Being a Christian in Hollywood can be difficult. There aren’t a ton of movies being made today that fit in with a believing actor’s moral compass. Moreover, there’s a stigma attached to many actors who willingly profess their faith just as there’s a stigma against conservatives. As such, the average Christian-themed movie is pretty poorly done from a purely critical perspective. The messages can be great, but the delivery can be lackluster. Neither Kirk Cameron nor Nicolas Cage could make one of the most popular Christian book series of all time successful.

The Case for Christ is different. I was shocked when I saw that it received a 77% critical response on Rotten Tomatoes until I realized it was only reviewed by 13 critics. Go figure. Nonetheless, it was encouraging so I took my wife to see it last night. We were familiar with Lee Strobel’s journey from truth-seeking news reporter to truth-seeing evangelist and author, so we didn’t go for the sake of the story. As highly selective adults who have chosen to restrict our movie viewing to ones that fit our worldview (or that at least don’t attempt to trash it), we wanted to see if it was the rare “well made” Christian movie.

We were pleased with the results.

Both the acting and the cinematography were very good. They delivered 1980 about as well as big-budget films, 70s red Camaro and all. Nobody’s going to win an Oscar from this movie, but compared to the poorly crafted Christian movies of today that have good messages but are artistically weak, this was a real winner. Mike Vogel delivered the right mix of skepticism and intellect. He was believable as he struggled in a quest to debunk the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I wasn’t expecting it based upon some of his previous performances in cultural garbage flicks like Cloverfield and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but he found his groove with this role.

While far from being a critical masterpiece, this will hopefully bring more attention to the quality of Christian movies. They don’t have to look like they were made by a high school film studies class, nor does the dialogue have to sound like carefully crafted proselytizing disguised as robotic conversations. There needs to be a gelling of message and art that gets people not only interested in seeing a movie but that compels them to recommend it.

Hollywood is a cesspool of left-wing manipulation of progressive propaganda. As a society, we’ve fought through to make conservative-themed movies like American Sniper and Zero Dark Thirty critical and box office successes. Now we need to do the same for Christian-themed movies.

The Case for Christ is a step in the right direction. We need more of them.

It’s Saint Patrick’s Day, and I’m taking a break from politics, which always includes watching a movie.

I’ve been a Tom Hanks fan since his Bosom Buddies days (1980-1982, that’s how old I am), a series oddly prescient of some of today’s headlines,

Two young single ad men must disguise themselves as women to live in the one apartment they can afford.

Hanks went on to star in dozens of movies, many of which involve travel-related mishaps.

Hanks’s mismatched shoes at the airport get him into trouble in The Man With One Red Shoe. He goes to the boardwalk as a child and turns into a grownup in Big. He has a fateful car accident in The Bonfire of the Vanities. He and Gary Sinise nearly get blown to smithereens twice – first in battle, later in a hurricane – in Forrest Gump, and let’s not forget when he and Meg Ryan came thisclose to being human sacrifices in Joe Versus the Volcano.

As Hanks’s career took off, he starred as astronaut Jim Lovell in Apollo 13, where he said one of cinema’s  most-quoted lines, “Houston, we have a problem,” after the capsule sprung an oxygen leak and lost power following an on-board explosion:

Hanks was hounded by a cabal which counted as a member a self-flagellating albino in The Da Vinci Code. East German punks stole his coat in Bridge of Spies, and Somali pirates his ship in Captain Phillips. He even played Chesley ‘Sully‘ Sullenberger, the most-skilled pilot who landed an airplane full of passengers on the East River. Speaking of passengers, his character was stranded for months at JFK airport in The Terminal.

But Tom Hanks’s most famous movie involving disastrous travel is Cast Away (2000), where he plays Chuck Noland, a FedEx executive who spends years talking to a volleyball named Wilson while stranded on an island somewhere in the Pacific:

Tom Hanks loves “you can’t get there from here” plots.

It’s all entertainment, and he does it very well. So does Denzel Washington, also in the same generation, but if I’m ever at Lowe’s and Denzel comes in followed by five Russians, I’m dropping everything and heading out the door.

