By Leonard Quart
During this latest replace to American movie and Society due to the fact 1945, the authors extend upon past variations by way of including movies formerly missed, and develop their research of a couple of motion pictures by way of discussing how those works trap the temper and values of yankee society in a specific decade. Interpretation of movies can contain direct connections with social and political matters, yet frequently take care of the $64000 subtext of desires, wants, and displacements that the yank public feels. fresh movies that current homosexual relationships and politics, resembling Brokeback Mountain and Milk, and that handle race family members and concrete lifelike Crash and helpful are tested. This fourth version additionally addresses adjustments within the sleek movie corresponding to convergence and the electronic revolution.
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Carter’s racial past is his children’s gift for music (the “natural rhythm” of blacks) — though he still guiltily goes to Boston once a week to practice at a ghetto clinic. Ultimately, the family secret is revealed when Dr. Carter is rejected for a naval commission because he is black, and the family is forced to deal with the mild social prejudices of the town and, more important, their sensitive son’s confusion (the children were never told) over his racial identity. Lost Boundaries is a well-intentioned film, but it is limited by a neat Hollywood formula that turns the problem of racism into a peripheral racial problem and totally blurs even that issue by having the black Carters played by white actors (Mel Ferrer and Beatrice Pearson) in the Hollywood tradition of Showboat and Imitation of Life.
In the film, a WASP magazine writer, Phil Green (Gregory Peck), pretends to be a Jew for two months so that he can write an exposé of bigotry. In pursuit of his story, a gallery of anti-Semites make their appearance, running the gamut from raging bigots to genteel WASPs (“nice people”) who indulge in polite prejudice and to self-hating Jews who object to Jews who are too ethnic (“kikey”). indd 31 6/7/2011 10:55:27 AM 32 AMERICAN FILM AND SOCIETY SINCE 1945 social-problem films. Its use of a Gentile journalist to confront anti-Semitism evaded the whole issue.
However, the portrait of the Germans, who are interested only in self-preservation—personified by a ruthless, sensual, ex-Nazi collaborator played by Marlene Dietrich — is not a sympathetic one. Yet, as is Wilder’s wont, by the climax he has thoroughly softened the film’s bite, endorsing the American values that he, at first, so savagely poked fun at. Clearly, the compromises inherent in A Foreign Affair were the Hollywood norm since the industry rarely had the courage or the imagination to deal truly with controversial political and social themes.
American Film and Society since 1945 by Leonard Quart