlfriend who comes to rescue him, riding a Steel Horse.

In Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Snow Queen (1844), the protagonist Gerda, a little girl, rescues her friend Kai, a little boy, from the Snow Queen. In the 2013 film adaptation Frozen, Gerda and Kai are substituted with the sisters Anna and Elsa respectively.

In video games

External image
Amiibo figurine of Princess Peach as she appeared in Super Mario Odyssey, in which Peach is portrayed in her recurring role of the damsel in distress.

In computer and video games, female characters are often cast in the role of the damsel in distress, with their rescue being the objective of the game.[15][16] Princess Zelda in the early The Legend of Zelda series and who has been described by Gladys L. Knight in her book Female Action Heroes as "perhaps one the most well-known 'damsel in distress' princesses in video game history",[17] the Sultan's daughter in Prince of Persia, and Princess Peach through much of the Mario series are paradigmatic examples. According to Salzburge Academy on Media and Global Change, in 1981 Nintendo offered game designer Shigeru Miyamoto to create a new video game for the American market. In the game the hero was Mario, and the objective of the game was to rescue a young princess named Peach. Peach was depicted as having a pink dress and blond hair. The princess was kidnapped and trapped in a castle by the villain Bowser, who is depicted as a turtle. Princess Peach appears in 15 of the main Super Mario games and is kidnapped in 13 of them. The only main games in which Peach was not kidnapped were in the North America release of Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario 3D World, but she was a character that can be played. Zelda became playable in some later games of the Legend of Zelda series or had the pattern altered.

In the Dragon's Lair game series, Princess Daphne is the beautiful daughter of King Aethelred and an unnamed queen. She serves as the series' damsel in distress.[18][19] Jon M. Gibson of GameSpy called Daphne "the epitome" as an example of the trope.[20] She has been the subject of controversy over sexism in video gaming due to her role and sexualization in the games.[21]

See also


  1. ^ Johan Huizinga remarks in his book The Waning of the Middle Ages, "the source of the chivalrous idea, is pride aspiring to beauty, and formalised pride gives rise to a conception of honour, which is the pole of noble life". Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages (1919) 1924:58.
  2. ^ Ames, Richard (1692). Sylvia’s Complaint of Her Sexes Unhappiness : a Poem, Being the Second Part of Sylvia’s Revenge, Or, a Satyr Against Man. London: Richard Baldwin. p. 12.
  3. ^ "Spanish Lady".
  4. ^ Booth, Michael (1965). English Melodrama. Herbert Jenkins.
  5. ^ Steinmeyer, Jim (2003). Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible. William Heinemann/Random House. pp. 277–295. ISBN 0-434-01325-0.
  6. ^ Erish, Andrew (8 January 2006). "Illegitimate dad of 'Kong'; One of the Depression's highest-grossing films was an outrageous fabrication, a scandalous and suggestive gorilla epic that set box office records across the country". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ "Damsel in Distress (Part 2) Tropes vs Women". 28 May 2013.
  8. ^ See, e.g., Alison Lurie, "Fairy Tale Liberation", The New York Review of Books, v. 15, n. 11 (Dec. 17, 1970) (germinal work in the field); Donald Haase, "Feminist Fairy-Tale Scholarship: A Critical Survey and Bibliography", Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies v.14, n.1 (2000).
  9. ^ See Jane Yolen, "This Book Is For You", Marvels & Tales, v. 14, n. 1 (2000) (essay); Yolen, Not One Damsel in Distress: World folktales for Strong Girls (anthology); Jack Zipes, Don't Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Fairy Tales in North America and England, Routledge: New York, 1986 (anthology).
  10. ^ Singer, Ben (February 1999). Richard Abel, ed. Female Power in the Serial-Queen Melodrama: The Etiology of An Anomaly in Silent Film. Continuum International Publishing Group - Athlone. pp. 168–177. ISBN 0-485-30076-1.
  11. ^ "Visitor Reviews: From Venus With Love". The Avengers Forever. Retrieved 2007-05-11.
  12. ^ Jowett, Lorna (2005). Sex and The Slayer: A Gender Studies Primer for the Buffy Fan. Wesleyan University Press.
  13. ^ Graham, Paula (2002). "Buffy Wars: The Next Generation". Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge. Bowling Green State University (4, Spring).
  14. ^ Gough, Kerry (August 2004). "Active Heroines Study Day - John Moores University, Liverpool (in partnership with The Association for Research in Popular Fiction)". Scope - An Online Journal of Film and Television Studies. Institute of Film & Television Studies, University of Nottingham.
  15. ^ Kaitlin Tremblay (1 June 2012). "Intro to Gender Criticism for Gamers: From Princess Peach, to Claire Redfield, to FemSheps". Gamasutra. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  16. ^ Stephen Totilo (2013-06-20). "Shigeru Miyamoto and the Damsel In Distress". Kotaku. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  17. ^ Knight, Gladys L. (2010). Female Action Heroes: A Guide to Women in Comics, Video Games, Film, and Television. ABC-CLIO. p. 62. ISBN 0-313-37612-3.
  18. ^ "Amtix Magazine Issue 17". Archive.org. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  19. ^ "Computer Gamer - Issue 18 (1986-09) (Argus Press) (UK)". Archive.org. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  20. ^ "GameSpy: Dragon's Lair 3D: Return to the Lair - Page 1". Xbox.gamespy.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  21. ^ "Tara's G-Spot - Games that hit the spot, according to Tara Babcock - 20 HOTTEST VIDEO GAME BABES BY TARA BABCOCK". www.impulsegamer.com. 2008-08-02. Retrieved 2014-06-15.


