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FILM NOIR -Love it, Hate it, or not sure?


misswonderly3
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But some of these directors and novelists do feel as if they are part of a more righteous world. They're not all liberal. And sometimes there is a buying public that wants a didactic message. I am sure that John Wayne's fans wanted such a thing when they went to see THE GREEN BERETS (and boy, did he deliver!). It reaffirms their own belief system. Just like a more liberal crowd has its philosophy reaffirmed in less conventional works of arts.

 

I don't think that just because a point is muted and not made to hit the audience over the head with an enlightened theory...does that make it better. It could be just as manipulative a work of art that strategically places subtle hints at critical junctures in the narrative to uphold the thesis of its filmmaker.

 

Again, it's really about power and persuasion through storytelling. And I think that a film should be allowed to be ambiguous if that's how the story is best told for those characters and that sitiuation (like if it's an on-going problem in society, or something where tiny progress is starting to be made). But if a filmmaker and an audience want a more traditional ending for a noir, and it has a more conservative 'this is right, that is bad' tone to it, then let it be made that way, too. Let the audience ultimately decide if it wants to buy it or not. But don't say something is better or worse based on some outlying criteria. The greatest determining factor is whether or not a film resonates with its intended public...not some outside critic.

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The whole idea that some 10 year olds watching Rebecca will decide to murder

their spouses twenty or thirty years later is the height of absurdity. The simple fact is

the PBS version is closer to the plot of the novel than the bowdlerized Hitchcock version.

It is equally absurd to believe that people will watch murder mysteries and then go out

and commit murder. Yep, remember all those couples pulling bank robberies after

Bonnie and Clyde was released? Life just doesn't work that way and never will.

Maybe some classic movie fans are so enamored of these films that they think they

play a huge part in a person's intellectual and moral development. Guess again.

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> {quote:title=C.Bogle wrote:}{quote}

> The whole idea that some 10 year olds watching Rebecca will decide to murder

> their spouses twenty or thirty years later is the height of absurdity.

 

You are trying to make it seem absurd by pretending that I?m talking about just one TV movie.

 

It won?t happen with just one movie. It happens when modern trends in movies and TV shows follow the theme that was followed in that one movie.

 

See the five ?Death Wish? movies for example. Death Wish 3 promotes gang warfare. In the movie, one gang represents the criminals, while the other gang represents the citizens who live in a bad neighborhood. But for kids, the overall message is understood to be ?kill your enemy?, and join a neighborhood ?group? so you will have more power, more protection, more guns, and more killers like you.

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It does seem absurd...but you know what, absurd things do happen in life.

 

I couldn't believe it when I read that after James Dean's movies were released in Asia, there were a few girls (somewhere in Japan or another country) who were so enamored by him, that when they learned he had just died in the United States, they committed suicide. That is a direct case where art on screen affects a movie-goer. Absurd? Yes. Extreme? Most definitely. But it happens.

 

Now, I will admit that a lot of films and stars do not have much impact. We may see a movie and even tell others to go check it out, but we forget most of it within a few days. Then, if we catch the movie again, we hit the recall button in our brains. But for the most part, movies do not have a MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE effect...there is scant evidence that movies brainwash us. They either confirm or negate what we already believe. And for some Asian girls in the 50s, the belief was that they had to be with James Dean forever, in the after-life.

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> {quote:title=C.Bogle wrote:}{quote}

> Yep, remember all those couples pulling bank robberies after

> Bonnie and Clyde was released?

 

Yes I do. The SLA for example. They robbed a branch of my bank when I lived in San Francisco.

 

And I knew a girl from a small town in Texas who later joined a group that robbed banks. The last I heard, she?s still in prison. She was involved in the murder of 3 cops.

 

I think your problem is that you?ve never known any murderers. But, having been in the news business for 40 years, I?ve known plenty of them.

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Haven't the Death Wish movies been running on AMC lately? People can watch hundreds

of these movies and TV shows and 99 % of them don't try to imitate the violence

in them. Yes, there's always the 1 % that will, but that's always been the case.

There were gangs before Death Wish, there will be gangs after Death Wish. It's

doubtful that many people saw Death Wish 3 and said Hey, that looks cool,

I think I'll go out buy a gun and a switchblade and join a gang. Movies and TV just

don't have that kind of influence on the great majority of people, thank goodness.

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I probably should have written Did lots of people suddenly rob banks because they were

influenced by seeing Bonnie and Clyde ? Nope. No, I haven't known any murderers,

as I'm sure most people haven't. I'm not arguing that there aren't people out there who

commit atrocious acts, of course there are. I'm arguing that watching violent movies or TV

shows doesn't cause people to go out and commit the crimes they see. Gotta run.

