Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sarah Palin's Body Snatchers

It's the 1950s again when atomic anxiety had kids ducking under school desks as Joe McCarthy et al were stalking Washington for subversives plotting to steal our liberties while Hollywood cheese showed aliens in aluminum suits invading the planet to steal our minds.

Sarah Palin's remake of The Body Snatchers has opened to sour reviews from both sides of the aisle but with a boffo start at the box office as veteran observers wonder if it has the legs to last through November when Tea Party preview enthusiasts thin out and mass audiences have to be won over.

Say what you will about her as an auteur, however, Palin is following the path of classic masters of mass fear, from Orson Welles' radio invasion by Martians to the makers of "Frankenstein" and "Dracula," who could create scary images in the minds of millions during hard times.

Purists may carp at stylistic touches such as the tacky Palin clone in the Delaware scene and Jim DeMint as an unconvincing Igor, but her feat in instantly assembling a U. S. Senator in Alaska out of body parts is a dazzling hommage to the original monster makers.

In the 1950s, politics and movies were still separate branches of the culture, even as Washington headline hunters borrowed Hollywood star power for their public floggings. Palin can now cast her productions with unknowns--no need for Sandra Bullock and such.

As this current reality show unreels nationally, new generations may take some comfort in recalling that the 1950s madness ended abruptly with Eisenhower Republicans taking back their party and JFK urging Americans to "ask not what your country can do for you—-ask what you can do for your country."

But that was in a simpler time. In the age of 3-D, how long will we all be trapped in this new horror show?

Update: In Washington's equivalent of an honorary Academy Award, the White House acknowledges Palin's box-office pow, with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs noting that she "very well could be the most formidable force in the Republican Party."

As Palin heads for the first 2012 primary state, Iowa, to speak at the annual Ronald Reagan (movies, again) Dinner, President Obama is now scheduled for a "small town event" there later in the month.

Mr. Deeds vs. Godzilla?

1 comment:

Octopus said...

While watching Christine O'Donnell’s victory speech, I noticed one of her arms was shorter and thinner than the other. Mainstream media never noticed because their right ears have grown larger than their left ears. Why are Americans turning into misshapen mutants? Must be some kind of strange particle string passing through our Universe ... invoked by archangel Apoca-Lips Palin.