Mon, 15 May 2006
Elia Kazan might have broken the Hollywood Blacklist. Instead, when HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) asked him to name names, he sang like a canary. His actions ended many careers, and broke the spirit of many Hollywood players. Kazan never apologized; indeed, his career and life from that moment staged a defense of his decision. "On the Waterfront"--which won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director for Kazan, Best Actor for Brando, and Best Actress for Eva Marie Saint--was his most elaborate, and perhaps eloquent, staging of what he felt to be the righteousness of his actions. The script and visual style are very noir, and the effect is jarring--for noir usually tells the tale of a man who makes a mistake, and is haunted by the consequences. Here, noir is co-opted by a man who wants to believe he can do no wrong. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at outofthepast.libsyn.com.
Mon, 1 May 2006
As America intoned the mantra "Communism," fear became its religion and McCarthy its high priest. George Clooney's "Good Night, and Good Luck" investigates Edward R. Murrow's brave act of voicing dissent, at a time when dissent was seen as un-American. The film shows an America living in fear of Communism in the 1950's that is very much like an America living in fear of Terrorism today, and demonstrates why the media--then and now--rarely question controversial pundits and their pronouncements. The media are dependent on advertising revenue; advertisers want to reach the largest possible audience; audiences want to be entertained, not educated. For these very reasons, creatively funded films often voice stronger objections than other media dare to voice. While "Good Night, and Good Luck" is not a film noir per se, Clooney seems to recognize that noir themes and stylistics may be called upon when American cinema has a message to deliver--like the heavy hired to knock some sense into us. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at outofthepast.libsyn.com.