Tag Archives: Political

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

Propaganda, Mind Control, and Engineering Public Opinion

Mind control is an interesting concept. This terminology most often conjures up notions of intrigue, sci-fi, destructive cults, MK Ultra, and maybe thoughts of Jason Bourne. In describing Patty Hearst at her trial, her defense team highlighted Hearst’s terror and the abuses of her captivity, suggesting that she may have been drugged into a “disordered and frightened” state. The idea that many believe about her circumstance is that she was brainwashed, “also known as coercive persuasion or manipulative thought reform” (Morabito, 2014, Apr 15), and developed what is known as “Stockholm syndrome,” a mind condition where she unconsciously abandoned her own prior belief systems and took on the mindset of her captors (Jameson, 2010).

What does it mean to be brainwashed? Continue reading Propaganda, Mind Control, and Engineering Public Opinion

The Use of Images in Persuasion: Miracles and Magic in Montage

Now and then, we must re-visit our history to know what we’ve gained in our progression of movie-watching. When we began our film exploration in January 2010, it was simply that, an exploration. However, even then, we looked at films that revealed important ways in which the movie and the spectator interact to construct their stories and to reveal their biases.

Since then, that exploration has evolved into a somewhat more systematic treatment of our focus of study. Through the use of themes and the occasional “film on film,” we are developing a better vocabulary for talking about our movies, and a better understanding of various aspects of film communication. Continue reading The Use of Images in Persuasion: Miracles and Magic in Montage

Sergei Eisenstein Leaves an Enduring Legacy for Filmmakers

Here we are in 2017, just a short eight years away from the 100-year mark since Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (1925) was released. Credited with revolutionizing the art and craft of filmmaking through its utilization of montage and special effects, this movie also forms an essential foundation for the use of film for propaganda.

The film indeed remains influential today, not only for its innovative techniques, but also for its model as a clear example of persuasive methods. In fact, Battleship Potemkin was banned in several countries, including the UK, out of concern that it would motivate potential rebellion. Continue reading Sergei Eisenstein Leaves an Enduring Legacy for Filmmakers

Thoughts on Battleship Potemkin and Propaganda

By the 1890s, the technology of photography had evolved to a point where motion pictures were possible, and it didn’t take long for mankind to realize the enormous potential of the medium for propaganda. Motion pictures were easily understood for all levels of education, in spite of a silent screen, and could reach the masses in minimal time. Within 30 years of the first motion picture ever filmed, Russian movie maker Sergei Eisenstein had directed Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein, 1925) with the purpose of creating goodwill for the Bolsheviks and building resentment towards the Tsarists. Continue reading Thoughts on Battleship Potemkin and Propaganda

Impassioned Speeches: Edna Gladney and Meryl Streep

Those of us who watched the Golden Globe Awards this week, or heard about the event after the fact, know that in accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award, Meryl Streep gave an impassioned speech. Without naming names, most likely everyone in the world knew the context and the individual about whom she spoke.

But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth. Continue reading Impassioned Speeches: Edna Gladney and Meryl Streep

That Gladney Woman

With 2016 finally past us, Movies on My Mind is vigorously moving forward with a new list of fascinating movies to research and discuss as well as to enjoy!  Mervin LeRoy’s Blossoms in the Dust has the honor of being the first movie of 2017, which is most appropriate. The motto of its subject Edna Gladney was, “Life is good, and it’s going to get better.”

Edna Gladney
Edna Gladney

A highly unusual movie for its time, Blossoms in the Dust is about adoption, a cause that Edna Gladney championed with passion throughout her life. Born in 1886, Edna Gladney was a real women who made it her life’s mission to fight for each and every orphan that crossed her path. Indeed, she surely must have bonded with children she helped, yet she never adopted a child herself. Among her accomplishments, the word “illegitimate” was removed from official records when “that Gladney woman,” as Edna became known, lobbied the Texas Legislature long and hard to pass a bill that gave adoptive children the same rights as their biological counterparts. Even so, movies that revolved around social causes were unheard of in the 1940’s; and it took the personal experience of an MGM Studio executive to promote the idea. Continue reading That Gladney Woman

Blossoms in the Dust: Thinking About Adoption

Mervyn LeRoy’s film Blossoms in the Dust is loosely based on the life of Edna Gladney, an influential Texas mover and shaker who is credited for finding homes for orphans, and for having the term illegitimate permanently removed from vital records in the state. Blossoms in the Dust is an ideal movie to share with the family; it simultaneously warms and wrenches the heart; it entertains, inspires and, educates the audience about a woman who made the world a better place lest she be forgotten with the passage of time. Continue reading Blossoms in the Dust: Thinking About Adoption

Evil Nurse Ratched

Let me just say this first — Jack Nicholson’s performance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is absolutely mesmerizing. His astonishing portrayal of R.P. McMurphy is a reason One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest stays with you long afterwards.

Nurse Ratched, the character that actress Louise Fletcher made bigger than the movie itself, is another reason this movie stays long in your mind. I knew Nurse Ratched Continue reading Evil Nurse Ratched

One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the Crimes of Insanity

Was the film a metaphor about society? . . . To which Forman replies, it was more ‘a metaphor for any kind of modern society today,’ as it revealed ‘how far has the power the right to crush an individual who is questioning the rules.’
—Paul Gallagher, Dangerous Minds

Do we call them “crimes of insanity” when we associate crimes involving illegal drug use with criminal behavior? Does anyone ever think about One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and associate that movie with the American ’60s counterculture?

Ken Kesey, author of the novel from which the movie was adapted (1963) , was a Stanford student and an acid-head during the days of Haight-Ashbury and Woodstock. Would knowing that change your perspective on what he communicated? .  .  .  or why? Continue reading One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the Crimes of Insanity