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> {quote:title=MyFavoriteFilms wrote:}{quote}

> But for the most part, movies do not have a MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE effect...there is scant evidence that movies brainwash us.

 

Single films generally don?t ?brainwash? us, and they don?t have a ?Manchurian Candidate? effect. They have a ?follow the trend? effect when a lot of films follow the same bad trends. It?s the very thing that black families and civil rights groups are complaining about bad ?rap? music teaching kids to be criminals and black boys to disrespect black girls.

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But I don't think these products have that great a power to teach our youth. Sometimes they comment on trends that are already happening within the society. That probably makes church leaders nervous, because it shows that outreach efforts haven't been substantial enough to reverse the tide. It's easy to point to a video or a popular artist and blame that, instead of looking inside the community to see why these problems exist. And these problems existed long before the advent of rap music.

 

Just like criminals and gangsters were around long before their stories were told on celluloid. Maybe the production values can be seen as glamorizing the life or starting a trend of similarly themed movies. But there is a positive value in these works because they allow us to examine the ills of society through the eyes of a fictional character. And as far as rap music is concerned, rap can be used to promote positive self worth and belief in God, it depends on what kind of rap it is.

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> {quote:title=MyFavoriteFilms wrote:}{quote}

> But I don't think these products have that great a power to teach our youth.

 

Well sure they do. Hundreds of Hollywood films in the 1930s and ?40s taught all Americans that black people were all stupid and uneducated. And that was the big era of the lynching of black people in this country.

 

Now that Hollywood has dropped that trend, starting in the 1970s, under pressure from Civil Rights organizations, there aren?t very many lynchings of black people anymore.

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> {quote:title=MyFavoriteFilms wrote:}{quote}

> It's easy to point to a video or a popular artist and blame that, instead of looking inside the community to see why these problems exist.

 

No, that?s a phony argument that Hollywood invented a long time ago. They even used that argument to justify all the gangster films of the early 1930s. While the vast majority of Americans weren?t killers or gangsters, a big percentage of the early ?30s films were about gangsters, because the Hollywood producers knew that vast numbers of people who normally lived very dull lives, would flock to see the violence of the gangster movies. So some of the movies even had head titles that said the films were a ?Warning to society? to ?combat crime?, whereas all they were, were exploitation films.

 

You are merely parroting the Hollywood propaganda line.

 

Hollywood has promoted over the years, the myth that says their films only ?reflect? society.

 

But here?s how it actually works: Hollywood movie producers are constantly reading the newspapers and on the look-out for real cases of new types of bad and bizarre crimes, so they can make movies about them and then say the story was ?Ripped from today?s headlines.? They know they can make money on these films, because of the ?voyeur? effect, in which millions of people who lead dull lives want to see this stuff on film.

 

Many of these bad-crime cases were very rare events when I was growing up, such as the Charlie Starkweather home-invasion case and his crime-spree killings of 1958. That was an extremely rare case back in those days. But as more and more movies were made about this type of subject over the years, now home invasions, whole-family murders, and crime-spree murders take place all the time, and there are plenty of movies about these types of crimes that kids grow up seeing today.

 

So, what actually happens is Hollywood takes a very rare event, such as the Hollister motorcycle rally and riot of 1947, and they make a big movie about it, such as ?The Wild Ones?, and it is the movie that creates the fad of teenage boys wanting to talk in ?jive? talk and wear black motorcycle jackets, even if they don?t own motorcycles. I saw that fad first-hand, when I was in school in the early ?50s.

 

The Hollywood movie created that fad. It wasn?t the Hollister riot that did it, because the real event at Hollister was completely unknown to most teenagers for decades, until they eventually read about it when they were adults many years later.

 

Hollywood has always found it much better to base such films on isolated ?real? events, rather than to make them up out of nothing, so they can claim that their films ?only reflect society?.

 

But in doing that, and especially starting a trend in doing that, Hollywood eventually brings the isolated event to the entire nation, into hundreds of local communities that never had that problem before.

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> {quote:title=C.Bogle wrote:}{quote}

> Maybe some classic movie fans are so enamored of these films that they think they

> play a huge part in a person's intellectual and moral development. Guess again.

 

I have seen interviews with staff at NASA and Goddard saying they became rocket scientists because of sci-fi movies and television shows.

 

I very much believe art does not have great influence on extreme behavior. It is more likely that people with violent tendencies will prefer movies with depictions of violence than they will like movies about bunny rabbits making friends with squirrels. Most murderers in 50s and 60s chewed gum. Did chewing gum make them murderers or did their natural tendencies towards violence lead them to like feeling of chomping on something?

