Friday, January 19, 2007

Films that age well and those that don’t
The movies teach us to expect too much from romantic love and to think violence can make the world just.

The films I like best treat love and violence with irony. I think this may be why Alfred Hitchcock’s movies wear so well. They respect moral norms, but they show happiness and justice coming at a price. It’s no accident that Hitchcock never made a war movie, not even during World War II.

Not that he could do religious propaganda either, but his Catholicism, as many critics have noted, seems to color his work, even
Psycho.

The morality of a great writer, as G.K. Chesterton says somewhere, “is not the morality he explains, but the morality he forgets to explain.”

By contrast, even a Christian watching
Ben-Hur today feels that it was obviously trying to manipulate the emotions of the audiences of another time.
From Joe Sobran via LRC.

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