Saturday, August 25, 2007

On the box
Father of the Bride

For Spencer Tracy and Liz Taylor fans (I admit I never found her incredibly hot)

Seeing this again these things struck me:
  • Indifference or hostility to religion had become mainstream even by 1950: the Tracy character’s reaction to the plan for a church wedding was how many men of that class really felt.
  • Hollywood’s version of Anglicanism, in this case the Episcopal Church: the big sort-of Gothic church interior (lovely and just right for the period), the Englishman trying to choreograph the bridal party, the coped priest (whom the Tracy character calls ‘Reverend’ as in ‘Revd Galsworthy’*), the Prayer Book text and (if you’re paying attention) the hanging sanctuary lamp for the Reserved Sacrament. Recognisably Catholic to those in the know and about where Episcopal churchmanship was headed at the time. (The electric candelabra on the altar are hard to explain. Probably just a mistake they thought no-one would notice.)
  • There’s another, much shorter Episcopal church scene — acolytes putting out altar candles and bowing — in one of Vincente Minnelli’s earlier films, Three-Day Pass, made just a few years before. As an artist he seemed to have a eye for good production values in liturgy!
*Back then with these clergy only Anglo-Catholics were ‘Father’; everybody else was ‘Mr’ or its equivalent. Like in England.

No comments:

Post a comment

Leave comment