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> You mean you want to teach kids with movies that its ok for them to kill or lynch people who make their lives miserable? So you think its ok for husbands to kill nagging wives, irritating bosses, rude school teachers, etc.?

 

What is being shown is concept they may be killed if they are a bad person. This is shown very often in real life. I have not seen it but have heard of a movie called *Burning Bed* which is based on true story. I am sure there are many others.

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

> But I don't ever see someone who creates art or entertainment as " having a job" in terms of depicting anything specifically moral or immoral.

 

I believe that is part of any job description for creating content for Hallmark Channel :)

 

Some of their movies have been very good but I do not believe they are memorable or truly influential.

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It's not only Hollywood. I think if you look at the first talkies, most of those screenplays were based on stage plays. And the playwrights were depicting things that happened in society, things people didn't always want to talk about, like the rise in crime, or sordid home lives (Eugene O'Neill comes to mind). Hollywood inherited that kind of material from Broadway and off-Broadway.

 

As for isolated events, I think it's good that we are made aware of some things that are happening in remote corners of our country and communities.

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=MyFavoriteFilms wrote:}{quote}

> > But I don't think these products have that great a power to teach our youth.

>

> Well sure they do. Hundreds of Hollywood films in the 1930s and ?40s taught all Americans that black people were all stupid and uneducated. And that was the big era of the lynching of black people in this country.

>

> Now that Hollywood has dropped that trend, starting in the 1970s, under pressure from Civil Rights organizations, there aren?t very many lynchings of black people anymore.

 

 

Whenever you try to mix actual history with movie history, you almost always get into

trouble. For centuries before the movies of the 1930s and 1940s, most white Americans

assumed that blacks were stupid and uneducated. These movies just reflected what had

been accepted "wisdom" for a very long time. If you look at the lynching statistics for

blacks (whites were the victims of lynching too) the 1890s to the early 1900s was the time

period when lynching was most common. The numbers gradually drop off and hit the single

digits in the mid 1930s and become very rare thereafter, long before the 1960s and 1970s.

So the sharp decrease in lynchings had absolutely nothing to do with Hollywood dropping

its racist stereotypes in the 1970s, any more than Hollywood's racist stereotypes caused

the (non-existent) upsurge in lynchings in the 1930s and 1940s That theory is nonsensical.

(Nothing to do with The Ox-Bow Incident either).

 

I'm not surprised that some future scientists were influenced by movies, at least in part, to go

into that profession or that every once in a while one or two people will go out and do the

things that they see in a film. But those are the rare cases. Most people see the movie or TV

show, and go about their business. The same with people who sometimes off themselves when

a music or movie star dies. Didn't a few women kill themselves after Valentino's death, or is

that just a rumor? Most of course didn't.

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> {quote:title=SansFin wrote:}{quote}

> I have not seen it but have heard of a movie called *Burning Bed* which is based on true story. I am sure there are many others.

 

I saw it on TV back in ?84. After that TV movie, many women murdered their husbands, since that movie taught them how to use the ?abusive husband? defense. Lol, it worked in a lot of court cases.

 

When on trial for murder, just whine and cry and make up wild stories about how he ?abused? you.

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> {quote:title=C.Bogle wrote:}{quote}

> Just as a practical matter, I doubt many kids or teens were interested in watching

> an "old" melodrama on PBS in the first place. But I doubt that many that did came

> away with the lesson that they should probably at least consider killing their future

> spouse, even if he or she was "bad." That's what divorces are for. Yes people are

> sometimes influenced by what they see on TV or in the movies, but very rarely to

> the extent of wanting to go out and kill people. Children have other influences in their

> lives besides TV or movies. If there was such a direct link between what kids see

> and their actions, we'd have a murder rate going through the roof, which we don't.

> Sure there will always be a small number of people who are crazy, but it's doubtful

> that what they see on TV will have much effect on them. Do you think somebody who

> is truly insane will care one way or the other what message he or she receives from

> the media? So we will always have that small number with us, but the great majority

> of children, despite all the things they are exposed to in their viewing, will grow up

> to be fine, normal people.

 

 

I agree. I mean how many times during my childhood did I watch Elmer Fudd pop a cap in Daffy Duck's head (egged on by Bugs Bunny, no less!) and I've never done more than think longingly of doing the same to an annoying neighbor or co-worker or that idiot who cut me off and stole my parking place at the grocery store yesterday when I was OBVIOUSLY waiting for it, I had my blinker on and EVERYTHING, but I let her live. So see? No harm, no foul... :)

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