SHREVEPORT – In a move that should be a surprise to no one at this point, the Orpheum Theater in Memphis has pulled the 1939 film, Gone with the Wind, from its annual summer screening after 34 years, citing complaints from offended citizens.
Brett Batterson, president of the Orpheum Theater Group, said … “The Orpheum carefully reviewed all of them. As an organization whose stated mission is to ‘entertain, educate and enlighten the communities it serves,’ the Orpheum cannot show a film that is insensitive to a large segment of its local population.”
The slippery slope is now in our rear view mirror, folks. We’re done here.
We can’t screen certain films because they are “insensitive to a large segment” of the local population? Just imagine where this will now lead. Let your mind wander and just imagine the films that could be offensive to any large group of people. The list could be staggering.
I expect we won’t be seeing To Kill a Mockingbird on television or in libraries anymore, or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, or even Harry Potter, because certainly people might be offended.
Let me guess – these are probably the same people walking around in their Che Guevara t-shirts.
The merits of the film are long established and don’t need my small voice to vouch for it; it won ten Oscars including one for Hattie McDaniel who was the first black woman to win an Oscar.
Margaret Mitchell once said that the theme of her novel is survival. “What quality is it that makes some people able to survive catastrophes and others, apparently just as brave and strong, go under?”
I’m not sure the history of our nation will survive censorship.
The point is less the film itself but that our selective outrage has moved from statues to film. We truly are in Ray Bradbury’s world. When will the book burnings begin?
As for The Orpheum I would have applauded them had they had the nerve to stand up to intimidation and rejected censorship.
This is the first of three guest posts I did for Ladd Ehlinger’s site back in late 2011. I’m reprinting them here (With Ladd’s permission) because I think the election of Donald Trump is a significant event in the culture wars and these posts (and the follow ups that I intend to write) serve to explain what happened to our friends on the left who are still pulling out their hair over the events of November. While Ladd’s old blog isn’t there you can find the original piece via the wayback machine.
“The trouble is you don’t want a man for a husband! You want a coward who will run out on his friends! Well, that’s not me, never was, and never will be. I don’t care how much I love you! And I do very much. I’m a soldi… I mean I’m a man first!”
Even a person with a casual knowledge of movies knows the number 1 movie of 1939, because “Gone with the Wind”is the highest grossing movie of all time. If you asked them what picture was number 2 that year, odds are they haven’t heard of RKO’s “Gunga Din”.
A 70 year old action picture is unlikely to generate a lot of interest from the denizens of the CGI-YouTube era and with the left practically owning film studios, a period piece depicting the British Empire suppressing a murderous cult in colonial India is not going to be high on the view lists of professors.
This is a shame because it’s a movie that deserves attention from viewers, not only for conservative themes, but on its technical merits, historical influence, strong cast and the story itself.
Second, consider the scale of the film. Over and over you see groups of hundreds of men in formation, both marching and on horseback with great sweeping views over spectacular landscapes. For people used to CGI it’s quite a change to see real people and real animals reacting in real ways. This is 1939. What we would call “computers” were two to six years in the future and where they would exist was the size of Cuba. If you wanted a shot of a group of men charging on horseback, you needed…a group of men charging on horseback, if you wanted an incredible background vista, you either had to have incredible background paintings, or actually shoot at a such a location. And a fall off a roof meant someone actually had to take that fall or you needed good modeling. For the modern filmmaker or student used to manipulating massive groups with a click of a mouse, the concept of having to control hundreds of men and animals for a shot is way above their pay grade.
Third, check out this cast: Douglas Fairbanks Jr.; a legendary name who, in a few short years after this film would match his on screen valor in actual combat. Victor McLaglen; a two time Oscar winner who had faced two heavyweight champions in the ring and fought in Iraq before he ever appeared in front of a camera, and Cary Grant, acknowledged as one of the greatest actors who ever lived. Talk about holding three aces in a hand.
Finally there is the story, and what a story: After a patrol and a village drops off the map a force is needed to repair the telegraph lines and investigate. Three sergeants freshly pulled from a brawl are assigned to lead the party which includes a regimental bhisti (water bearer) named Gunga Din. While the troops begin repairing the line at the village the sergeants start searching the village and come across some suspicious characters whose arrest is a prelude to an ambush.
