Making cleaver


This article discusses the ways in which government propaganda and corporate advertising during the 1940s and 1950s made a concerted effort to mitigate the increased sexual, economic, and social freedoms of women engendered by the circumstances of the war years. While Rosie the Riveter and others like her became the picture Americans often associate with women in World War II, advertising firms and the government deliberately created Rosie and her fellows to reinforce female participation in the war effort only through their pre-ascribed dichotomous roles as either socially tamed sexual objects or mothers. Then, as the war drew to a close, advertising campaigns and government propaganda used the same images of hyper-feminized women to support a cult of ultra-domesticity and to enforce heteronormative gender roles in order to bolster capitalism, consumerism, and traditionalism among the American public in the face of the Cold War. These images belied the real experiences of women during the war and postwar years, and they reinforced dichotomies between capitalism and communism, permissible marital sexuality and aberrant behavior, victory through traditionalism and anarchy through divergent lifestyles. In both decades, government agencies and advertising firms set about both sanctioning female patriotism and influencing societal norms, and their concerted efforts presented the American public with ubiquitous images of certain kinds of femininity. After the war, Rosie the Riveter quickly gave way to June Cleaver. But one was no less socially and culturally constructed than the other.

Recommended Citation

Vandermeade, Samantha L. (2015) "Fort Lipstick and the Making of June Cleaver: Gender Roles in American Propaganda and Advertising, 1941-1961," Madison Historical Review: Vol. 12 , Article 3.
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Cleaver (The Sopranos)

2007 American film

Cleaver is a metafictionalfilm within a TV series that serves as an important plot element toward the end of the HBOtelevision drama seriesThe Sopranos. Although very little film material is actually shown in the series, its planning and development are discussed at large throughout multiple seasons of the show. The extent to which Sopranos character Christopher Moltisanti mixes confidential and personal information about the Soprano mob family into the story elements of Cleaver is the focal point throughout its development. After the project eventually materializes, Cleaver can be categorized as a direct-to-DVDmafia-slasher film, described alternately as "Saw meets the Godfather II", "the Ring meets The Godfather", and "a story about a young man who goes to pieces and then manages to pull himself together again".[1] Several characters are credited for their involvement in the project. The screenplay was written by J. T. Dolan based on a story by Christopher Moltisanti, directed by Morgan Yam and produced by Carmine Lupertazzi, Jr. and Moltisanti. The film starred Jonathan LaPaglia as Michael "the Cleaver" and Daniel Baldwin as mob boss Salvatore ("Sally Boy"). Also starring as Sally-boy's key advisors are George Pogatsia as Frankie and Lenny Ligotti as Nicky. Initially, Moltisanti and Lupertazzi attempt to cast Ben Kingsley as the mafia boss in the episode "Luxury Lounge", but Kingsley eventually turns down the part.


Cleaver—originally titled Pork Store Killer—stars protagonist Michael, nicknamed "the Butcher". When Christopher proposes the plot to writer J. T. Dolan, he says the film is about a "young wiseguy, assassin, gets betrayed by his people. They whack him, leave his body parts in dumpsters all around the city. Long story short, he is put back together, by science...or maybe it's supernatural. And he gets payback on everyone who fucked him over, including the cunt he was engaged to. She was getting porked by his boss the night the hero was killed."

Several episodes in the film are drawn from Moltisanti's own life experiences as a made man in the Soprano crime family, including a misinterpreted and overblown rumor concerning a potential affair between Family head Anthony Soprano and Christopher's then-fiancée Adriana La Cerva. The film closes on a tight-shot of a crucifix and a cornicello, juxtaposing "the sacred and the profane".


Moltisanti met Dolan while both were in rehab recovering from heroin addiction. In the episode "In Camelot" (5x07), their friendship was complicated when Christopher introduced J. T. to the underground world of high-stakes poker games, inadvertently giving the writer a new outlet for his addictive personality. Dolan rapidly found himself $60,000 in debt, and soon wound up back in rehab at Moltisanti's prompting.

