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August 1996, Week 3


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Chris Worsnop <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 15 Aug 1996 16:51:08 -0400
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Think about the fuss raised by films like "Our Daily Bread", "Grapes of
Wrath", "Marty", "Salt of the Earth" which showed living conditions closer
to what they really are/were like. Big political foofarra! HUAC involved;
blacklisting, or rumblings of it. Compare these to films like "How Green Was
My Valley" in which the Welsh mining hovel is romanticised into something
akin to the master suite in Robin Hood's Nottingham Castle.  Hollywood
didn't then (doesn't now?) want anything in its films that could be
interpreted as "socialist". Think of the antithesis: "Topper", the Busby
Berkley films of the 1930s (We're in the Money):films where the wealthy who
play for a living were held up to audiences as models to aspire to.
On the other hand, I can think of a few Hollywood films where the living
conditions were more realistic: Four Friends, The Deerhunter, so this is not
a universal trait.
But I'd like also to extend the question.
Why is it that all American houses in sitcoms seem to be designed with a
front door that enters directly into the living room, and a staircase that
comes down into the living room?
Why is it that central characters in TV and movies can always find a parking
spot directly in front of the building they are going to enter?
Why does it never rain in movies unless someone is feeling miserable, or
being burried?
It might be fun to collect a master list of such questions, print them up,
and offer them to teachers as fruitful topics for investigation in media
education. Better than memorizing the names of the lenses.
If anyone is interested, I'll do the collecting, and post it back to the
list when it's done.
Please send your suggestions either to me directly or to the list using the
subject description: "Hollywood questions".
Chris M. Worsnop
Consultant, speaker, workshop leader
Assessment, writing, media education
2400 Dundas Street West
Unit 6, Suite 107
Ontario, Canada
L5K 2R8
Email:  <[log in to unmask]>
Phone:  (905) 823-0875 (please note correction)
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