Just in case.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

Malone: [stopping at a post office] Well, here we are.
Ness: What are we doing here?
Malone: Liquor raid.
Ness: [looking at the police station across the street] Here?
Malone: Mr. Ness, everybody knows where the booze is. The problem isn’t finding it, the problem is who wants to cross Capone.
[…Enters Post office and goes to a closed door in the back]

The Untouchables 1987

There are two scenes in the 1987 movie The Untouchables that perfectly illustrates the situation in Washington today

The first is when Officer Malone (Sean Connery) leads Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) into the post office where Capone’s booze is being distributed from and makes it clear that everything comes down to if he’s willing to go through that door or not.

the key exchange comes at 5:19 in this clip:

Malone: [With his hand on the door] If you walk through this door now, you’re walking into a world of trouble. And there’s no turning back. You understand?
Ness: Yes I do. [Pumps his shotgun]
Malone: Good.

That is pretty much what challenging the deep state means. If you are willing to keep your mouth shut and go though the motions, like say a Jeb Bush might have done if elected, you might be allowed to make minor tweaks to the system as long as the system that allows the folks to feed at the trough can continue.

But the moment you decide to shake things up The deep state fights back as illustrated by this scene where Agent Wallace is murdered.

And your friends tell you to take a few days off

Chief Mike Dorset: It’s always a crime when a young guy goes down in the line Jimmy, I hate to see it happen to someone I know. Sometimes it’s better not to get involved. Jimmy take a few days off, get out of the city, you know what I mean.

That beyond everything else is what the resignation of General Mike Flynn is about as reported by the free beacon first quoting Eli Lake:

“Michael Flynn was one of the Obama administration’s fiercest critics after he was forced out of the Defense Intelligence Agency,”

And then in their own piece proper

A third source who serves as a congressional adviser and was involved in the 2015 fight over the Iran deal told the Free Beacon that the Obama administration feared that Flynn would expose the secret agreements with Iran.

“The Obama administration knew that Flynn was going to release the secret documents around the Iran deal, which would blow up their myth that it was a good deal that rolled back Iran,” the source said. “So in December the Obama NSC started going to work with their favorite reporters, selectively leaking damaging and incomplete information about Flynn.”

“After Trump was inaugurated some of those people stayed in and some began working from the outside, and they cooperated to keep undermining Trump,” the source said, detailing a series of leaks from within the White House in the past weeks targeting Flynn. “Last night’s resignation was their first major win, but unless the Trump people get serious about cleaning house, it won’t be the last.”

Flynn was ready to help drain the swamp but when you start draining a swap the animals who live there tend to bite.

This is what Bill Kristol is saying in this disgraceful tweet.

There is a good living for everyone involved if you just keep your head down and get along to go along. Take a few days off Donnie Boy, get yourself out of town for a bit.

Now there may be more than meets the eye here but the fate of General Flynn is a reminder that the D’Sousa Rule is fully in place as I said at the time:

Did D’Sousa really think that an administration willing to use the IRS against their political enemies who are acting legally would not use the Justice Department go after a political foe who made the single most popular film against Barack Obama in 2012 in the case of an actual violation of law?

Every member of the Trump administration should take this to heart, the left is all in against you as is the media but most important of all a good chunk of the GOP establishment and their government allies would still like you to crash and burn and will have no qualms at all about making common cause with the left to do so.

The Trump administration is fighting the good fight, but they need to watch their back because both foes and supposed friends are looking to stick a knife into it.

After all you didn’t’ think they’d just roll over and die did you?

Back in December we reprinted my post from Ladd Ehlinger’s site on the movie Captains Courageous from 1937 as an appropriate repost with the election of Donald Trump because the posts in this series:

serve to explain what happened to our friends on the left who are still pulling out their hair over the events of November

If you look at that movie it’s the image of the Kindergarden of Eden I described yesterday.

At first the Captain (Lionel Barrymore) is willing to let Harvey’s attitude go and offers to make him part of the crew beside his son Dan (Mickey Rooney). He refuses to work, he starts ranting about sending the entire crew to jail unless they take him to New York, disrupting the ship.

Remind you of any group of people protesting in the streets lately? Remind you of an entire generation of children who will have what they want when they want it from their $600 iPhones to the latest video games? Our film instructor is torn seeing a mirror and not liking the reflection, and that’s where one of the pivotal moments in the film takes place.