  • Mario Praz (1930) The Romantic Agony Chapter 3: 'The Shadow of the Divine Marquis'
  • Robert K. Klepper, Silent Films, 1877-1996, A Critical Guide to 646 Movies, pub. McFarland & Company, ISBN 0-7864-2164-9
A Damsel in Distress (1919 film)

A Damsel in Distress is a silent romantic comedy film released in 1919, starring June Caprice and Creighton Hale. The film is based on the novel A Damsel in Distress by English humorist P. G. Wodehouse. The director was George Archainbaud. The same novel later inspired a 1937 film.

A Damsel in Distress (1937 film)

A Damsel in Distress is a 1937 English-themed Hollywood musical comedy film starring Fred Astaire, Joan Fontaine, George Burns, and Gracie Allen. With a screenplay by P. G. Wodehouse, loosely based on his novel of the same name, music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, it is directed by George Stevens. It is the second (and last) Astaire musical directed by Stevens; the first was Swing Time.

A Damsel in Distress (musical)

A Damsel in Distress is a 2015 musical written by Jeremy Sams and Robert Hudson, with music and lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin. A romantic comedy, the musical is based on the novel A Damsel in Distress by P. G. Wodehouse, the 1928 play adapted from the novel, and the 1937 musical comedy film A Damsel in Distress based on the novel and play. The musical ran from 30 May to 27 June 2015 at Chichester Festival Theatre.

A Damsel in Distress (novel)

A Damsel in Distress is a novel by P. G. Wodehouse, first published in the United States on 4 October 1919 by George H. Doran, New York, and in the United Kingdom by Herbert Jenkins, London, on 15 October 1919. It had previously been serialised in The Saturday Evening Post, between May and June of that year.

Its plot revolves around golf-loving American composer George Bevan who falls in love with a mysterious young lady who takes refuge in his taxicab one day. When he later tracks her down to a romantic rural manor, mistaken identity leads to all manner of brouhaha.

A Foggy Day

"A Foggy Day" is a popular song composed by George Gershwin, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin, introduced by Fred Astaire in the 1937 film A Damsel in Distress. It was originally titled "A Foggy Day (In London Town)" in reference to the pollution-induced pea soup fogs that were common in London during that period, and is often still referred to by the full title.

Andromeda Chained to the Rocks

Andromeda Chained to the Rocks (1630) is a 34 x 25 oil on panel painting by the Dutch Golden Age painter Rembrandt. It is now in the Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands. Andromeda represents Rembrandt's first full length mythological female nude history painting and is taken from a story in Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Bullshot (film)

Bullshot is a 1983 film, based on the stage play Bullshot Crummond. The name comes from a parody of the 1929 film Bulldog Drummond, on which it is loosely based.

Captain Hugh "Bullshot" Crummond (Alan Shearman) is a World War I fighter pilot, Olympic athlete, racing driver, and part-time sleuth. He must save the world from the dastardly Count Otto van Bruno (Ronald E. House), his wartime adversary, and win the heart of the damsel in distress (Diz White).

The film was produced by George Harrison's company Handmade Films.

Alan Shearman would reprise his association with Handmade Films in their 1985 film Water.

Damsel in Distress (disambiguation)

The damsel in distress is a theme in world art, entertainment, and media, in which a beautiful woman must be rescued by a hero.

