Tuesday night, my classic film club screened Hitchcock's Lifeboat
. We had a big crowd, which made me happy for Will, our moderator, because he's so enthusiastic about these gettogethers. But two things bothered me:
• The newbies' response to the film.
I was sitting beside four people who I don't recall having met before. They were a mother, her teenaged daughter and two of the daughter's friends. Their laughter really disturbed me. There were moments that Hitchcock included as comic relief from the film's life/death tension, so their giggles here didn't register on my radar. But when they tittered during the chaste, tentative Mary Anderson/Hume Cronyn love story and (worse) the lynching of the Nazi, my skin crawled. I appreciate that the way the Nazi is viewed in this film has changed over time, and our moderator told us that Hitchcock himself believed that when the survivors take arms against him, it was a metaphor for the allies standing up to the Germans. I, on the other hand, thought it showed that when we abandon our American ideals and the rule of law we can be reduced to level of our worst enemies. Ok. That's a debate worth having. BUT in either event, beating the man and throwing him overboard should not be a knee slapper.
• No Martha.
At these meet-ups I've become well acquainted with two new people: Rebecca, the transplanted Southerner who is trying to launch a new phase of her career, and Martha, the Buddhist CTA bus driver. This is the second meet-up in a row that Martha missed. She loves classic Hollywood and hasn't missed a single one of these screenings since I joined more than a year ago. I hope everything is OK. Next month is our annual Christmas party, and I really hope she's there!