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  • Dementia

    Dementia

    ★★★

    Dementia calls out to be analyzed from the perspective of gender, but a close examination of the film reveals a subtext that would probably be considered reactionary were it present in a modern day film. There certainly is quite a bit of marital abuse going on (particularly in the first half of the film). Yet, while Dementia casts individual husbands as loathsome, it also shows one such loathsome man being hauled off by the police in a timely fashion. When…

  • Godzilla

    Godzilla

    ★★★★

    Monsters vs. Tokyo

    At this point, it’s helpful to compare Godzilla to Them! (1954) or The Beginning of the End (1957) or really just about any American giant monster movie from the same era. In all those films, despite the lofty rhetoric of the main characters, the monsters are vanquished with minimal loss of life or destruction of property. Them! (1954) is particularly bad in this respect, talking up the giant ants as the harbingers of the apocalypse and then…

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  • Pickup on South Street

    Pickup on South Street

    ★★★½

    After the House Committee on Un-American Activates (HUAC) exposed the surprisingly large number of communists (both past and present) operating in Hollywood, the industry found itself in a bind. The American public wasn’t going to shell out for movies they thought were made by the Communist Party. Beyond the alienating individual film-goers, the industry risked state and local-level boycotts organized by the American Legion or other patriotic organizations. So rather than risk their profits, the industry created a blacklist that…

  • The Thing from Another World

    The Thing from Another World

    ★★★★

    The Whatsit

    Now we know that the Korean War was nothing more than a monumental waste of resources and lives, with millions dying over the course of four years to shift an arbitrary borders a couple miles here and there. But history is a funny thing: the closer you are to the events as they unfold the more difficult it is to make sense of them. This explains why so many mid-century Americans saw the war in Korea as the…