Captain Troop, with the good of the ship and the livelihood of the entire crew to worry about, notes he can’t risk months of fishing on a boy’s yarn. When Harvey still rants Troop finally concludes: “I guess there’s nothing left for it.” He rears back and gives Harvey a slap that knocks him flat.

Now I want to remind you I wrote those words in >December of 2011 at the time when Obama’s power was still at its height and the idea of Donald Trump being president was about as remote as the odds of a kid falling in the ocean being picked up by a fisherman before he drowns.

Yet here we are six years later and not only is the left still screaming but Donald Trump is smacking them by simply enforcing the law:

There’s evidence raids and/or detentions are occurring, as reports pop up throughout the country in at least eight states (California, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Kansas, New York, Virginia, South and North Carolina.) ICE insists the raids are targeted and nothing new and denies social media reports that checkpoints were set up in communities. In California, ICE now says it rounded up 160 people, targeting those with felony records or who are fugitives and called reports of widespread raids “irresponsible” and false, The Orange County Register reported. The newspaper labeled the ICE actions in California a “surge.” In George and the Carolinas, ICE picked up 200 people, reported NBC News.

Some of the scenes are growing intense, with protests in California, New York, Texas, and Arizona. In at least one case, the Mesa deportation, the person detained had a deportation order that dated to the President Obama administration.

And they’re it’s getting worse:

immigrant rights activists and Democrats are raising concerns this weekend about recent immigration enforcement actions — though immigration officials maintain that only routine actions targeting criminals were underway.

Fear is running high among immigrant communities since President Donald Trump’s inauguration — and after the recent publicized deportation of an undocumented Arizona mother of two after a routine visit with immigration officials, reports have been spreading of Immigration and Customs Enforcement stepping up its actions nationwide.

And think of the people who are being picked up.

He said the operations targeted convicted criminals, gang members, individuals who re-entered the country after being deported and individuals who had final removal orders from immigration judges.

Those arrested included a citizen of El Salvador with a criminal conviction for assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and self-admitted MS-13 gang member; a citizen of Jamaica with a criminal conviction for first degree sexual assault of a victim under the age of 11; a citizen of Mexico with a criminal convicted for first degree sexual assault of a victim under the age of 11.

More than 680 people were arrested in the raids across the country, officials say. Of those arrested, 75 percent were criminal aliens, convicted of crimes including homicide, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual assault of a minor, lewd and lascivious acts with a child, indecent liberties with a minor, drug trafficking, battery, assault, DUI and weapons charges.

Because nothing is going to win the American people over to the left’s point of view like freaking out over the deportation of people convicted of serious crimes.

Of course in Captains Courageous when Harvey gets knocked down by the Captain it begins the moment where he finally figures out what’s important in life and begins to grow, I really question if the left is capable of this.

But I’m a catholic and know that with God all things are possible

Even the left growing up.

This is the 2nd 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.

One of the things about the passage of time is that it changes perspective.

In the 50’s the producers of the British TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood used Ring Lardner Jr., unwelcome in the US for TV capposter1work due to his communist connections (which he stated as late as 1987 he did not regret) under an assumed name to write episodes that he gleefully described as attacks on Capitalism. When viewed today, however, these stories that supposedly celebrated collectivism instead come across as a love letter to the Catholic Church and a bastion against tyranny. A message that modern liberals, normally happy to view Lardner’s work, do not appreciate.

This dynamic comes to mind when examining the 1937 pictureCaptains Courageous starring Spencer Tracy, Freddie Bartholomew and Lionel Barrymore.

Let’s look at the IMDB summary of the plot:

Harvey Cheyne is a spoiled brat used to having his own way. When a prank goes wrong on board an ocean liner Harvey ends up overboard and nearly drowns. Fortunately he’s picked up by a fishing boat just heading out for the season. He tries to bribe the crew into returning early to collect a reward but none of them believe him. Stranded on the boat he must adapt to the ways of the fishermen and learn more about the real world.

It sounds like a liberal wet dream: A rich kid, one of the 1%, throwing his weight around and oppressing his schoolmates, made to see how the other half lives and taken off his high horse. Give that summary to a liberal film teacher who hasn’t seen it and they will book a showing in their classroom faster than you can say “racist tea party”.

