The Two Spies Report

The "Minority Report" from J. Michael Bennett, Ph.D, Emeritus Producer of the Future Quake Radio Show, and Author of the soon-to-be-released book series The Holy War Chronicles – A Spiritual View of the War on Terror

Category: Blast From The Past

Film Recommendation: Pressure Point (1962)

 

It seems almost a “synchronicity” (I sound so contemporary using such a term) that I would just discover such an important movie as Pressure Point, produced by Stanley Kramer, and starring Sidney Poitier, an amazing Bobby Darin (yes, the 60’s crooner), and even a young Peter Falk in a brief role, right after the events of Charlottesville and the rising profile of the neo-Nazi/”alt right”, and the disconcerting issues raised in my last post just days ago.

The 1962 film concerns a black prison psychologist Poitier in 1942 who inherits a prisoner client (played by a Bobby Darin that revealed his acting chops) who had joined the Nazi movement in America and had been sent to prison for sedition.  Refusing to be analyzed by an African-American, he eventually relents when he cannot overcome his sleeplessness and torment over events in his upbringing that made him the Nazi monster he came to be.  I cannot think of a movie that more relevantly or intelligently sheds light on how young people can be pulled in to movements that espouse hate of others, even in America and after the terrible experience of the German Nazi regime, and how we can never turn a blind eye, or our backs on such movements that never seem to go away.  Even for such an ugly person, it exudes an empathy as we see the family and societal influences that break and corrupt young minds – just like today.

I have only seen part of it so far, but it was so good that I had to recommend it to my reader friends before I forgot, and while you might be able to find it.  I discovered it on the MGM HD channel that is carried on cable and satellite.  It is also available for rent at Amazon Video, or available for purchase.

As a big fan of film, I have often thought that the “golden age” of particularly American film (and public discourse in general) was in the high-definition black-and-white days of about 1955-64 – the days of brilliantly insightful films like A Face In The Crowd, or Dr. Strangelove.  They reflected (and required) a general intelligence and insight from the public that would go over the heads of most of the public today; the students of the late 60s still reflected this intellectual rigor and academic capability, but it has rapidly declined since then.

The producer, Stanley Kramer, produced or directed many of the most unforgettable and brilliant “message” movies of the era – often at personal expense and risk.  They included not only this film, but Inherit The Wind, The Defiant Ones, the post-nuclear On The Beach, High Noon, Judgment at Nuremberg, The Caine Mutiny and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.

A viewing of the titles mentioned in this post would be an incredibly spiritually rewarding experience for any reader here.  I am ashamed to say that not only did I learn the types of spiritual truths from Stanley Kramer’s and similar films that I should have learned from those behind pulpits, but when I reflect on the infantile, Disney-fied (and even harmful) “chewing gum” embarrassments I see produced by Christian filmmakers these days, such as Fireproof or God Is Not Dead, I am almost (but not quite) too embarrassed to tell other thinkers whose “team I’m on”.  Will real Christian intellectuals like the C.S. Lewis’ of old ever rise up, and more so, will there ever be an appetite in Christian circles for those who make us think, self-critique and empathize?

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REVELATION: Ted Cruz is Green Acre’s “Mr. Haney”‘s Long-Lost Son!

I have not seen this as breaking news on World Net Daily, but check out the following two videos from Sen. Ted Cruz and study his voice and face carefully:

Now see how his voice and face resembles another prominent salesman and businessman, Mr. Haney from Green Acres…

The more speeches you hear from Sen. Cruz, the more it becomes apparent!  Apparently he learned to sell “ice cream to the Eskimos” like his old man…

Blast From The Past: Joe Friday Defends Police Brutality to the Hippies and Blacks

As I said in the blog description, I have a soft spot for culture from the 60s to early 80s, be it a “good ol’ boy” country music song from the 60s about hippies and the war, to this gem from the 1969 edition (the season premier) of the iconic TV series Dragnet.  It focuses on Detectives Friday and Gannon being asked to defend police brutality and profiling on a controversial, confrontational TV show, and it is a classic (the Hulu link should play, but you might have to sit through a commercial):

Hulu: Dragnet 1969 E1 – Public Relations

For you youngsters out there, Dragnet became one of the early mega-hits on TV in the 50s, lasting for eight seasons and making star Jack Webb a TV mover and shaker.  He became, post WWII, the quintessential defender of the “Greatest Generation” and its values, warning of the risk of Commies taking over our towns in many works, and defending the actions of authoritarian figures such as the military and cops, and the “American Way”.  He brought back Dragnet for what I feel is its most interesting era, in early color from 1967 to 1970, probably because it was TV gold monetarily, but also I suspect because he was worried about the emerging “hippie culture” and youth movement that was really impacting his home town of Los Angeles.  He starts each show with some iconic words about “carrying a badge” and the virtues of LA – with its recurring elements, such as the “bad guys” being sentenced at the end in some type of police line up, becoming iconic and being parodied on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and elsewhere (Dan Ackroyd also did a spot-on impression of Joe Friday in the 1980s movie Dragnet).  His first show of 1967, “The LSD Story”, has some of the most classic engagement scenes between square oldsters of the establishment, and “flower children” and junkies, as caricatured by his older generation as he wrote their parts.  It is must-see TV for fans of unintended satire.  Jack Webb, and his character of Joe Friday, is THE archetype of that generation and those who ran the Establishment, with views and characteristics for better or for worse.

In the episode I linked above, Friday and his partner Gannon get roped into defending the cops on a confrontational show that must have emulated the 1960s Los Angeles “Joe Pyne Show” (with episodes itself you should watch on Youtube), which became a confrontational forerunner of the “Morton Downey, Jr.  Show” and Jerry Springer.  They get ambushed in debate by a hippie (played by the great Howard Hesseman, later to achieve fame as “Johnny Fever” in WKRP In Cincinnati), a leftist human rights professor, and blacks, Hispanics and others from the poor neighborhoods who hurl questions to them about police brutality and profiling.  Joe Friday makes an eloquent and heart-rending appeal on behalf of the beat cop, but never really addresses tangibly how to solve the problems they cite.  Although it is obvious these antagonists are stereotyped by Jack Webb through the lens he saw them through when he wrote their parts, the debate shows that the issues have NOT changed in the last half century, and even this contrived debate is more eloquent than what we see in the public sector today (at least they had a dialogue, and acknowledged the problems then; how would today’s Religious Right and conservatives be accurately portrayed in such as show?).

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did, and I look forward to your comments!

P.S. As a bonus, a Youtube link to “The LSD Story” is here: