Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Candidates' Screen Tests

CNN asked the '08 hopefuls to name their favorite movie and got some provocative answers.

John McCain picked “Viva Zapata,” Elia Kazan’s epic with Brando as a true-blue warrior for the people who is betrayed by weak, scheming politicians of all stripes. McCain was a teen-ager in 1952, when Kazan made it, many believe, as his excuse for giving up friends to Congressional Red hunters, which left him an outcast, not a hero.

Hillary Clinton’s choice was “Casablanca,” released five years before she was born, the classic tale of renouncing love for a political Higher Cause. Earlier, she had also cited “The Wizard of Oz” but reconsidered.

Rudy Giuliani was 28, a novice prosecutor, when “The Godfather” came out, a dark tale about the interweaving of crime and politics, with eerie echoes of his own family history.

What possessed John Edwards to choose “Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” is one more puzzle about an unreadable man. He was 11 when Kubrick’s savage black comedy of nuclear insanity appeared, and what feelings it stirred in a proper, bland, ambitious Southern boy are hard to fathom.

Mitt Romney was 34, embarking on a career in management consulting after being a Mormon missionary, before he could have seen his favorite, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” a hip, breakneck comedy-adventure far removed from his proper white-collar life.

Bill Richardson's choice of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," about banks robbers who go to South America but can't speak Spanish may be a reverse spin on his childhood in Mexico followed by a north-of-the-border life as a thoroughly Americanized politician.

Barack Obama’s preference is not known, which could mean (a) he is too deliberative to commit himself (b) too aware of what it might imply or (c) just not that interested in movies.

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