Alas poor liberals, it turns out the movie is chock full of conservative themes and highlights modern liberal foibles.

You would think the early scenes showing poor little rich kid Harvey (Freddie Bartholomew) throwing his weight around in school, at the school paper and playing on other student’s fears of joblessness to be full of promise for our instructor, but unfortunately Harvey seems to resemble a Harvard yard occupod, a member of the elite, a child who has never been disciplined or told “no”. That resemblance hits too close to home for our socialist instructor, the vision of too many campus protesters come to mind.

It takes a plan gone wrong for his widower father (Melvyn Douglas) to bluntly inform Harvey that his sobbing act will no longer work. Determined to get more involved in his son’s life, he includes him on a trip to Europe by steamship where, as he hides over horseplay, he promptly falls overboard. If he had drowned our instructor could have talked about the bad karma of wealth but instead Manuel Fidello (Spencer Tracy) a fisherman from the Schooner We’re Here, out of Gloucester Massachusetts, fishes him out of the water and takes him aboard the ship and the Movie shifts.

Once again our instructor has hope, our rich kid is among the common men, the 99%.

At first the Captain (Lionel Barrymore) is willing to let Harvey’s attitude go and offers to make him part of the crew beside his son Dan (Mickey Rooney). He refuses to work, he starts ranting about sending the entire crew to jail unless they take him to New York, disrupting the ship.

Remind you of any group of people protesting in the streets lately? Remind you of an entire generation of children who will have what they want when they want it from their $600 iPhones to the latest video games? Our film instructor is torn seeing a mirror and not liking the reflection, and that’s where one of the pivotal moments in the film takes place.

Captain Troop, with the good of the ship and the livelihood of the entire crew to worry about, notes he can’t risk months of fishing on a boy’s yarn. When Harvey still rants Troop finally concludes: “I guess there’s nothing left for it.” He rears back and gives Harvey a slap that knocks him flat. Harvey for perhaps for the first time in his life doesn’t know what to say:

You HIT me!

“Now you just sit there and think about it.”

It is here, with the establishment of discipline, that the movie begins to shift. Harvey gets out of the way a bit but still refuses to work. The crew believes that Harvey is a “Jonah” because he is a passenger and not a crew member insisting Manuel do something about it as he fished him out. Manuel reluctantly takes him under his wing and slowly through trial and error begins teaching him the realities of life.

Harvey, now given direction and discipline for the first time in his life, slowly warms to Manuel as a father figure and mentor and Manuel, still missing his father, warms to him. The situation comes to a head as Manuel and Long Jack (John Carradine) get into an argument over hand lines vs. a trowel. Manuel wagers his new razor vs half a buck that that he and Harvey can out-catch LongJack and his partner Nate. When Harvey manages to catch a halibut Manuel is proud like a father, but Harvey apparently Harvey hasn’t shaken his old scheming habits.

Disappointed, Manuel brings Harvey back to the ship and finishes the day fishing alone. Easily losing his bet, he brings his razor in payment to Longjack who stayed out fishing despite injuries, and hooks in his skin from his tangled trowel. He insists someone had fouled his lines. Manuel tries to laugh it off but as Longjack gets angrier Harvey steps in, admitting what he’s done not just to Longjack and the crew. When Jack prepares to go after him Manuel is ready to throw down.

From this point he begins to earn the crew’s respect and begins to learn the ways of a fisherman. We see the boats at the final fishing area rushing to fill their holds and sail for home. Troop seemingly fills his hold first, but his arch rival Walt Cushman as we have seen a few times before, has stolen a march on him and the race for port is on. Both ships cram on all possible sail, and after a game of chicken it looks like Troop has the race won, when tragedy strikes.

Spencer Tracy death scene

Here again, we see a different set of values.

Manuel doesn’t rage against fate, he doesn’t blame Troop or the race, telling his captain that he’ll beat Walt Cushman next year. He simply accepts his fate, says goodbye to Harvey, declares that he’s going to see his father, and then drowns.

