Hollywood has repeatedly churned out some of the most memorable films produced in the world. Some have been Oscar-worthy artistic achievements, others are screwball comedies made just for fun.
But what was deemed a cinematic masterpiece a few decades ago would be verboten in present-day politically-correct society, for the very reason that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned Donald Trump supporters.
She said she placed them into what she called her "Basket of Deplorables," and defined them as being "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it."
Another apparent kiss of death for moviegoers is cultural appropriation, where, for example a Caucasian pretends to be Asian, as Shirley MacLaine did in 1962’s "My Geisha." They used to call pretending-to-be-what-you’re-not "acting."
At any rate here’s Newsmax’s list of the top 10 films (listed in alphabetical order) that couldn’t be produced in today’s politically-correct, "woke" environment.
"Blazing Saddles" (1974)
This Mel Brooks classic depicts the goings-on in the frontier town of Rock Ridge, after it hires a railroad worker (Cleavon Little) as its first black sheriff. Although the residents are initially taken aback by a Black sheriff, they eventually accept him and his perpetually drunk gunfighter sidekick (Gene Wilder) after realizing that they’re the only defense they have against a gang of thugs sent to drive the people out of town to make way for a new railroad.
Interestingly, film critics continue to praise "Blazing Saddles" as a comedic masterpiece and revolutionary satire, while today’s audiences are turned off by its broad racial references and stereotypes and repeated bleeping out of offensive references.
Wrote one filmgoer, "rather than finding the film funny, I found its social critique pedestrian, and while making fun of racism is good, repeating racial stereotypes can be dangerous even under the glass of satire."
This is a spectacular, sprawling, and notoriously expensive film, depicting a love triangle of Queen Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor), Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison), and Marc Antony (Richard Burton). Cleopatra manipulates the two Romans in an attempt to save her Egyptian empire.
Bosley Crowther, writing for The New York Times called the film "one of the great epic films of our day," and "Cleopatra" received nine Academy Award nominations, winning four of them.
But as awe-inspiring as the film is, today’s audiences would immediately point to one fatal flaw: Taylor was not a woman of color.
"Gone With the Wind" (1939)
This epic Civil War drama was based on a Margaret Mitchell novel of the same name. It centers on the life of a petulant Southern belle, Scarlett O'Hara. Starting with her idyllic life on a sprawling plantation, the film traces her survival through the history of the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction, and her tangled love affairs with Ashley Wilkes and Rhett Butler.
"GWTW" received 10 Academy Awards (two honorary), including Best Motion Picture, Best Director, and Best Leading Actress. It also resulted in the first Academy Award given to a black performer — Hattie McDaniel for Best Supporting Actress .
But it didn’t age well. Wrote Lou Lumenick in 2015 for the New York Post, "The film's subtle racism is insidious, going to great lengths to enshrine the myth that the Civil War wasn't fought over slavery — an institution the film unabashedly romanticizes."
"The King And I" (1956)
This is a musical adaptation of the novel "Anna and the King," based in turn on the memoirs of Anna Loenowens, a widowed Welsh mother who became a governess and English tutor to the wives and children of King Mongkut of Siam (Yul Brynner). The film depicts the clash of culture and personalities between Anna and the king that, over time, evolves into a mutual respect.
"The King And I" enjoyed critical acclaim after its release, picking up nine Academy Award nominations — winning five. But today’s "woke" audience finds it problematic that Russian-born actor Brenner would be cast as a southeast Asian ruler.
One audience reviewer called it "racist in our time but isn't in its own," observing "Brynner speaking in a mockery of an Asian accent and little Asian kids short-stepping about in the kind of cuteness that Westerners endow the East."
"My Fair Lady" (1964)
Based on George Bernard Shaw's stage play "Pygmalion," this musical depicts a pompous phonetics professor Henry Higgins, who wagers that he can transform Cockney street urchin Eliza Doolittle into someone who can pass for a member of high Edwardian English society.
Audiences continue to be charmed by "My Fair Lady," and it was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, taking home eight of them. But it wouldn’t be able to be made today. Today’s "woke" audience would protest that the street urchin should be celebrated just as she is — unless, of course, she wants to change her sexual identity.
"National Lampoon's Animal House" (1978)
This classic screwball comedy follows two freshmen pledging the rowdy Delta Tau Chi house after being rejected by a snobbish, prestigious fraternity. While the pledges are put through their paces, the college dean places them on "Double Secret Probation" in his attempt to revoke the Delta’s charter and forever ban them from campus.
When the film was first released, legendary reviewer Roger Ebert gave it four out of four stars, writing, "It's anarchic, messy, and filled with energy. It assaults us. Part of the movie's impact comes from its sheer level of manic energy."
But the hijinks failed the test of time in today’s politically correct society despite being a trailblazer for a string of other "college frat house" films, at least according to reviewer Sarah Brinks.
"While the film is a lot of silly fun, there are some difficult parts watching it with a modern eye," she said in a 2017 review. "The way women and the respect of women’s bodies is addressed as well as the blatant racism and homophobia are a real problem. "
"Police Academy" (1984)
A crime spike prompts a city mayor to relax the admission standards of the police academy to attract a larger force of beat cops. The results are predictable in this nearly 40-year-old comedy. Every oddball character imaginable applies to the force.
The result is rude, crude, comedic hijinks, with a near continuous string of sophomoric sex jokes, which was produced purely for fun and not artistic awards. But while those characteristics were a ringing endorsement then make it the kiss of death today.
Here’s yet another screwball comedy produced just for fun on a Saturday night date and not for critical acclaim. Four high school buddies set out on a quest at a local strip club called Porky’s to lose their virginity. After the owner takes their money then kicks them out, they seek revenge. At the same time they’re confronted with other problems of adolescence.
But what was good fun 40 years ago would, like "Police Academy" and "Animal House" be forbidden as too sexist today.
"Soul Man" (1986)
Mark Watson (C. Thomas Howell) got accepted to the school of his dreams — Harvard Law. There’s just one problem: his affluent family is making him pay his own way through school. So he applies for and is given a scholarship limited to Blacks. After he's accepted he alters his hair, skin and speech to conceal his true identity and keep the ruse going.
But while appearing in public in blackface may have been considered harmless fun back when the film was released — and when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam did it — it’s strictly off limits today.
Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is a talented but out-of-work New York actor. When a soap opera audition goes poorly, he reinvents himself as actress Dorothy Michaels and wins the part. Complications arise when his role turns into a long-term contract, and he becomes romantically attracted to fellow cast member Julie (Jessica Lange).
"Tootsie" was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, and won one: for Jessica Lange as Best Supporting Actress.
But what was great, Oscar-worthy fun 40 years ago couldn’t be released today — unless, of course, Michael wanted to transition to a female.
That one would get produced, and turn out to be a monumental box office flop instead of the monumental success "Tootsie" was.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter who can often be found honing his skills at the range. Read Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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