While at Hood Canal in WA State this weekend, my father in-law, who collects movies, treated me to the classic Marx Brothers film, A Night at the Opera from 1935. It was supposed to be funny I guess, but I found it entirely unfunny yet instructive.
It’s a story about two talented, young, attractive and altogether wonderful singers who aren’t getting noticed because they’re not “famous” enough for the big operators who book a famous (and less talented) singer. The Marx brothers “correct” the situation by employing fraud, physical force including assault and battery, trespassing and property destruction. In the end, the two wonderful yet undiscovered singers are given a chance to prove themselves in front of a large audience as the result of the aforementioned crimes, and all is well and good.
It’s a perfect depiction of the mindset among today’s political Left.
Altogether lacking in the film was any imagination, respect for the successful, or respect for human rights. The movie goes along with the apparent beliefs of that other more infamous Marx, and of the current Left, assuming that if one person is rich it means that someone else must be made poor. If someone acquires a dollar, someone else must lose a dollar. For one person to acquire a job, another must lose a job, and those who are successful must necessarily have stepped on some toes, etc.
The movie was an ugly, hateful stinker in that regard, and as such it received high praise from the critics.
In a free society, the young and talented singers might have gotten together with a few admirers, booked a small venue, and started the sometimes long and always difficult process of proving themselves to willing listeners. The Marx Brothers, being talented musicians themselves, might have given the two youngsters a few tips and helped them along, to their mutual benefit. In fact, the more wealth and success in a society, the more the opportunity.
For a realistic depiction of what it takes to “make it” in a free society, check out Will Smith in the movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness”. Aside from the brilliant acting and the captivating story, it’s based on the real experience of Chris Gardner, who happens to be a pretty interesting guy himself when you see him on live TV. I often find reality far more interesting than fiction.
Update: For another amazing true story, check out the movie, “Broken Trail”. Other than Robert Duvall, the actors are either fairly obscure or unknown. I like that in a movie. For example I can’t get past that fact that Ferris Bueller commands a regiment in the Civil War. It’s too much for me, and I can’t get into the story. Broken Trail is great in that respect. It includes everything you’d expect from a good western, and more– Bravery, cowardice, strength and weakness, grit, determination, lust, true love, disappointment, and a fair amount of gun play. As I recall I actually teared up (though I didn’t let on, and you didn’t read this. Must have been something stuck in my eye) at the final stagecoach scene. You know what I mean if you’ve seen it.