Monthly Archives: February 2010

Ny Tid, nr 6 2010

Ny Tid vil ha meg som leser, og har sendt et prøveeksemplar.  Jeg er mer disponert for å lese et SV-magasin enn en skulle tro, så jeg gir det en sjanse.  I nummeret finner jeg:

- Dag Herbjørnsrud kritiserer norsk våpeneksport.  Han spør om dette egentlig er noe vi som land ønsker å drive med.  Godt spørsmål fra en god skribent.  I en annen artikkel går det fram at det spesielt er eksporten til USA som provoserer.  Er dette virkelig det verste aspektet ved norsk våpeneksport?

- Kjønnsforsker Jørgen Lorentzen advarer mot leketøysindustriens bruk av fargene rosa og blå, som dytter barn inn i kjønnsroller som til sist fører til voldtekt.  Han foreslår at menn bør gråte mer.  Herregud, SV-folk, sitter dere fast der ennå?

- Hovedsaken er at Avatar inspirerer verdens urfolk, og er et brudd med Cameron’s pro-imperialistiske 80-tallsfilmer som Aliens.  Jeg har ikke sett filmen, men dette er flau analyse, litt sånn “jøss det er en fantasiverden, men så er det allikevel paralleler til amerikansk imperialisme!  Er det mulig!”  Dette er ikke første gang noen bruker science fiction og fantasy til å frembringe et budskap, og jeg tviler på at en Oscar-rettet effektfilm når opp mot de beste av forgjengerne.  Tror ikke det var hensikten heller.

- Utenrikssakene og de utenlandske kronikkene er interessante.  Jeg liker når venstresiden forsøker å få frem glemte perspektiver og alternative vinklinger. Jeg tilgir dem at resultatet ikke alltid blir så bra, forsøket er verdifullt.

Det blir ikke Ny Tid-abonnent av meg. Men det var morsomt å se hva de driver med.

40′s movies marathon – part 75

Isle of The Dead (1945) - Boris Karloff, Helen Thimig

Isle of the Dead (1945, USA, Robson) – Quarantined on a cemetary island during an outbreak of plague, Boris Karloff and others, one of whom may be possessed by an evil spirit, sit down and wait to die.  Watched it all.  Another genuinely good 1945 horror movie, this time of the Poeish persuasion.  It’s almost as if something happened that year that made people more appreciative of the horrible and the macabre.

Dick Tracy
(1945, USA, Berke) – Bad comic book movies have a long tradition.  But at least nowadays you can expect them to be bad in an inventively annoying way.  Watched: 8 minutes.

West of the Pecos (1945, USA, Killy) – A rich eastern family goes to Texas to get some fresh air and physical exercise, and meets bandits etc.  I think this is one of those westerns they show on the TV in the background in other movies.  Watched: 7 minutes.

Wonder Man (1945, USA, Humberstone) – Danne Kaye is being very silly, in color.  Even death can’t stop his antics.  Watched it all.  In the clip above he’s trying to tell the district attorney about a murder by, er, infiltrating an opera performance.

Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945, USA, Rowland) – Life in a Norwegian farming community in Wisconsin, where some people are good, and some bad, but mostly they’re good.  Watched: 23 minutes.

Blithe Spirit (1945, UK, Lean) – An ironically detached couple gets visited by the ghost of the husband’s first wife, and go through the usual ghost farce stuff.  Watched: 28 minutes.

To the Shores of Iwo Jima (1945)


I know it doesn’t seem like it from what I’ve been posting for the last couple of months, but I’m not particularly interested in the Second World War.  I don’t normally watch WWII battle documentaries.  I don’t read history books that search desperately for yet another angle from which to see the same old gallery of characters.

With documentaries like this, it’s more a matter of not being able to look away.

40′s movies marathon – part 74

Scarlet Street (1945) - Edward G Robinson, Joan Bennett

Scarlet Street (1945, USA, Lang) – Wouldn’t it be nice if Edward G. Robinson saved a young woman on the street and it turned into a romance and an opportunity to live out all those dreams about being an artist that he buried decades ago?  Yes, it would!  But the woman he saves is Joan Bennett, who steals his money and destroys his dreams.  Watched it all.

Hotel Berlin
(1945, USA, Godfrey) – ‘Schnuppi’ and other blond Germans prepare for the end of the Reich in a hotel in Berlin.  Some of them want to escape and start the Nazi movement all over again .. IN AMERICA!!!!!  Watched: 19 minutes.

The Atom Strikes (1945)

The Atom Strikes (1945, USA) – A look at the terrible structural damage caused to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Not so much look at the human damage.  There are hardly any humans around at all.  Watched it all.  You know, they shouldn’t have done that.  It wasn’t right.  They could have tried some other way first to demonstrate the power of their fully operational battle station.

Back to Bataan (1945, USA, Dmytryk) – Oh, enough with the war movies now.  Watched: 7 minutes.

Confidential Agent (1945) - Charles Boyer, Lauren Bacall

Confidential Agent (1945, USA, Shumlin) – Charles Boyer comes out of the Spanish civil war with the idea that he’s being pursued by fascist agents.  Lauren Bacall finds this highly amusing, and laughs mockingly all throughout their thrilling fascist agent-related adventures.  Watched it all.

Kitty (1945, USA, Leisen) – Poor thief Paulette Goddard is dressed up as a lady, in order to say something or other about Class Boundaries.  Watched: 15 minutes.

The magic of privatisation is to make activities that were not bankruptable, bankruptable

John Campbell - Margaret Thatcher - Volume Two: The Iron Lady

John Campbell continues his balanced approach to Margaret Thatcher’s life in the second volume of her biography, condeming and praising her policies, accusing and defending her character, in a way that is subjective, but never partisan.