Damsel in Distress may also refer to:

"Damsel in Distress" (song), a 2014 song by Neck Deep from Wishful Thinking

A Damsel in Distress (novel), a 1919 novel by P. G. Wodehouse

A Damsel in Distress (1919 film), a silent romantic comedy film based on the novel

A Damsel in Distress (1937 film), a Hollywood musical film based on the novel

A Damsel in Distress (musical), a 2015 musical based on the novel

Damsels in Distress, a 2011 film by Whit Stillman

Damsels in Distress (plays), a 2001 trilogy of plays by Alan Ayckbourn

Fables for Robots

Fables for Robots (Polish: Bajki Robotów) is a series of humorous science fiction short stories by Polish writer Stanisław Lem, first printed in 1964.

The fables are written in the grotesque form of folk fairy tales, set in the universe populated by robots. In this universe there are robot kings, robot peasants, robot knights, robot scientists; a robot damsel in distress is pestered by a robot dragon, robot dogs have robot fleas, etc.The Fables constituted the bulk of the collection Mortal Engines (ISBN 0156621614) translated by Michael Kandel. Two of them were also published in The Cosmic Carnival of Stanislaw Lem.

I Can't Be Bothered Now

"I Can't Be Bothered Now" is a song composed by George Gershwin, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin, written for the 1937 film A Damsel In Distress, where it was introduced by Fred Astaire.


The ingénue is a stock character in literature, film, and a role type in the theatre; generally a girl or a young woman who is endearingly innocent and wholesome. Ingénue may also refer to a new young actress or one typecast in such roles. The term comes from the feminine form of the French adjective ingénu meaning "ingenuous" or innocent, virtuous, and candid. The term may also imply a lack of sophistication and cunning.

Typically, the ingénue is beautiful, kind, gentle, sweet, virginal, and often naïve, in mental or emotional danger, or even physical danger, usually a target of the cad; whom she may have mistaken for the hero. Due to lack of independence, the ingénue usually lives with her father, husband, or a father figure. The vamp (femme fatale) is often a foil for the ingénue (or the damsel in distress).

The ingénue is often accompanied with a romantic side plot. This romance is usually considered pure and harmless to both participants. In many cases, but not all, the male participant is just as innocent as the ingénue. The ingénue is also similar to the girl next door archetype.

In opera and musical theatre, the ingénue is usually sung by a lyric soprano. The ingénue stereotypically has the fawn-eyed innocence of a child, but subtle sexual appeal as well.

Jill the Reckless

Jill The Reckless is a novel by P. G. Wodehouse, first published in the United States on October 8, 1920 by George H. Doran, New York, (under the title The Little Warrior), and in the United Kingdom by Herbert Jenkins, London, on 4 July 1921. It was serialised in Collier's (US) between 10 April and 28 August 1920, in Maclean's (Canada) between 1 August and 15 November 1920, in both cases as The Little Warrior, and, as Jill the Reckless, in the Grand Magazine (UK), from September 1920 to June 1921.

The heroine here, Jill Mariner, is a sweet-natured and wealthy young woman who, at the opening, is engaged to a knighted MP, Sir Derek Underhill. We follow her through financial disaster, an adventure with a parrot, a policeman and the colourful proletariat, a broken engagement, an awkward stay with some grasping relatives, employment as a chorus girl, and the finding of true love.

Other characters include wealthy, dimwitted clubman Freddie Rooke (a precursor of Bertie Wooster), ruggedly attractive writer Wally Mason, both of these childhood friends of Jill's; her financially inept uncle Major Christopher Selby; and Sir Derek's domineering mother, Lady Underhill; Jill's unpleasant relatives on Long Island, New York; Elmer, Julia and Tibby Mariner; Drones Club member Algy Martyn, various chorus girls, composers and other theatrical types, and miscellaneous servants.

George Bevan, composer hero of Wodehouse's previous work A Damsel in Distress, receives a passing mention, as does an unspecified member of the Threepwood family. Algy Martyn later appears in Company for Henry.

The dust jacket of the UK first edition published by Herbert Jenkins was designed by Edmund Blampied.

Just Another Rhumba

"Just Another Rumba" is a 1937 song composed by George Gershwin with lyrics by Ira Gershwin.

Most likely written for A Damsel in Distress (1937) it was never included in the final production, and although the song went into rehearsal for The Goldwyn Follies (1938), it was never included in the final film.

Laila bint Lukaiz

Laila bint Lukaiz or Layla bint Lukayz (Arabic: لَيْلَى بنت لُكَيْز‎ died 483), otherwise known as "Layla the Chaste" (Arabic: ليلى العفيفة), was a legendary Arabian woman poet. She wrote a romantic epic of the knight in shining armor rescues damsel-in-distress motif. Her most famous poem, If Only al-Barraq Could See (Arabic: ليت للبراق عيناً), was set to music by Mohamed El Qasabgi and popularized by the singer Asmahan.

