Monday, May 8, 2006

Miller beats Bolt; Kazaan Beats Miller

Well, I'm back from Austin with the results. Friendswood High School's production of A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt placed third at the State Contest. Second place went to Athens High School's production of Ghetto by Joshua Sobol. The play is about Jewish performance artists in the Vilna Ghetto during WWII who put on a play at the request of a Nazi Officer. I wish I had paid more attention to the production, but Bass Concert Hall is a very large venue and, seeing how I was seated toward the back, I couldn't understand nine out of ten lines and mentally checked-out. The title of State Champions went to Montgomery High School for their production of A View From the Bridge. I unfortunately opted to skip that production because I had already seen it at the Regional contest and considered it, at the time, to be a worthy second place to Friendswood. Apparently, the Regional judge agreed; seeing as he gave Friendswood most of the acting awards, including best actor (Wesley Paul Stuart) and Best Actress (Erin Arnold). However, my brother decided to watch A View From the Bridge and reported that it had significantly improved both in its staging and acting and, as a result, was a fantastic show. Many people who had seen both performances confirmed this, leaving me wishing I had seen it.


The cast of A Man for All Seasons. Center foreground, facing off: Wesley Paul Stuart and David Attebury. Far right: Seth Ramsey

A View From the Bridge is Arthur Miller's communist-sympathizing, self-vindicating rebuttal to Bud Schulberg's and Elia Kazaan's legendary film On the Waterfront. During the 1930s Kazaan and Miller were collaborators, friends, and among many of New York City's famed Group Theatre who were involved in the Communist Party. By the time the "McCarthy era" rolled around, both were called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). When asked to confess their affiliation with Communism and to provide names of those who also had such ties, Schulberg and Kazaan obliged, Miller refused. Both Kazaan and Miller severed their personal and professional relationship.

However, before doing so, both men had begun development on a project about life on the gritty, dangerous docks of New York City. Each saw their initial vision come to fruition, but with very different results and, no doubt, pointed barbs intended to wound the other. Where as Kazaan's film glorifies the idea of the informant through the tormented Terry Malloy, who must summon the courage to testify against the mob; Miller's play vilifies the idea of "the rat" through the cowardly, immoral Eddie Carbone who betrays two fellow Italians (one of whom threatens Carbone's incestuous obsession with his niece) by calling Immigration. Though Miller's play is incredibly written and enjoys successful productions to this day, On the Waterfront was the greater success and is now heralded as one of the greatest films of all time.

I can see why. I sympathize with Terry Malloy, and thus Kazaan, when he defiantly tells the mob (representing the communist infiltration of Hollywood), "I'm glad what I've done to you! [To the crowd] You Hear Me! [Back to the mob] I'm glad what I done!" To speak plainly, I'm glad about what Kazaan did as well -The McCarthy era's alleged, rampant infringement of civil liberties aside. Those who continue to revere Miller at Kazaan's expense diminish the significance of the cultural terror that Miller and other "Cultural Marxists" sought to wreak upon the West. Though Miller's plays are skillfully written, nuanced, and contain much truth about the human condition, he and others opened the door to the impoverished aesthetics that are rampant in modern theatre and cinema and are disintegrating Western civilization.

If you would like more information on the pervasive influence Cultural Marxism has had on the American Theatre and Cinema, I highly recommend Geoff Botkin's "Hollywood's Most Despised Villain."


Wil said...

but richie, doesn't kazaan's selling out his friends to save his own hide far outweigh the evils of social marxism. i mean relaly, being a coward or thinking you are bettering the world through a faultty economy.

___ said...

Man, you're a little deep for should have this conversation with gregory boyd...or that guy who got us the mic for washington's cross