Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lucia Why men do what they do, from 60 years ago

Good can come out of evil. After the last few days of being vilified and misrepresented by the misogynists* of A Voice for Men, in researching them I found this wonderful blog, called The Thinking Housewife. Last year she posted a review of a 1950's British movie on aviation which gave a small insight into the mind of the man who took risks of over sixty years ago.

The film, released as Decision Against Time in America and directed by Charles Crichton,  is interesting for its portrayal of the almost entirely male world of commercial aviation and for its aerial cinematography, but also for its sensitive exploration of the psychology of the male provider. Though made less than 60 years ago, this is a world in which a female commercial pilot is unimaginable.

At the beginning of the story, Mitchell realizes he is unable to afford a better house for his family and that his company faces bankruptcy if its newest freight plane doesn’t sell. Mitchell takes the plane for a test flight with a potential buyer and virtually everything goes wrong. A fire breaks out in one of the engines. The passengers bail out of the plane. Mitchell refuses to ditch the aircraft in the Irish Sea at the radioed instructions of the company president.

In a brilliant scene, Mitchell later reacts to his wife Mary’s charge that he has thoughtlessly risked his life. Mary has witnessed her husband’s harrowing flight and becomes upset and angry. She accuses him of caring for his job, not his family. The wife is played magnificently by Elizabeth Sellars. Mitchell’s response to his wife, as played by Hawkins and written by the screenwriter William Rose, is breathtaking and utterly true to life. Watch its prelude and the actual scene starting at minute 1:05 here. The actor said it was one of the best performances of his career:

“I then had a six-minute speech, which was really the justification why a man does a job – any job – which was brilliantly written by Bill Rose, one of the finest screenwriters, and a man who wrote perfectly for me. This speech attracted a lot of attention, and for an actor no feeling exceeds the satisfaction when people come up afterwards and say that the character you played was splendid, and you were the right person to play it.”

The You-Tube link is to the actual movie which is over an hour long, so don't click on it unless you are ready to watch it.

Related link: “Man in the Sky” ~ The Thinking Housewife

* Misogynist is not a word I would normally use, but given this post of that site, I feel completely justified.

3 comment(s):

I.M Fletcher said...

I watched the speech, etc. Looks good Lucia. ps, if you want to create a youtube link that will cause the video to start playing at a certain point - go to where you want it to start and pause; RIGHT click on the video itself and go to 'Copy Video URL At Current Time'.

Then you can paste the link here, and when someone clicks on it, it will start playing from that point - eg, speech starts from HERE

Lucia Maria said...

Thanks, Fletch.

I haven't watched it myself, yet. Our internet usage this month is looking like we're going to run over again, so loading it at this point was not an option for me.

Did you watch the entire movie?

I.M Fletcher said...

No, I didn't.
My internet usage ran over last month. Boy it really is a bummer to be back to dialup

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