Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Judy and Julia

During World War II, the movie studios were trying to do whatever they could do to get people to go to the movies. All of the country's energy was going to maintaining the war effort and spending money to go to the movies became less important, so the studios thought the antidote to this was to put as many stars in one movie as possible.
I watched 'Thousands Cheer' from 1943, right in the middle of the war and the stars in it read more like the list of stars on the Walk of Fame than a cast list for a single film. Gene Kelly, Red Skelton, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Lucille Ball, Lena Horne, and Donna Reed, not to mention the 10 or 15 other stars in it who were big deals then but didn't exactly get those stars on Hollywood Blvd.
I can't help but draw a comparison or two to the recent film 'Valentine's Day' in the way that the studio tried to cram as many stars in one movie as possible to get audiences in the seats. Julia Roberts, Jessica Alba, Bradley Cooper, Shirley MacClaine, Jamie Foxx, and Patrick Dempsey. Please don't infer that I believe that Jessica Alba is in any way comparable to Donna Reed or Lucille Ball, she's just a name that people know to get viewers in the theater.
There are a few differences between these two films. The first is a musical, the second isn't. The first got rave reviews, the second didn't. The first one got people into the theaters, the second only kinda did. But that's okay.
I just think it's interesting that the tactics that were used back in the 30s and 40s are still the same tactics that are being used today. It's true that some things never change.
And I think that's alright that some things never change. There is a sweet consistency that it brings, knowing there are things in life that are cyclical and will come back around again. I think that's one of the great things about this life, old things can be new again.

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