[lit-ideas] Re: What a day!

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2012 16:31:09 +0100 (BST)

From: "cblitid@xxxxxxxx" <cblitid@xxxxxxxx>
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Sent: Tuesday, 24 July 2012, 8:37
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: What a day!

On 24-Jul-12, at 9:05 AM, I wrote:

List members might be interested to learn what other movies (25 in all) were on 
the United States National Film Registry's inaugural list of "culturally, 
historically, or aesthetically significant" films.

In alphabetical order, with year of release:

Best Years of Our Lives, The 1946
Casablanca 1942
Citizen Kane 1941
Crowd, The 1928
Doctor Strangelove 1964
General, The 1927
Gone With the Wind 1939
Grapes of Wrath, The 1940
High Noon 1952
Intolerance 1916
Learning Tree, The 1969
Maltese Falcon, The 1941
Modern Times 1936
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 1939
Nanook of the North 1922
On the Waterfront 1954
Searchers, The 1956
Singin’ in the Rain 1952
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1937
Some Like It Hot 1959
Star Wars 1977
Sunrise 1927
Sunset Boulevard 1950
Vertigo 1958
Wizard of Oz, The 1939

Chris Bruce,
ever interested in what's "culturally,
historically, or aesthetically significant",
in Kiel, Germany>

Also the agenda-setting in such lists. It seems to me almost unarguable that 
'The Godfather Parts I and II' are not of greater significance than many on 
this list [certainly than the over-rated 'Vertigo' (which is not a patch on 
'Psycho', and not as significant either)]: yet 'TGF' and 'Psycho' are perhaps 
not films we might want to send to aliens hoping them to look fondly on us, nor 
do they reflect what America might want to see in the mirror of its cinema. 

'TGF' suggests an unholy alliance between the legitimate world the underworld, 
and that corruption and self-interest undermine the most cherished institutions 
from 'the family' to the state, and in Michael Corleone it tells a most 
un-American fable of 'what shall it profit a man to gain the world, yet lose 
his soul?' And that is only to skim its surface. But instead we are given the 
romantic fantasy of 'Mr. Smith' which is only signficant because it tells us 
something of how America would like to see itself, not how it is.

'Star Wars' is just cowboys in space and its main significance was its success 
in presenting 'kids-stuff': so that, as William Goldman explains in 'Adventures 
in the Screen Trade', it had a deleterious effect on movies since - as with the 
blockbuster format, notably the superhero one - it showed that a mass market 
and relevant franchising was best exploited using concepts that would not tax 
the mind of a ten year old. It is a much less significant film, aside from its 
negative effect on the business of movies, than 'E.T' where the fable of a 
figure that is human-like but not human, that comes not of this earth, that 
dies and is resurrected, that preaches 'Be good' and heals the sick, that 
touches the heart of children where the adult heart has hardened, is given 
a spin where the Christ-figure is an 'alien'.
No one objects because this is very much in the spirit of the Christian message 
[properly understood*].

*Anyone who is affronted because this suggests they have not properly 
understood the Christian message, please see me after.

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