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 Post subject: Cradle Will Rock
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:39 pm 
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No not "The Cradle Will Rock" (murder flick) or the heavy metal rock song. Just "Cradle Will Rock." I'd never heard of it until Carmen mentioned it, so we watched a DVD of it last night.

I thank Carmen for the tip. It was definitely worthwhile to see. 1999 big-budget Tim Robbins flick, with him as most of the above the line credits. One of those spot-the-face casts with half of the Liberal Hollywood Hall of Fame in it. Will Geer (think blacklist) has a small part. John Cusack, playing (of all people) a young Nelson Rockefeller.

Manages to be entertaining, funny in fact, while depicting one of New York's more infamous cases of politics intruding on the arts. This was in the 1930s, when a red scare prompted the US government to shut down a musical named "Cradle Will Rock." It was an Orson Welles production of a rather Brechtian music-drama or operetta or musical or whatever you call it at your house, funded by the WPA Theater Project. The musical itself has been performed several times since, including on Broadway, and was well received despite hard-left content dealing with organizing steel workers. But this movie is a backstage "making of" kind of story.

This sounds like the worst movie idea since Intolerance, but they pull it off, and with a minimum of left wing preaching. It's funny, and usually good history too. What's the most interesting is that the parts that look the most contrived are the most true to real events. The crazier looking parts are the ones that really happened. No spoilers.

Kind of an aside, they also depict the incident with Diego Rivera's mural in Rockefeller Center. It got me to research where the mural in 30 Rock really was located. I have been guilty of posting a falsehood to this board. Actually, the mural was right behind the front desk as you enter the building lobby. Right under the crotch shot on the ceiling, in the back of the room. For those of us who get off on the political history of New York City, this sort of thing matters.

Thing is, the mural is not there. As we all know, Rivera put Lenin in, and the Rockefellers paid him and sent him on his way before chiseling off the fresco and starting over with that Spanish guy who gave them all the airplanes and heroic materialism they wanted.

Anyway stuff like this gives one hope that the movies still have some vitality left. Even though it would probably be unthinkable to make it right now.

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 Post subject: Re: Cradle Will Rock
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:59 pm 
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I never heard ofRock the Cradle so I looked it up on IMDB. I also looked up Will Geer, a favorite character actor of mine, and was surprised to learn he traveled the work camps with Woody Guthrie and Burl Ives during the Great Depression. He refused to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Affairs during the McCarthy Era so that's a big plus for him. It's amazing to learn the backstory of people.

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 Post subject: Re: Cradle Will Rock
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:07 pm 
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Will Geer is the real deal. He was also in the original Cradle Will Rock play, I believe.

When the blacklist came he moved to the then-rustic Topanga Canyon and started the Theatricum Botanicum where blacklisted actors could perform. In fact, Woody Guthrie stayed there for a stretch after he got Huntington's Disease (genetic).

It still puts on perfectly respectable shows in the summer time. I go every year.

I grew up around this sort of thing. I was born into a bunch of lefties and LA bohemians. It's where I come from, it's who I am, and I'm proud of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Cradle Will Rock
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:42 pm 
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Yeah I really love this flick. It also came about at a point in time for me when I was really delving DEEP into entertainment history, LA entertainment history, LA Black entertainment history, the WPA in segregationist California, and how things like the Blacklist affected African American performers in particular, though those were not my only interests. (Thus the screen name :) )

IDK if anyone got to see Good Night and Good Luck, but that's another one along these lines. If you've haven't seen Scandalize My Name: Stories from the Blacklist (1998), a really hard-to-find doc on this topic, I would highly recommend it http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0258949/ . It's worth the effort to find. It's got Joseph Wershba, who was a featured "character" in GN&GL.

It was good to have those movies during the DLC and the Bush43 years. I suppose this is why they were made.

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 Post subject: Re: Cradle Will Rock
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:50 pm 
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IDK if anyone got to see Good Night and Good Luck, but that's another one along these lines.


I've not only seen it, I screened it for my Sociology Through Film course.

Unfortunately, the last time that was the case was before the Trump era.

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 Post subject: Re: Cradle Will Rock
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:01 pm 
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I've not only seen it, I screened it for my Sociology Through Film course.

Unfortunately, the last time that was the case was before the Trump era.


Ohh you would love Scandalize My Name.

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 Post subject: Re: Cradle Will Rock
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:05 pm 
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> Good Night and Good Luck

Seen it, loved it, not just for story and acting, but also for the right-on production values.

_________________
"Words are the new bullets, satellites the new artillery"
--"Winning CNN Wars," Army War College

"One bomb was shown on TV, and the American people bought that war. War is show business."
--"Wag the Dog"


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