Here is a person, comfortable, well off, pampered and well educated, a person told all his life how special he is and given what he wants when he wants it. As if that isn’t enough he has just managed one of the most miraculous feats of luck that one can achieve, being rescued after falling overboard on an ocean liner in the dark in the middle of the ocean without even a life jacket. What is his response to his good fortune? Anger, indignation and demands, after all… he’s entitled.

The end is almost anti-climatic; the ship gets home, and Harvey’s father is informed by wire that he’s alive. He flies back from Europe to find a son changed and matured from hard work and discipline. After a memorial service to the sailors who did not survive the fishing season they head home.

Pity our poor liberal film teacher who can take no pleasure in this picture.

Not from the spectacular visuals of the ships and sailing nor of the performances from a fine cast such including Lionel Barrymore in one of his last roles on two legs, child Star Freddie Bartholomew, who managed a normal life when all was said and done, A young Mickey Rooney, already with ten years under his belt in film and the only actor in history to appear in movies made in 10 different decades, John Carradine, one of the most prolific actors of all time, and of course, Spencer Tracy, in the role that would earn him the first of back-to-back Academy Awards.

Even with all of this history, our instructor is stuck with a picture advancing conservative values, hard work and personal responsibility. Our instructor isn’t even able to take solace in the bringing down of a rich kid, since the catalyst of this entire process is an act that would shock the modern sensibilities of the instructor, who would have had the captain brought up on charges in an instant. In fact, the very concept of a pre- teen like Harvey doing such menial work has been a line of attack on a presidential candidate who dared suggest that those who don’t have the model of a work ethic needed such an example.

Perhaps with a different election cycle it will be less painful, but the illustration and the parallels showing that our friends on the left just are no longer connected with the common man.

That’s why in universities both history and classic film are things the left will want to keep on the shelf.

A few weeks ago we reprinted the first of what will be three pieces on movies and the culture wars on the picture Gunga Din. When getting permission to reprint these pieces I stated that with the election of Trump the cultural significance of these pieces and these movies had increased. Why? Consider this passage from my Gunga Din piece:

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.

The idea of work is a manly virtue, a virtue of labor, sometimes hard and oftimes monotonous but allowing you to support yourself and your family. And while such labor can seem oppressive, particularly to one who has never done it, it confers dignity and independence. It says that come hell or high water my wife and my children will be fed and sheltered and it will be done by my own hand.

But it’s even more than that, it’s also conveys an optimism that given time and effort one’s hard work will be rewarded, either by one’s own success or the success that the work allows one’s family to achieve.

This is the rust belt virtue that the industries so despised by the left has rejected.

And that brings us to Donald Trump.

Trump is a person embraces the manly art of doing, not just as a person who works hard, in the value of labor, but the OPTIMISM of doing the idea that working hard brings rewards!

And part of that hard work is to stand up for yourself, and when Trump bluntly defends American labor, American products, American jobs, even when these things carry a risk, he is illustrating the manly virtue of courage, the willingness to accept risk to achieve a right end.

That virtue is one that our friends on the left are horrified of, and one that comes hard to the cultural elites such as André Leon Talley:

It sounds as though he wanted to play a part in the fashion and design side of the new presidency, but he couldn’t bear the risk.

As we sit in the hotel lobby, he muses: “I’m not a big person in the world. I’m maybe a big figure in the fashion world. I mean, sort of iconic. But I don’t want to get phone calls in the middle of the night, telling me I’ve gone over to Trumpland and I’m going to Darth Vader because I said nice things about Melania…..”

He’s afraid of bullies.

Those bullies of the left can’t intimidate the rust belt worker who has the courage to defy convention and to say to those who would shun him over said virtue and support for Trump.  “Who cares?”

He’s not afraid of the bullies of the left, and that’s why the bullies of the left hate them and Trump so.

Closing thought.  It’s fitting that this piece leads on December 26th because it is the feast of St. Stephen, the very first Christian Martyr who even as the mob screamed for his death had both the manly virtue to stand for the truth as he knew it, and derivative of that virtue the willingness to forgive.


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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!”

gungadinposterEven 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.

First, one can’t watch this movie without seeing shades of pictures from “Indiana Jones” to “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”. When viewed by the unaware, the reaction is much like that of a teen who has watched “Family Guy”for years who sees the opening of “All in the Family” for the first time.

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.

