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August 1995, Week 3


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Gene Stavis <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 13 Aug 1995 12:08:37 -0700
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*****  Clockwork Orange came out in 1971.  The "message" in the film
seems to me more like an excuse to show the violence rather than a
critique of it.  A similar strategy is used in Bad Lieutenant and the
various "mondo" documentaries modelled after Mondo Cane.  It's basically
"look at all this bad bad stuff but don't worry, we're telling you it's
bad so you can watch."
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Of course this strategy is almost as old as the movies themselves. Griffith
employed actual prostitutes in a sequence of "Intolerance" and had them
frontally nude to show the "debauchery".
 When faced with emerging censorship in the early twenties, Cecil B. DeMille,
who had largely been responsible for the level of vulgarity on the screen,
reversed his field and began to include biblical sequences in his films,
justifying the nudity and licentiousness in religious terms. Eventually, he
made whole films largely based on "historical" themes with a clumsy morality
cloaking the heavily promoted "sins".
DeMille's historical films occasioned the remark by a critic that "the film's
inaccuracies must have required immense historical research."
Gene Stavis, School of Visual Arts -- NYC
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