Movie trivia time.
Anyone out there remember what movie ended with the line above?
The year was 1958 and movie studios had discovered that horror movies made money. So Valley Forge Films, needing to fill the coffers for other, more esoteric films produced by its parent company, Good News Productions -- although IMDB (Internet Movie Database) lists the film company as Fairway Productions -- came up with this screamer.
Burt Bacharach and Ralph Carmichael each contributed to the music. The lead actor opted to take a $3,000 flat fee instead of $150 + 10% -- and the film ended up grossing millions.
In 2008, the film was nominated for TV Land's Best Movie to Watch at the Drive-In award.
And a new book, The Family: the Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlet, called a journalist because he is a contributor to several magazines, including Harper's and Rolling Stone, and creator of a couple of blogs purporting to monitor "America's secret theocrats," suggests that this movie was a fundamentalist Christian group's deliberate attempt to sway public sentiment by making the monster a metaphor for Communism.
There may be, however, just one or two tiny problems having to do with accuracy.
Rudy Nelson, associate professor of English at the University of Albany and "Third Assistant Director in Charge of Daily Script Revision" on the film in question, explores the discrepancies in Sharlet's article in his own article . . . but to put the name of Nelson's article here would give away the title of the movie.
Before I do that, here's what Sharlet emailed Nelson after Nelson emailed Sharlet with what Nelson says was a "low-intensity (and good-natured, I hope) correction of the misinformation, not really expecting a reply."
Nelson says Sharlet "thanks me for my message, offers apologies if he's misunderstood [the movie], and then goes on to point out, with several apt illustrations, that art can take on meanings not intended by its creators."
This is true to a point. As a dramatist and writer of fiction, I'm sometimes startled by what actors/readers take from my work.
But to charge intent is different from art taking on "meanings not intended by its creators."
I wouldn't think Sharlet can have it both ways.
Ah well. Read the articles for yourself. You decide. That's what a free, unbiased press is all about, right?
The actor? Steve McQueen.
The movie? The Blob.
Nelson's article? "The Blob and I" in the most recent issue of Books and Culture, published by Christianity Today.
The last line of the movie? Let's not even go there. At least not in this entry.
Note dated December 17, 2008: Corrected grammar in paragraph six.