By Bob Bennett
We’ve had two civil wars. The first, a shooting war, we won; the second we lost, long ago.
You likely didn’t even notice. The only way you’d know is if you could look back at the America that was. That can best be done in film. At home, we DVR dozens of movies from TCM, the vintage movie network. It’s one of the last repositories of the real American Culture, preserved in film.
Watching those movies is like pressing your nose against the window on a bygone age, so different from today, you wouldn’t know it’s the same country.
In a typical film, That Touch of Mink, the entire plot revolves around Cary Grant striving to maneuver Doris Day into sharing a Bermuda hotel room with him, while she parries his advances. Finally, he has no choice but to marry her. No obligatory sex scene, no flaming car chase, no foul language, no violence.
How could moviegoers flock to see such a film? Well, quite a few did: the movie was the first to generate over a million dollars at Radio City Music Hall and wound up breaking records there, taking in nearly $2 million. The total take was $14,628,923, in 1962, when a movie ticket cost 70 cents. That represents nearly 21 million moviegoers.
At today’s ticket prices, that’s nearly $168 million, for a film whose plot was far from unique in those days—there were many popular films with similar ones.
Gone With the Wind grossed $189,523,031 in its 1939 release. Tickets cost 23 cents then. Do the math! Though it glossed over slavery, it was a huge success because it had perhaps the most vivid characters ever depicted. Naturally, men identified with Rhett Butler—I was one of them—and women with Scarlett. It also had a strong story, a love story with a historic backdrop. Of course, all of that came from the book.
Gone With the Wind became popular as a book—a long one—selling well over a million copies.
Yes, Virginia; they read books in those days.
In terms of adjusted gross, the film has taken in $1,632,520,600 making it the number one grossing film of all time. [Source: boxofficemojo.com]
Gorgeous movies like GWTW, The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, a Tale of the Christ, My Fair Lady and many others are rarely seen and new ones never produced, not because there’s no demand (A GWTW post on my FB page came with 1.2 million Likes), but because the Hollywood social engineers want it so. And they know that nothing influences culture like movies. Life really does imitate art.
The question is begged: what happened to the American Culture that was portrayed in those movies? Answer: it’s gone with the wind, just as surely as the “land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South” portrayed in the film. Our American culture has been overthrown by a secret civil war raging since the 1960s, bloodless, relentless and cruel.
What’s the sexiest scene in movies? It was Rhett carrying Scarlett up those stairs.
Hollywood now has a different artistic device to portray the same thing: an explicit sex scene, with someone’s bare buttocks bouncing up and down.
Other Tinsel Town devices include: a plethora of gratuitous and bloody violence, especially gunplay; a car chase with plenty of pyrotechnics and incessant action.
Then there’s the ever-present indoctrination: a theme portraying either America, its government, or a giant corporation as villain; the deliberate blurring of the line between the sexes, with women boxing or slashing people with swords (as if women have no admirable traits of their own); kids being infinitely smarter than their parents; rewriting of history to bring out political points; crime-DOES-pay themes; and Hollywood’s most popular theme: post-apocalyptic America (IMDB lists 98 such films, and if you count zombie films, I’m sure there are many more). The post-apocalyptic genre doubtless represents the fondest dream of the nihilistic Left put on film.
Perhaps most obnoxious thing about modern films is their relentless pushing of Leftist goals, often timed with political drives. The Kids Are Alright, a film about a lesbian couple who both gave birth from the same sperm donor, coincided with the full-court press to pass same-sex marriage. It may also become an HBO series.
A byproduct of all this is that most of today’s movies stink. When movies are made primarily to advance ideology, art is lost.
Gone forever are movies showing couples in formal dress for dinner, couples ballroom dancing. Say farewell to masculine (but not violent) men and feminine women, farewell to lush musicals with real music: Andy Williams’s album The Great Songs from My Fair Lady and Other Broadway Hits appeared on Billboard’s Top LP list in 1964 (the year “My Fair Lady” was released) and stayed there 33 weeks.
When “Lady” was only onstage in 1956, Vic Damone’s recording of “On the Street Where You Live” was #4 on the Billboard magazine charts and Eddie Fisher had a top 20 hit of the same song.
Thanks to today’s “filmmakers” and others engaged in grinding down American culture, if you want to visit a society containing such things, you must “Look for it only in books [and on DVDs], for it is no more than a dream remembered, a civilization gone with the wind.”
Bob Bennett is a New York-based writer who has written op-eds for the Wall Street Journal and the NY Post, and has appeared on Fox and Friends and America’s Newsroom. He has traveled widely and written travel pieces for the NY Post, a cover article for the Jewish Press, and an op-ed for the medical journal Cancer Biotherapy & Radioimmunotherapy. Bob was also award-winning producer of a travel radio show heard on New York stations: WMCA, WNWK and 50,000 watt WOR and the national Sky Angel Network. He now blogs on Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Community and Red State Diaries.