Chance, coincidence and serendipity are curious things. Last night in search of a Halloween film, chilling and not gory, I watched The Thing (1951). Maybe for the 5th time. It hosts an incredible ensemble cast, effortless overlapping dialog, Howard Hawks the rumored co-director and Marshal Dillon as a plant-based spaceman. (Don’t forget Bob Dylan cites him for his moniker, not that poet guy). And when do they launch their fight to keep Aliens out of America? Nov 2d.
Still awake, I randomly choose another film, A Stranger In Town, (1943). Here a cranky Supreme Court Associate Justice, played by Frank Morgan (Wizard of Oz) goes duck hunting on vacation and runs afoul of small town corruption. Soon he’s mentoring a young politician to read his law books rather than swing his fists to get justice. It is all too common for Americans in American films to hit someone whenever they don’t know how to solve a problem, laugh at someone’s misfortune or pass off a swindle as clever. Not to mention everyone thinks it’s A-OK to carry a shotgun into a courtroom. The windup is a speech by The WIZ charging that the inability to work for the common good of all makes you a traitor. He actually uses the word “traitor.” Strong words. War years. Everyone cheers. It’s Nov 2d.