Missing white woman syndrome

Missing white woman syndrome is a phenomenon noted by social scientists and media commentators of the extensive media coverage, especially in television, of missing person cases involving young, white, upper-middle-class women or girls. The phenomenon is defined as the Western media's undue focus on upper-middle-class white women who disappear, with the disproportionate degree of coverage they receive being compared to cases of missing men or boys, women of color, and women of lower social classes. Although the term was coined to describe disproportionate coverage of missing person cases, it is sometimes used to describe similar disparities in news coverage of other violent crimes. Instances have been cited in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and South Africa.PBS news anchor Gwen Ifill is said to be the originator of the phrase. Charlton McIlwain, a professor at New York University, defines the syndrome as white women perpetually occupying a privileged role as violent crime victims in news media reporting, and concludes that missing white woman syndrome functions as a type of racial hierarchy in the cultural imagery of the West. Professor Eduardo Bonilla-Silva categorizes the racial component of missing white woman syndrome as a form of racial grammar, through which white supremacy is normalized by implicit or even invisible standards.Missing white woman syndrome has led to a number of right-wing tough on crime measures that were named for white women who disappeared and were subsequently found harmed. Moody, Dorris and Blackwell (2008) concluded that in addition to race and class, factors such as supposed attractiveness, body size and youthfulness function as unfair criteria in the determination of newsworthiness in coverage of missing women. Also noteworthy was that news coverage of missing black women was more likely to focus on the victim's problems, such as abusive boyfriends or a troubled past, while coverage of white women tends to focus on their roles as mothers or daughters.

Stiff Upper Lip (Gershwin song)

"Stiff Upper Lip" is a 1937 song composed by George Gershwin, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin. It references the British expression 'Stiff upper lip'.

It was introduced by Gracie Allen in the 1937 film A Damsel in Distress. The song is the occasion for an elaborate dance routine performed inside a funhouse by Fred Astaire, George Burns, and Miss Allen, and makes full use of all the trappings of the house, including the funhouse mirror. The number won an Academy Award for Best Dance Direction.

The Yellow Knight of Oz

The Yellow Knight of Oz (1930) is the twenty-fourth in the series of Oz books created by L. Frank Baum and his successors, and the tenth written by Ruth Plumly Thompson. It was illustrated by John R. Neill.

Sir Hokus of Pokes grows tired of the Emerald City, and he and the Comfortable Camel set out for some adventure. Sir Hokes wants to rescue a damsel in distress, or at least find a monster to fight. Sir Hokus visits Marshland and befriends Ploppa, a giant mud turtle. Ploppa would like to accompany Sir Hokus on his adventures, but cannot leave the swamp. Sir Hokus is joined by the Comfortable Camel.

Meanwhile, a boy named Speedy blasts his way to Oz in a homemade rocket ship, where he finds himself in the underground kingdom of Subterranea. At his touch, a golden statue of a beautiful girl comes to life. She is called Marygolden, and she accompanies Speedy on his further adventures. Sir Hokes and Speedy join forces and, using the power of a bag of magic dates, they counter the magic of the evil Sultan of Samandra and restore the Corumbian Kingdom, which the Sultan had conquered and enchanted. Sir Hokus learns his true identity: he is actually the young and handsome Yellow Knight of Corumbia, transformed into old, absent-minded Sir Hokus by the Sultan's magic. Using the power of the magic dates, Sir Hokus regains his youthful form and vacates the Emerald City to rule as Prince of Corumbia.

Things Are Looking Up

"Things Are Looking Up" is a song composed by George Gershwin, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin. It was introduced by Fred Astaire in the 1937 film A Damsel in Distress.

Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Tropes vs. Women in Video Games is a YouTube video series created by Anita Sarkeesian examining gender tropes in video games. The series was financed via crowdfunding, and came to widespread attention when its Kickstarter campaign triggered a wave of sexist harassment against Sarkeesian. Released on the channel FeministFrequency between March 2013 and April 2017, the series contained eighteen episodes.

The series discusses tropes relating to women in video games, and criticizes games which use women characters only as plot devices. Sarkeesian opines that most video games cater to a straight male audience, such as by featuring mostly male playable characters and sexualizing female characters. She also gives examples of women characters she views as positive. Sarkeesian was subject to harassment throughout the making of the series, at one point being forced to leave her home. The series received mostly positive critical reception.

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