One of the great action movies of the 50’s was the 1958’s The Vikings staring Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. If you like action, adventure and a touch of comedy, you’ll want to watch it.

At a key point of the picture viking prince Einar (Kirk Douglas) prays to Odin the Viking God. The princess (Leigh) he has fallen in love with has been stolen away from him by the slave Eric (Curtis) who is responsible for the loss of his eye and in the chase his father (Ernest Borgnine) was drowned. He prays for a sign to convince his reluctant warriors to pursue them to England.

He is rewarded with by the sudden appearance of Eric who tells him their mutual enemy King Aella is holding the princess Morgana and offers to lead him there so they can attack his castle.

Einar returns to the vikings chamber and makes the speech that finally convinces his men to attack which begins:

Make no mistake, I hate this man more than anyone alive, but he can lead us to Morgana.

That speech instantly came to mind when I saw this story concerning Lindsey Graham:

With the Super Tuesday results in, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sen. Ted Cruz may be the GOP’s last hope to keep bombastic front-runner Donald Trump from the Republican nomination for president.

“You know Ted Cruz is not my favorite, by any means,” Graham told CBS Tuesday night. “But we may be in a position where we have to rally around Ted Cruz as the only way to stop Donald Trump, and I’m not so sure that would work,” noting Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are no longer viable

Graham is a vocal critic of Cruz. He has called Cruz the least respected senator and has accused Cruz of getting a head at the expense of the party.

A “Vocal Critic”? That’s putting it mildly, as allahpundit reminds us:

“If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.” It also tells you a lot about how grim nominal Rubio allies have grown about his chances. When one of Congress’s most notorious super-hawks — and a fellow member of the Gang of Eight — is looking ahead to a Trump/Cruz race, says James Poulos, you know Rubio’s in trouble

Let’s be blunt when I close my eyes I can see Lindsey Graham, among a meeting of GOP establishment people starting giving the Kirk Douglas speech starting:

Make no mistake, I hate this man more than anyone alive, but he’s our one chance to defeat Trump.

And he’s right the only chance for the GOP to defeat Trump is Cruz but But what I really want to see if Graham and Cruz mimic Einar & Eric and form an alliance to defeat Donald Trump and win, their subsequent fight to the death.

I suspect we won’t discover that Graham and Cruz are secretly brothers.

Closing thought, why has Lindsey Graham reached this point? Because regardless of anything else, Lindsey Graham knows how to count, but that’s another post.

Professor Horatio Smith:  The trouble with us Mr. Maxwell is we don’t understand women.

Pimpernel Smith 1941

Is this hideous parody of “higher education” worth $46,417 a year?

RS McCain 2016

When I saw this post at Stacy McCain’s site concerning a rather quiet settlement in the Washington & Lee case:

Washington and Lee University has settled a lawsuit filed by a former student who claimed he was unfairly kicked out of school based on an allegation of sexual assault.

The student, who was identified only as John Doe in court records, had challenged a campus judicial proceeding that led to his expulsion.

W&L and the student have “compromised and settled all matters in controversy,” according to a motion filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Lynchburg.

Both sides are asking Judge Norman Moon to dismiss the case. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Last April, Moon denied a motion by the university to throw the case out, saying that the allegations made in the lawsuit, if “taken as true, suggest that W&L’s disciplinary procedures, at least when it comes to charges of sexual misconduct, amount to a practice of railroading accused students.”

And this write up concerning motive:  

Holding the false accuser accountable isn’t part of the feminist agenda, because to tell the whole truth about such matters might give a clue to why women sometimes do lie about rape.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

If you read John Doe’s complaint against Washington and Lee, you can surmise that the accuser was interested in a serious romantic relationship with John Doe, but he seemed to treat their two hookups as merely casual sex. When he later got serious with another girl, we may further surmise, his accuser regretted her previous liaisons with John Doe — she felt used, a “pump-and-dump” — and it was this sense of  regret, and a desire for revenge against the boy who had treated her badly, that inspired her to accuse him of sexual assault.

I couldn’t help but think of the classic movie Pimpernel Smith from 1941.

