All posts by Mary

Mary Reed is a staff writer and director of social media at Movies on Chatham, where she contributes to the monthly magazine and book publishing projects. Along with a blog of her own, she regularly posts about our Second Thursday Films, always adding a fresh and enlightening perspective. A graduate of Emory University, she was previously a consultant at Accenture.

Leni Riefenstahl: Extraordinary Talent Tainted by Heinous Objectives

Leni Riefenstahl. Never heard of her. A crash course was necessary indeed. Fortunately, I work at MoviesonChatham, a research and writing group for film groups, critics and fans. This eclectic group provides ample opportunities for learning curves. The eye-opening quest to learn about this obscure woman left me feeling concerned about the fact that I, a college educated woman who is never without a book, had never, not once, heard of Leni Riefenstahl.

Then again, where would I have crossed paths with Riefenstahl, or her legacy? Continue reading Leni Riefenstahl: Extraordinary Talent Tainted by Heinous Objectives

Enron Trials: Mueller and Weissman in a Frenzied Witch Hunt

General Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump, has every reason to be sweating bullets at present. After pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about Russian contacts, General Flynn is at the mercy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team of investigators. In addition to Flynn, three other henchmen of President Trump’s are in hot water relating to the investigation over Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election:

  • Paul Manafort, Campaign Chairman
  • Ricky Gates, General Flynn’s assistant
  • George Papadopoulos, Campaign Foreign Policy Advisor

Andrew Fastow, the former CFO of Enron shown in this month’s movie, might strongly empathize with these men for he was once in their same distressing situation. Continue reading Enron Trials: Mueller and Weissman in a Frenzied Witch Hunt

Henry Fonda, Angry Juror #8: Idealism in its Finest Hour

Sidney Lumet’s film 12 Angry Men is a patriotic movie that portrays America’s legal system in an honorable light. Juror #8, played by Henry Fonda, represents the idealistic citizen who is uncompromising in his stance to do the right thing against insurmountable odds.

Yet, according to Weiser (2016),

The hallowed jury trial is a right enshrined in the Constitution and immortalized in American culture. But these days, said Daniel C. Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School, ‘12 Angry Men is more a cultural concept than a regular happening.’

Continue reading Henry Fonda, Angry Juror #8: Idealism in its Finest Hour

Not Everyone is Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

In the Year of Our Lord 1517, Dr. Martin Luther hammered a note, popularly called “The 95 Theses,” on the door of a chapel in Wittenberg, Germany. He might as well have taken that hammer and shattered the earth for the effect that this paper, which Luther entitled “Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” had on mankind. So great was the aftershock of this event that its ripples reach us five centuries later, and will likely continue to impact future generations for as long as humans exist.

St. Peter's Basilica in Rome
St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome

This event was a metaphoric earthquake waiting to happen. From medieval times (5th-15th century), the formidable Catholic Church dominated Europe and by Luther’s time (1483-1546) was steeped in corruption, which included the selling of indulgences to absolve parishioner’s sins. Rome’s magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica was built on funds raised from such practices (Justice, 2011). Continue reading Not Everyone is Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

Where Were the Heroes for Kitty Genovese?

The Witness documentary about Kitty Genovese chronicles Bill Genovese’s quest to find out why not one of the reported thirty-eight witnesses stepped in to help his beloved older sister (Salomon, 2015). After her murder in 1964, intense grief and inner turmoil plagued Bill Genovese’s life until, four decades later, he set out proactively to find the truth. Through the course of his personal investigation, his questions multiplied exponentially—specifically those about human nature.

Bill Genovese tracked down and spoke with witnesses who had heard or seen portions of Winston Moseley’s two attacks on Kitty. The Witness shows an interview in which a former neighbor claimed to have called the police. Records of these calls cannot be found. Continue reading Where Were the Heroes for Kitty Genovese?

Gaslight Controversy

It has been three quarters of a century since Gaslight (Cukor, 1944), filled its first audiences with eerie vibes that have not diminished with passing generations. Having stood the test of time due to intriguing plot, superior acting, and solid movie making, the film Gaslight continues to have a lasting impact on viewers, especially those who can apply its meaning to current events. Patrick Hamilton, a little known British playwright, wrote the original play, “Gas Light (known in the United States as Angel Street),” in 1938 (“Gas Light”, 2017), and unknowingly coined a term that has survived to become, most recently, part of American political jargon.

Continue reading Gaslight Controversy

Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst – It’s Not the Whole Story

 

He was the Rupert Murdoch of his day: a media baron who made millions marketing scandal, crime and crisis. He was so rich, he built a castle as a monument to his vanity. So iconic that his life story inspired the movie classic ‘Citizen Kane.’ When William Randolph Hearst died in 1951, he left future generations of Hearsts set for life—safely cushioned in the bubble of their birthright. But on the evening of Feb. 4, 1974, that bubble burst.
—Josh Mankiewicz, Dateline NBC

The documentary film, Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (2004), is a synopsis of a high-profile criminal case, which in the 1970s had most of America enraptured. The movie is worth your while for at least the following four reasons:

Violent protesters at UC Berkeley
Violent protesters at UC Berkeley, Feb 2017

First is the movie’s accurate portrayal of UC Berkeley and other similar college campuses in America in the late 1960s-70s. Forty years have passed since the Patty Hearst case, yet it is strikingly similar to what is going on today. A few weeks ago, UC Berkeley was mired with violent protests against Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart News, a conservative media outlet (Gecker, 2017; Ross, 2017). Not only disallowing free speech on the campus, but the UC Berkeley protesters also removed metal barriers, smashed windows in buildings both on-campus and off, and defied police, who, fortunately, were able to protect the speaker from the violence.

But officials said it was a smaller group of protesters dressed in black and in hooded sweatshirts that showed up as night fell to break windows with metal barricades, throw smoke bombs and flares and start a large bonfire outside the building with a diesel generator.

‘This was a group of agitators who were masked up, throwing rocks, commercial grade fireworks and Molotov cocktails at officers,’ said UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennet (Gecker, 2017 Feb 2).

Continue reading Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst – It’s Not the Whole Story