A Man’s Gotta Do What a Man’s Gotta Do…And What He’s Gotta Do is What He Must

This week’s movie of the week is… Dial M for Murder!

Can you think of one thing you did today that you just had to do. Not something you just did out of ritual or habit like brushing your teeth or locking your door. Something that you just couldn’t not do. You were compelled. Can you think of anything?

This week’s movies seem to be ones that involve people taking action that they felt they must do, and one who laments that he didn’t. The most admirable “must do” character, in my opinion, is Will Kane in High Noon. He believes with all his being that when a dangerous criminal comes to town wanting to kill him that he must face him, whether anyone stands by his side or not. People tell him to go home. People tell him to ride away on a horse. But he knows what he must do and doesn’t change his mind.

This week’s movie of the week has a couple of “must do” characters. One feels he must have his wife killed. Then framed. Another feels he must solve a mystery and therefore find justice. This latter individual, Chief Inspector Hubbard is the closest thing to Will Kane in heroism. He does not ignore the facts and hunches, no matter how minor they are. He must find out who is guilty and save the innocent.

Sometimes I’m bothered when watching heroes. I am reminded how little “must” things I have in my day that really matter. Sometimes I must get this bumper repaired. Sometimes I must pay that bill or make that phone call. But how often do I have a “must” on my mind like, “I must take my daughter on a date today,” or “I must show Joy how much I love and value her,” or “I must do something today about the problem of slavery, starvation or brutality that is happening in my world.” I love heroes, but I hate looking in that mirror.

I have always believed that movies are healthy. They inspire us. They inform us. Not all of them are great, but there are enough great ones at our disposal that can better our lives. In this week’s case, I would suggest that anytime we watch a heroic deed on film that we take the time to self-reflect. Look in that mirror and if what you see is ugly, change it.

Congratulations Dial M for Murder. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to:
Best Actress: Grace Kelly. She is beautiful, delicate and easy to sympathize with. Her performance is what is most memorable in this movie to me, especially the attack scene.
Best Actor: Gary Cooper in High Noon. I realize that the heavyweight Marlon Brando is being snubbed here and probably has been before on this blog. However, Gary Cooper really impressed me when I watched this movie. I wasn’t very familiar with him until watching it and I loved how both his look and the sound of his voice reflects a much more relatable everyday man than that of other actors at this time like Cary Grant, Burt Lancaster and James Dean. Add to that the fact that with his performance in this movie he won best actor, beating out Marlon Brando and Kirk Douglas that year. And while we’re talking about actors, I loved seeing Uncle Billy and Colonel Potter making appearances in High Noon.
Best Quote: No question here. Quote of the week has got to be: “I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.” – Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront.

Some of the characters who have lit a fire under me the most with regards to making me ruminate on something that I must do are Guido (Life is Beautiful), Oskar Schindler, Jerry Maguire, Rocky Balboa, Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird), and Chris Gardner (The Pursuit of Happyness). I don’t say this to ask any of you to hold me to this, nor to try and shame you to do a similar thing, but from now on I plan to ask myself every day what I must do. Not what I can or should. What I must.


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