Angels with Dirty Faces
Watching the coverage of the execution of Tookie Williams in California, I couldn't help but think of the 1938 Warner Brothers classic Angels with Dirty Faces. Pat O'Brien and Jimmy Cagney play childhood friends who grow up on different sides of the law. Cagney's gangster Rocky Sullivan is an idol to the boys of the neighborhood, much to the dismay of O'Brien's priest. When Cagney is about to be executed for murdering his double-crossing mob pals (including Humphrey Bogart as a crooked lawyer), O'Brien pleads with him to act like he's scared so the kids who look up to him will be turned from a life of crime. Cagney complies, and ROCKY DIES A YELLOW COWARD scream the newspaper headlines...and the "Dead End" gang learns a lesson.
Today, of course, Hollywood stars wouldn't be caught dead anywhere near such a message. Instead they're pressuring the governor and the legal system to let a cold-blooded killer off. After all, he's "reformed." Never mind that he refused to admit his guilt--he's changed, you see, and that makes all the difference. The fatuous Mike Ferrell even said, "I think the Tookie Williams people want to kill is already dead...and Tookie Williams killed him."
No, Mike, Tookie Williams killed four innocent people. And the fact that you and your rich actor buddies are standing up for him rather than the victims is pretty pathetic. It may also (at least partially) help explain why movie attendance has dropped so dramatically in recent years. Once upon a time, movies reflected American values rather than trying to destroy and subvert them. Of course Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, George Clooney, Barbra Streisand and the rest of the loonies in Tinseltown have every right to their opinions. But there's a vast untapped market, which shows up in huge numbers for things like The Passion or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, that keeps voting with their feet...and their money...against liberal propaganda masquerading as entertainment.
Clooney's paean to crusading journalists, Good Night, and Good Luck, has garnered a measly 21 million bucks in ten weeks--less than a third of what LWW took in on its opening weekend. His latest anti-American diatribe, Syriana (which will be out on video in about three months), finished second for the week with less than 15% of Aslan's take. Keep making junk people don't want to see, and guess what? They won't go see it.
Is it too much to ask for a movie in which Americans are the good guys? Where a man who loves and is faithful to his wife is the hero? Where a family sticks together (without the parents being portrayed as bumbling idiots) to overcome their problems? Where a gangster begs for mercy on his way to be executed to discourage kids from following his lifestyle? Maybe it is, but the studio who made such fare would laugh all the way to the bank.