After a running fight the sergeants get their surviving troops out and report. Their commanding officer recognizes a captured weapon as a sign of the murderous thuggee cult that the British had suppressed decades ago (funny how things like the thuggee cult, the slave trade, Caribbean piracy and Suttee were all suppressed only by the actions of those evil colonial Brits)
A new advance force is prepared sans Ballantine, (Fairbanks Jr.) who is due to marry and leave the army in six days. In a hilarious scene, Cutter (Grant) & MacChesney (McLaglen) manage to temporarily incapacitate his replacement forcing Ballantine into the expedition. When they reach the village and set camp, Cutter, after being locked up to prevent it, sets off to find a temple of gold that Din, (Sam Jaffe) who dreams of being the company bugler, has told him is nearby. Din and Cutter find the temple beyond a mountain pass which turns out to be the base of a thuggee army they are looking for led by the cult leader (well played by Eduardo Ciannelli). Cutter prepares to send Din back to get with the exit blocked deliberately gets himself captured to clear the way.
With the prospect of his friend in deadly danger, MacChesney sets off with Din after him. Ballantine, end of enlistment or not, insists on joining them over the entreaties of his fiance. (Joan Fontaine, the only cast member still alive). They blunder right into the Guru’s trap hoping to lure the regiment to an ambush in the pass.
The following passages contain major spoilers, if you don’t wish to know how the movie ends, skip the following two paragraphs.
The heroes manage by means of a ruse to grab the guru and find themselves in a Mexican standoff that persists until the guru, after a speech that could have been made by any of the heroes in the pictures, sacrifices himself in order to allow the attack to go forward. With their hostage gone the thuggees take the Brits, bayonetting both Din and Cutter in the process.
The thuggees ignore the wounded Cutter and Din and drag Ballantine & MacChesney to the edge of the parapet to watch the ambush of their regiment. As the guards concentrate on their impending victory, Din, still bleeding from his wounds with bugle in hand slowly climbs to the top of the temple dome and blows “stand to arms”. He is shot down but he manages it long enough for the regiment to deploy, avoiding the trap and allowing the army to rout the thuggees. Din is given a hero’s burial and posthumously made a regimental corporal listed “on the rolls of our honored dead.”
Through the entire picture manly virtue is celebrated: It’s celebrated when the survivors of the first battle, after an arduous trek bearing their wounded, form to march into the camp parade in good order. It’s celebrated as Din, with Cutter’s support, dreams of being a soldier instead of a water bearer. It’s celebrated when Cutter allows himself to be taken so Din can give warning. Ballantine refuses to leave his friend in the lurch even for the woman he loves. Cutter and MacChesney endure torture, Din gives his life to warn the regiment, and even the villain of the piece sacrifices himself in the hope of victory for his cause.
These manly values are not only conservative values, but are instinctive human values that since 9/11 the left has been unable to suppress. It certainly isn’t matched by the left protestors who cry oppression if they are evicted from other people’s property at little personal risk.
But what about colonial cultural inequality? I’m glad you asked, let’s look at the first battle scene again.
While the men are repairing the telegraph wires (and given water by Gunga Din) the sergeants search the village for clue to what happened. Ballantine finds a first a single man then a group he is trying to conceal. When they fail to convince him they are poor villagers who survived the raid, one tries to jump him. He finds himself in an outnumbered brawl. Cutter and MacChesney enter, and rather than drawing weapons join in the brawl till the men are subdued. Our politically correct friends might point to this one might question one European handling a group alone, but only if they didn’t pay attention to the larger British group they handled at the film’s start. When they fail to provide adequate answers, they prepare to take them back when the leader lets out a cry signaling a group of snipers on rooftops to fire and a wave of riders to pounce upon them.
The entire British force other than the sergeants consists of Indian troops, yet nowhere in the scene from the start to the end is there any sense that these troops are different than any other. They fight as a unit, throughout the running battle and retreat through and over the rooftops the town against overwhelming odds. The sergeants lead from the front, take the biggest risks and you will note are the last to make the jump that predated Redford and Newman’s by 30 years. Just before the last of them jumps, he checks on a fallen private soldier to see if he’s can be saved, and when the survivors march into camp, they march in together with heads held high.
There was a time when this message was the norm, and it’s not a coincidence that it was also the time of the greatest generation. When we ceded the culture wars we ceded our message, the message of Judeo Christian values, the message of a shared culture and belief in not only right and wrong but what makes a culture and a people thrive as our forefathers did. If we are unwilling to fight the culture wars by supporting our own cultural message, then we need to remember those who already did so effectively in years gone by.