The film itself originated in "Mayham" (6x03), when Moltisanti offered Dolan a way to clear his debts: write a screenplay for a digital slasher film based on a concept by Christopher. But the story had its genesis long before, when Christopher began his quest to write a screenplay in "The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti" (1x08). After struggling through 19 pages, Moltisanti became disillusioned and slipped into a depression, throwing away his work. He later had an affair with studio vice-president Amy Safir in "D-Girl" (2x07); through her he met Swingers and Made scribe Jon Favreau, with whom he discussed his film concept. When they decide on the movie title Cleaver, Christopher mentions to Tony that the estate of Black Panther Party leader Eldridge Cleaver have filed a motion to put a hold on production because of the name association. This is never brought up again in the series and the title does not change.

In "Kaisha" (6x12), he discussed the similarities between Sally Boy and Anthony Soprano with Julianna Skiff, describing both as men who think that everything belongs to them — a notion crystallized by Sally Boy in Cleaver's finale when he tells Michael: "What you have belongs to me" because "what's mine is mine; what's yours is mine."



In conjunction with the premiere of "Stage 5," HBO aired the seven-minute mockumentaryMaking Cleaver, detailing the film's production. Including in-character interviews with Moltisanti, Lupertazzi, Yam, Baldwin, LaPaglia, and special-effects make-up artist Steve Kelly, the behind-the-scenes look is broken up into four segments: "Concept," "Courting Kingsley," "Cast and Crew," and "A 'Family' Production." The mockumentary is included in the Season 6 Part 2 DVD set and in the Complete Series DVD collection.


  1. ^Lupertazzi's description of the movie at the premiere in "Stage 5"

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In conjunction with the premiere of The Sopranos episode "Stage 5," HBO aired this seven-minute mockumentary titled "Making 'Cleaver'", detailing the fictional film's production. It includes in-character interviews with Moltisanti, Lupertazzi, Yam, Baldwin, LaPaglia, and special-effects make-up artist Steve Kelly. The behind-the-scenes look is broken up into four segments: "Concept," "Courting Kingsley," "Cast and Crew," and "A 'Family' Production." The mockumentary is included in the Season 6 Part 2 DVD set and in the Complete Series DVD collection.

Popular reviews

  • Dante Izrael

    Can't wait to see the next Christopher Moltisanti production, it will be so awesome

  • amanda

    what a talented producer i am sure he will continue to live and make many more movies

  • amelia

    need christopher moltisanti saying “femboys?” to be my new ringtone

  • Mitch Myers

    This is completely in-kayfabe Christopher Moltisanti & Little Carmine saying "B-movie femboys" I wasn't expecting to find this today

  • Tiger

    Little Carmine has tremendous clout

  • Zachary Leeman

    RIP J.T. Dolan. Underrated writer.

    More here.

  • benny

    hmmm never seen michael imperioli and christopher moltisanti in the same room

  • saje

    @ christopher moltisanti… Can I get a dick pic with your boxers on and one without them on? Can I also get 3 different pics of your balls in any position. Also, can I get just a normal pic of your dick from the front and one where your pee hole is spread a bit open. Can I get a picture of you jerking off? Can I get a pic of your dick and ass from behind in one shot? Can I also get a pic your full front body in just your boxers? And can I get a pic of your ass while your boxers are all up? Can I also get a pic of your dick while you're…

  • Owen

    Not my rating for The Sopranos, but I wanted to log something Sopranos related on here.

    My rating for the show as a whole would be a perfect ten. What a phenomenal piece of television. I’m deeply excited for The Many Saints of Newark. 

  • Jimmy Hollywood

    Put cleaver back on letterboxd you cowards

  • VanderMelon64

    Just finished The Sopranos, the GOAT TV show no question about it. Tony I cooka da pizza!!!!

  • Eric

    “femboy” -christopher moltisanti



Cleaver making



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