In the movie which takes place in spring of 1939 Leslie Howard plays Professor Horatio Smith a 40 something seemingly absent minded archaeologist and confirmed bachelor who only interest in women is in a statue of Aphrodite Calapeso that he dug up on the Island of Lesbos which he habitually and obsessively admires in the Cambridge Museum of Antiquities to the point where on discovering a speck of dust berates curator Jordan as a Vandal and Visigoth (terms which I suspect students at William & Mary may not recognize these days).  He is so obsessed with his statue and so absent minded that he finds himself missing classes and lectures.

Jordan:  Professor The college school just called for you Sir, you’re late.

Prof Smith: Late for what

Jordan:  Your lecture sir

Prof Smith:  Don’t be ridiculous  my lecture isn’t until Friday

Jordan: But Today is Friday sir.

Prof Smith:  Good heavens!  Extraordinary!  What happened to Thursday?

Jordan:  We had it Yesterday Sir

Professor Smith however has a secret, the reason why he is missing full weeks of lectures and spending so much time in Germany is not due to his archaeological efforts.  It’s because he is (as the title suggests) secretly smuggling German dissidents out of the country under the noses of the Nazis.

So when he plans a new expedition to Germany with some of his students to cover his activities he first conspires to make sure that none of the females students are present in his class before his offer is made.

Professor Horatio Smith:  Greek women moreover were condemned to habitual seculison, an admirable practice, which unfortunately is not followed in this university.

Female Student:  Do you object to our presence here professor?

Professor Horatio Smith:  Oh I can’t object, I can merely deplore it.

This has the effect of causing the female students in the class to walk out, at which point the asks the remaining students in any would like to accompany him to central Europe where he is looking for evidence of an early Aryan civilization.  He makes it clear that women are not welcome.

Mr. Elstead:  Would I be allowed to bring my young sister sir?

Professor Horatio Smith:  No Mr. Elstead I’m looking to avoid the company of females in general and young sisters in particular.

In Germany his students are overwhelmed by the pace he keeps and when they try to distract him at a chalie at the German Swiss border with an attractive young serving girl he expresses only annoyance and distraction.  (yet still manages to sneak out, despite the presence of a german guard and aid a dissident across the border & get back in time to escape detection).

His students eventually figure out what is going in and insist on helping but when the Gestapo head General Von Graham finds a clue indicating that the man they want will be at a reception held by the British Embassy to which he is invited that things get interesting. His agents including a Miss. Cole who we later discover is the daughter of an imprisoned Polish editor who has been promised her father’s freedom if she can track down the mysterious man helping dissidents escape, attend and while most of his agents suspect various people, she, after an encounter with Professor Smith’s american student Maxwell, becomes convinced that Smith is her man. They scoff but she is convinced.

The story turns when she visits Professor Smith’s bedroom, much to his annoyance after the event. She proclaims she has figured out who he but doesn’t want to turn him in so she offers him an ultimatum:

Ms. Cole:  Before I go you’ve got to choose.  Either you help my father to escape or I’ll go straight to the Gestapo and tell them what I know.

Professor Smith:  Very well go there quickly I hope they prove less skeptical than I.

He goes into the bathroom to get a towel and finds she has broken down in tears on his bed over the choice between betraying her principles or leaving her father in the hands of the Nazi., but Smith unsure of her story is having none of it.

Professor Smith:   What on earth are you crying for?  What have I done?  You’ve brought this all on yourself.  I didn’t ask you to come here I’m horrified at the idea of a strange woman in my rooms and a woman in tears at that.  Or ARE they tears? [she raises her head, showing her tears are real] yes  they are,  well they don’t have any effect on me, believe me.  Here  mop them up with that, you look awful.  And don’t try any more fairy tales with me. [she runs out leaving her bag] here you’ve forgotten your…

The next morning he finds himself changed and when one of his agents reports that she is in fact the daughter of the dissident as she claimed crashes a luncheon date one of his students had with her returning her handbag and replacing her spilled powder he asks a rather direct and revealing question to his student in front of her face:

Professor Smith:  Mr. Maxwell if you heard a very remarkable man had been imprisoned by the Nazis, what would you do?

Maxwell:  My damndest to get him out.

Professor Smith:  Now isn’t that remarkable.  Every now and then he and I have exactly the same idea.  

