Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Night Of The Living Dead

Night Of The Living Dead  directed by George Romero in 1968 is one of the most widely recognized zombie films of it's genre.  This film follows the story of a group of people who are attempting to survive this zombie apocalypse.  The characters; Ben,  Barbra, Harry, Helen, Tom and Judy all end in up a house placed in the middle of nowhere and most of them try to work together boarding up the house, trying to get to a help station, and killing tons of zombies.  In the end all of the characters die, either by being taken by the zombies or other causes and it leaves viewers with a sense of hopelessness.
     Some have thought as Night Of The Living Dead to be a sort of metaphor of the distress Americans were feeling in the 1960s. After the unexpected assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy plus the Vietnam War still raging many Americans  identified with the film's shocking suggestion: death is random and without purpose." (Museum Of Modern Art). Night Of The Living Dead is a film that gave America the chance to grieve and accept the loss of many leaders and people who the nation held close to their hearts.
    In Night Of The Living Dead the protagonist, Ben is the only one who seems to have a sensible way of dealing with these creatures. The other characters, such as Barbara deal with the situation very differently. Barbara just basically goes off the deep end being useless until near the end when she attempts to help blockade the door. Ben reacts quickly, boarding up the house and he tries to make it a safe place for Barbara and him to stay to beat off the zombies. Ben becomes the leader of the rest of the group and even when challenged he stays in that position. Throughout the film he is really the only character the continually acts in a rational and practical way, which is way the audiences usually identify with his character. Much like Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy, Ben was a leader through difficult times. The death of Ben in the end is unexpected to the viewer as were the deaths of two leaders of our country. The deaths of all three were all tragic, horrid, and most of all for no reason.
     Another big theme in Night Of The Living Dead is; death is meaningless and never adds to the greater good. This was also what many Americans were thinking at the time when this film was realsed. Since all the characters die in the end, nothing changes, none of them will be remembered or make any impact on society because they are just a number. The death of this group is simply just a statistic, much like the death of soldiers in the war. It's the fact that after your heart stops beating you've been stripped of your personality and made into a number by the government. When dead we loose all of our personality, morals, and ideas to just become a statistic to be used by the government. This is generally what I think Romero was trying to say with the zombies in this film, he gave the thoughts of Americans at that time a structure in a not so obvious form, allowing them to grieve and get on with life.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Some Like It Hot, Some Like It Cold, Some Like It In The Pot 9 Days Old.

   Some Like It Hot is a classic screwball comedy complete with ping-pong dialoge, slapstick hilarity, and with a few gangsters thrown in.   Directed by Billy Wilder in 1959 and starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Marilyn Monroe this classic was not at first expected to be so. Some Like It Hot is a story of two young male musicians, Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon), who just happen to stumble upon and unfortunately witness a mob shooting in the backside of Chicago. Quickly the flee the city and head south on a train to Florida for two weeks on a new music gig, safe and sound. The only catch is that Joe and Jerry have now become Josephine and Daphne dressing in drag to disguise themselves and safely get away from the mob that is now after them. Along the way they meet Sugar (Marilyn Monroe) and the rich Osgood Fielding (Joe E. Brown) and encounter the very same mob they ran from in Chicago.
     Some Like It Hot is classified as a Screwball Comedy but some question wether it can be thought of as a gangster movie due to the huge italian mob that really kickstarts the whole film. The conventions of a screwball are, even now still somewhat unclear because unlike most film genres it "lacks easily identifiable setting and iconography.. and is distinguished essentially by its style and theme" (151). In  Some Like It Hot some of the few solid conventions of classic screwball comedies are present, such as; mistaken identity,  the struggle between economic classes, and a sort of ridiculous most likely improbable situation.
     Joe and Jerry are two struggling musicians in the beginning who have just lost their jobs once again and desperately need money. It is obvious when we first meet them playing cello and saxophone in a speakeasy that these are people who are willing to take the risk of getting caught so they can earn a little income. It is also said that they are in dept to many of their lady friends who have been helping them out so they don't end up on the streets. After losing the job at the speakeasy they have no where to go except back to the job agency hoping, praying that there will be a job. When they get there they there  they are offered jobs but they would have to dress in drag. While Jerry is optimistic saying that they
have before dressed in odd attire Joe refuses and they leave with no job. Eventually Jerry and Joe end up dressing in drag pushing further their desperate need for money.
    Cross dressing is another main convention featured in many screwball comedies such as I Was A Male War Bride and Bringing Up Baby. In Some Like It Hot Joe and Jerry dress in drag giving everyone the impression that they are girls. Mistaken identity also appears when Joe dresses up as a millionaire named Junior to try to impress Sugar.
     All in all Some Like It Hot is truly a screwball comedy with just a little bit more twist than usual. Despite the italian mod and other complications Joe and Jerry face the truly hilarious aspect and light tone of this film will make everyone smile.