Since it will be quite a while before we get new episodes of “SherlocK” and while Elementary is not bad I’m not a big fan of Dr. Watson’s sex change I present for your approval the first of an occasional series of Saturday Night Sherlock Holmes movies, starting with the 1935 classic. The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes. staring Arthur Wonther in the title role, Ian fleming as Dr. Watson and Lyn Harding as James Moriarty
Over the next 15 months, the left, media and the Obama administration will, spare no expense to demonize the potential republican nominees in every possible way. These efforts will likely be very creative, real slick and eat up a lot of funds but no matter how hard they try there is one factor that can’t will be unable to cope with come election day.
Whatever the public might discover about the final GOP nominee, the public knows Barack Obama!
Bridegroom, l don’t give a damn how a man prays. There’s room in hell for all of us, but it just ain’t equitable, for you to be having two of something all of us got none of.
He offers to buy one of his wife’s prompting following exchange all emphasis mine.
Mad Jack Duncan: All right.
[grabs Jacob Woodling by the beard]
Mad Jack Duncan: What about it Mormons?
Sarah Woodling: [whispering] Jacob. We need every penny, Jacob. And I can’t bear another day of those martyred looks. There. There it is again!
Elizabeth: This isn’t a martyred look, Sarah. This look is puuuure – hatred.
Jacob Woodling: Quiet! Brigham Young has twenty seven wives and he hasn’t had half the trouble with them that I’ve had with the two of you!
Elizabeth: Then simplify your life, Jacob. Sell me. Jacob Woodling: But Elizabeth: you don’t know what you’ll get.
Elizabeth: I know what I’ve had.
People can attack the GOP candidates who have entered (and those who have not) till they are blue in the face and it won’t change the fact that the American public has lived though three years of Barack Obama as president and it has corresponded to the worst economic times of those people’s lifetimes.
That’s why it’s the Paint your Wagon election. It doesn’t matter who the nominee is From Herman Cain to Mitt Romney, From Rick Santorum to Jon Hunstman, from Thad McCotter to Michelle Bachmann, from Newt to Ron Paul to Sarah Palin or anyone else who jumps in. When the democrats point to the GOP nominee saying “You don’t know what you’ll get.” the American people will resoundingly answer” I know what I’ve had!”
And this is why Barack Obama’s re-election effort is doomed!
Yesterday I found myself after I got home surfing through the free movie channel from Comcast and noticed The Verdict a movie I remembered from 1982.
It was a great picture with Jack Warden as Newman’s friend who arranged an easy settlement case for the down and out drinking lawyer played by Newman. There is a sequence in the film that is one of the turning points. Ambulance chaser Newman is being offered a settlement on the case and the following exchange takes place:
Frank Galvin: How did you settle on the amount?
Bishop Brophy: We thought it was just.
Frank Galvin: You thought it was just?
Bishop Brophy: Yes.
Frank Galvin: Because it struck me, um, how neatly ‘three’ went into this figure: 210,000….
eventually he thinks it over and decides he can’t settle, he dramatic speech ends thus:
…I came here to take your money. I brought snapshots to show you so I could get your money. I can’t do it; I can’t take it. ‘Cause if I take the money I’m lost. I’ll just be a… rich ambulance chaser. I can’t do it. I can’t take it.
Just a reminder to the young, you could live pretty good for a couple of years on $70k in 1982.
What does this have to do with Sarah Palin? Just this:
There are a lot of people with their hands out waiting for Sarah Palin to run. They are political consultants, staff folk etc , people who make big money as consultants pocketing the contributions that ordinary Americans and rich donors make to campaigns. Sarah Palin has made more money in the last two years then she did in the time before the 2008 elections. If she runs she will draw an incredible amount of campaign donations from people who love her and these guys are looking at those figures and dividing by 3.
I want Sarah Palin to run not because she is the only great choice to be the president this country needs, (Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann would certainly qualify as well) but I think she is the best choice as a leader to take the country in the right direction. That’s why I’d like her to run.
Unfortunately I suspect a lot of professional consultants, including some close to her, want her to run because they see a meal ticket that will keep them in cigars and whiskey for years.
Nobody who doesn’t have a healthy ego considers running for President. I’m sure she has a healthy ego and is confident in herself and her ability and I’ve already predicted she will run and win, but as she makes her final decision, I would hope she takes this piece of advice from an admirer:
Make sure you are running for yourself, not for those around you. You are a young woman and the White House will still be there for many years and if you choose to wait. None of us will think any less of it.
Above all pray on it and make sure the voice you hear whispering in your ear is the one you think it is.