Ms. Cole:  [Wearing an expression of shock and relief] Could I have some water please

Professor Smith:  Certainly not, Vorak some champagne 

As you might guess the Gestapo chief, who had scoffed at her suspicion of Smith who he considers a fool changes his tune when she reports back that she was dead wrong…

General Von Graum:  I didn’t believe her Marx, I didn’t believe her.  But I do now, that idiotic archeologist.

Marx:  sir

General Von Graum:  But we’ve got to have proof.

..and he sets a trap for both of them.

Will they fall into the trap?  Can they spring her father and his friends from the concentration camp?  And even if they do can they and Ms. Cole escape the Gestapo’s wrath and get out of Germany alive?

Rather than spoil the ending I’ll embed the film at the end of the post but the question becomes, what does all of this have to do with the Washington & Lee case. Just this:

In the movie Professor Smith deplores the presence of women on campus likely due to his own myopia .  With our modern eyes we, even knowing that he is secretly risking his life to foil the greatest  villains in modern history, as backward and wrong.  Yet perhaps the character who could see far enough head to foil the Nazi might have anticipated the situation at Washington & Lee:

Washington and Lee, whose history stretches back to its founding before the American Revolution, was for more than 200 years an all-male school, and did not admit its first female undergraduate student until 1985. Scarcely 30 years after that, half the university’s enrollment is female, and any male student who enrolls there knows he will be immediately expelled if his ex-girlfriend decides “regret equals rape.” This is why parents pay for their sons to attend Washington and Lee (annual tuition $46,417), a school where “equality” means that male students have no rights at all.

At a school whose namesakes were honorable men, there is now not a shred of honor or decency left. The modern worship of “equality” has destroyed everything honorable about Washington and Lee, where corrupt administrators supervise dishonest faculty in the miseducation of their perverted students. Parents thinking of sending their children there should check out the Washington and Lee University Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Resource Center. Maybe your child will want to enroll in the Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) program at Washington and Lee University.

Is this hideous parody of “higher education” worth $46,417 a year?

Given today’s political correctness there is some danger, to objecting to or even deploring how far a once great university has fallen. although the real world risk doesn’t yet extend to the degree that the fictional Professor Pimpernel Smith did in combating his Nazis.

Fortunately for the parents of young men looking at higher education, they need not publicly object or deplore the situation, they can simply choose to spend their hard earned money elsewhere.

A closing note. This film which Leslie Howard, produced, directed and starred in, released in London while England was still fighting the Nazis alone, would be one of his last. Howard would die two years later shot down by German fighters over the Bay of Biscay.

****

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Thursday this graced the top of the Drudge Report:

oscars

As indicated by the image Al Sharpton did, well what Al Sharpton does…

Sharpton criticized the industry for having a “fraudulent image of progressive and liberal politics and policies” and compared success in Tinseltown to climbing the Rocky Mountains.

“Hollywood is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher up you get the whiter it gets. And this year’s Academy Awards will be yet another Rocky Mountain Oscars. Yet again, deserving black actors and directors were ignored by the Academy — which reinforces the fact that there are few if any blacks with real power in Hollywood,” Sharpton said in a statement.

Now I freely admit that I’ve seen none of he nominated pictures and the only one I’m hoping to see is Creed because of Stallone and the Rocky series and I don’t know if Reverend (when was he ordained a minister anyways) Sharpton did but I do have one question for the good reverend and one for those in the Black Community who agree with him.

“Which of the current nominees was unworthy of an Oscar nomination and which one would you remove to replace with a nominee of a color acceptable to you?

I think we need to know who Al Sharpton thinks wasn’t good enough.

But the 2nd question goes to the people of color in the film community:

With the complete understanding that the nomination for an oscar can generate cash and open doors and how important it is, if Reverend Sharpton got his way and forced Hollywood to make sure there was an acceptable quantity of black nominees do you really want to be considered the Token Black who only got his nomination for his race?

I ask this because if the Reverend Al gets his way that’s how people will think of you within your industry and every single person, studio who fails to get a nomination in the future will point to you in private and call you Token.

Are you willing to do this to yourself and every other black film maker who follows you just so Al Sharpton can shake down the studios?

Would you to this to your race, your children and yourself? If the answer is yes then be aware that any time you speak of “Black Pride” in the future be aware that at least two people know you’re lying.

Me and you.