So do you think you’ve ever done something because a movie made you do it? It’s easy to say no, just like we’d say no commercial has ever made us buy something. We make the decision ourselves, right? Well, there are definitely times that a movie has made such an impression on our culture that we don’t realize it’s impact on each one of us, and that we, indeed, have done something because of the compelling persuasion of a film.
If you asked people who were alive in the mid-70’s. More than likely they will be able to tell you about the summer of 1975 when Jaws was released. They will tell you that people were afraid to swim in the ocean because of that movie. And if they’re really honest, they’ll tell you they were afraid to as well. Imagine that: a 2-hour story that involves a mechanical shark actually caused millions of people to think twice about going in the water.
There are others. Have you ever said, “Oh my!” after hearing someone say, “Lions and tigers and bears”? I bet you have. We all have. It’s almost impossible not to say it when we hear these five words strung together. Sometimes when joking around we might strike the “Stayin’ Alive” pose (Saturday Night Fever) or the crane technique pose (The Karate Kid) to get a laugh. And remember in the 80’s when dressing like a skateboarder was cool? You can thank Fast Times at Ridgemont High for that. We’ve all done things because of the movies.
Legendary director Howard Hawks (Bringing Up Baby, The Big Sleep) defined a good movie as one that has at least three good scenes and no bad ones. That’s a great definition. But to add to it, I’ve always thought of a good movie as being one that can either make you think, or make you feel. But making you do—that takes a special movie. And you can’t just decide a to make a movie that will do that. A director can aim to make the audience think or feel, and many have been successful in doing so. But causing an entire society to “do” or “act” is something that almost has to happen on its own.
And that’s where Bambi proves to be such a special film. It made a lot of people second guess the idea of hunting. Academic theses have been written about this movie’s influence on the anti-hunting movement. Paul McCartney cites watching Bambi as the reason he grew up thinking hunting “wasn’t cool.” Personally, I’m not against hunting and I do eat meat, though I have no problem with vegetarians or people against hunting. To each his own. But this little fawn made one huge hoof print in our culture.
Congratulations Bambi. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Verna Felton as both Mrs. Jumbo and the Elephant Matriarch (the elephant you hate most) in Dumbo. She also gave her voice to one of the fairies on Sleeping Beauty, the fairy godmother in Cinderella, and Aunt Sarah on Lady and the Tramp.
Best Actor: Cliff Edwards as Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio. Such a great voice.
Best Quote: “What’s the matter with his ears? I don’t see nothin’ wrong with ’em. I think they’re cute.” — Timothy Q. Mouse (Edward Brophy) in Dumbo.
This movie was actually adapted from a novel. The character Thumper wasn’t in the book. He was created for some much needed comic relief.
The author, Felix Salten, was an insurance clerk in Austria who wrote out of boredom. He was inspired to write the story when he became fascinated by the Italian word “bambino,” which means small boy. IMDb gives us this little tidbit about the novel:
“One key scene of the novel missing of the film is Bambi’s realization that man is neither all powerful, nor immortal. It comes when the Prince of the Forest shows Bambi the corpse of a man shot by a fellow human.”
Movie of the Week