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Western Walkabout: The Magic Of The Movies

…Sometimes I think movies have replaced novels in directing our attention to basic but important issues, such as class distinction and the role of money…

Richard Harris is entranced by the magic of the movies.

To read more of Richard’s top-drawer articles and stories please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/western_walkabout/

It’s just a trick with lights – but it’s magic, the movies.

You have to suspend your reality, enter the dark theatre and view the mixture of lights on the screen as though you were looking at a real world.

I’m as gullible as anybody else because I’m transported into a parallel universe, in another country, in another era. I fall for the trickery every time.

Sometimes, I remember aspects of a movie vividly, especially violence. Who could forget the way the female lead threw the knife to skewer the tomato against the door in The Long Kiss Goodnight?

Or the way she ripped the sticky tape off her private detective’s wound?

Who could forget the immaculate clothes of the two leading males in Valentino, the Last Emperor? Both those guys were 70 but their clothes were beautiful. What a bizarre thing to remember.

Sometimes I think movies have replaced novels in directing our attention to basic but important issues, such as class distinction and the role of money.

If you think money will fix things, have a look at the predicament of Heathcliffe in Wuthering Heights. He still wasn’t acceptable though Cathy loved him with a passion that went beyond life.

If you think money isn’t important, take a peek at the way Mr Darcy used it to effect his own kind of social justice in Pride and Prejudice. Or listen to the comments of Lizzie’s mother on the worth of various men – always preceded by their annual income.

I suspect a lot of us in the audience are highly visual people, operating in a visual medium, and taking in a lot of information through our eyes, as distinct from our hearing, feelings, reason, or sense of smell, perhaps.

Who was it said that the heart has its reasons that reason doesn’t know? Have you ever tried to tell yourself that you don’t like chips, or chocolate? Reason dictates they are not good for you – and yet you gobble them.

Homo sapiens – wise man – indeed? I don’t think so. He has a long way to go to be wise. And in its own way, the magic of the movies can help along the journey. .


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