Racism: Chopped and Channeled

3540-004-1F568E2EI grew up in post-war San Diego. My family lived in plywood rooms tossed up for the influx of the wartime factory workers. We could have conversations with our neighbors without leaving our mutual homes. When I went to school I was exposed to a lot of people who didn’t look like me—tow-headed blue-eyed white speaking kindergarten English. Spanish was common and I often wished I had been dark haired, dark skinned, and dark eyed. Years later I learned that my brunette mother had considered brown eyes preferable but she kept having blond haired, blue-eyed children.

My early school class was probably a third black; I remember thinking there was something wrong since at least half of those kids had no shoes so the light skinned soles of their feet showed a contrast with their dark skin. Other than that, I was mostly concerned if a classmate was bigger than me (I was a wimp).

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In What Furnace Was Thy Brain?

If you consider yourself empty and distraught trying to survive without a steady diet of classic films and the artistic thrust of black and white films with wartime credentials, and especially if you are still in mourning for the Filmstruck cable channel, I highly recommend taking a peek at the new Criterion channel that just premiered.

I have been thoroughly enjoying a wonderful sampling of Columbia noir films from the 1950s. One selection was Murder By Contract, starring a young and hairy Vince Edwards.

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Adapting Evil

download.jpgOne of the most common and clichéd questions in reading groups is, Which was better: the book or the movie? In order to retain your elitist card you must unhesitatingly announce, The Book, of course! But it’s not always true.

Many times the authors, even though their books are quite good, tend to spread the narrative loosely over several characters and numerous scenes; they might even throw in a secondary plot or two or a particularly juicy love interest. Then when they go to make the movie they discover that all the by-the-page profits from the original publisher are never going to cover the extra cost for film and self-absorbed actors, so the writer of the movie script might combine a few characters or scenes, eliminate extraneous material which is not needed to advance the narrative, and hopefully create a tighter, more marketable product for the Silver Screen.

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