Thatcher was a conviction politician, and it’s her convictions that, to me at least, come across as her best quality: Her belief in free markets and individual freedom, her vision of an enterprising culture, where reliance on government services is an exception, not the norm.

From these convictions, she achieved at least two major practical achievements: Taming the unions, and privatizing major industries.  The British unions of thirty years ago needed taming.  They were anti-democratic blackmail operations, run by fanatics. And the state-owned industries of the time needed selling.

Campbell does a good job of capturing Thatcher’s downfall.  Her stubborn and arrogant style served her well in the early years, but it eventually made her a bad cabinet leader, who bullied her colleagues, and ended up isolated and friendless.

But neither her Tory nor her Labor successors reversed her policies. Thatcher’s electoral success shifted the centre of the political axis, forcing Labor to abandon socialism.  This has been a global trend, culminating in the fall of Communism, and if Thatcher does not deserve the full credit, at least she was one of the most visible champions of it.

As a politician she had flaws and strengths, successes and failures.  But as a symbol, a symbol of a principled approach to personal freedom, I believe she is mostly to be praised.

40′s movies marathon – part 73

Captain Kidd (1945) - Charles Laughton

Captain Kidd (1945, USA, Lee) – Charles Laughton commands a crew of pardoned pirates through the dangerous waters of the Madagascar.  There’s a mad gleam in his eyes that is especially unsettling because it’s not over the top, movie pirate style.  Unfortunately Laughton is the only good thing about this movie, and the end is disappointingly ordinary, with a lost heir, a silly romance, and a happy ending.  Kidd is so deliciously evil that he deserves to win, goddammit!  Watched it all.

Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945, USA, Thorpe) – An honest bellboy with an honest girlfriend tries to make an honest living in the big city, along with his retarded thug friend.  But temptations lurk everywhere.  Watched: 13 minutes.

A Walk in the Sun (1945)

A Walk in the Sun (1945, USA, Milestone) – I’m getting pretty tired of war movies, but this is one of the best ones yet, maybe even better than The Story of G. I. Joe.  Watched it all.  I have a theory about World War II movies: Despite the lack of blood, swearing, etc., they were at their most realistic when they were made by people who had actually been there.  Today you expect a WW2 movie to be epic, because Hitler was teh evil and all that.  There’s nothing epic about these contemporary movies.

Tonight and Every Night (1945, USA, Saville) – A music hall stays open every night during the London Blitz.  And no wonder, for what damage can bombs possibly do against such an abundance of vibrant technicolors and short skirts?  Watched: 13 minutes.

We are all Thatcherites now

1997 can be seen as Mrs Thatcher’s greatest victory, which set the seal on her transformation of British politics.  She had set out, on becoming leader in 1975, to abolish socialism and twenty years later she had succeeded beyond her wildest dreams.  By her repeated electoral success, by her neutering of the trade unions, by her privatisation of most of the public sector and the introduction of market forces into almost every area of national life, she – and her successor – had not only reversed the tide of increasing collectivism which had flowed from 1945 to 1979, but had rewritten the whole agenda of politics, forcing the Labour party gradually and reluctantly to accept practically the entire Thatcherite programme – at least the means, if not in its heart the ends – in order to make itself electable.  Neil Kinnock and after him John Smith took the party a long way down this road, without altogether abandoning traditional Labour values. The election of Tony Blair to succeed Smith in 1994 completed the process.  Blair was a perfectly post-Thatcherite politician: an ambitious pragmatist with a smile of dazzling sincerity, but no convictions beyond a desire to rid Labour of its outdated ideological baggage.  The rebranding of the party as ‘New Labour’ was the final acknowledgement of Mrs Thatcher’s victory. ‘We are all Thatcherites now,’ Peter Mandelson acknowledged.  She had not only banished socialism, in any serious meaning of the word, from political debate; she had effectively abolished the old Labour party.

- John Campbell, Margaret Thatcher, Volume Two

40′s movies marathon – part 72

Le Retour (1945)

Le Retour (1945, France/USA, Cartier-Bresson) – The prisoners are coming home.  Millions of prisoners, by foot, by train, and by plane.  When some of them look into the camera, you see a small reflection of Hell in their eyes.  Others look so ordinary, like it was all a horrible misunderstanding.  I wonder what became of them.  Watched it all.

My Name is Julia Ross (1945, USA, Lewis) – A girl is kidnapped by evil Cornwallians, for use in a plot that is so complicated that it might take the whole movie to resolve.  Watched: 20 minutes.

The Corn is Green (1945, USA, Rapper) – Bette Davis moves to Hollywood Wales, and upsets the local Hollywood Welshmen.  Watched: 8 minutes.

Betrayal From the East (1945, USA, Berke) – The Japanese-American community is full of insidious fifth columnists.  And they all look alike, so I guess we should, I don’t know, lock them all up or something.  Watched: 14 minutes.

Objective Burma! (1945, USA, Walsh) – On principle, I never watch Errol Flynn movies.  The principle is that I hates him I hates him I hates him.  Watched: 9 seconds.

Brewster’s Millions (1945, USA, Dwan) – A soldier returns home to find that he has inherited a fortune.  What an incredible stroke of luck!  And there’s a Moral too!  Watched: 18 minutes.

Flame of Barbary Coast (1945, USA, Kane) – John Wayne wanders into the fun-loving world of gambling.  They let him win lots of money just because they like him, and he’ll probably get the girl too.  Watched: 20 minutes.