Tuesday, April 17, 2018

USA in the 1950s

A soupçon of synchronicity was experienced at the weekend. On Saturday I was led, via a link at naked capitalism, to some photographs:
20+ Rarely Seen Photos Of America In The 1950’s Show How Different Life Was Before

Monika Brazaitytė wrote:
"The 1950’s are often viewed as a golden era in U.S. history, a time of happiness and prosperity, despite the threat of nuclear annihilation, racial segregation and the looming Cold War.

While most photos from the time are in black and white, color photography was still a relative novelty at the time and the film was quite expensive for regular people, the photos below are in glorious color. This means that they are more relatable, and makes the period feel closer to us than ever.

Many of the photos were collected by Denis Fraevich, a New Yorker of Russian descent who loves to bring the era back to life. “The pictures were found at auctions, flea markets and yards, digitized and posted on the Internet,” he told Bored Panda........"

An interesting collection of photos!

Later the same day we decided to rent a handful of DVDs for weekend viewing. One of my choices, watched the same evening, was picked purely due to director and cast members: Suburbicon. The movie, directed by George Clooney, was originally a Coen Brothers vehicle from the 1980s, but was shelved until Clooney came along, re-wrote parts of it and took over direction. Matt Damon and Julianne Moore have starring roles. How bad could this be?

It was, in fact, pretty bad! Synchronicity? Well the story is set in much the same era as depicted by those photographs I'd looked at just hours before. In fact it was almost as though some of those photographs were coming to life before my eyes.

Suburbicon is a mess of a movie, although it did hold our interest. The storyline didn't go where we initially thought it was going, there were continual deviations along with a fumbled attempt to weave two separate themes together.

The ultimate message, for viewers who managed to stay with the film to the end, was that back in the 1950s, racial hatred in the USA was so intense that it could blind the seriously prejudiced to such an extent that pure evil, going on right under their noses, was able to pass, almost without notice.

After watching Suburbicon, those photographs mentioned at the top of the post didn't seem at all "Golden Age-ish". The 1950s, in the USA anyway, had distinctly creepy underpinnings!


Wisewebwoman said...

That movie must have slipped below my grateful radar. I'm trying to remember the name of a better 50s movie and it's just at the tip of mind......

How we love to tint a golden light on yesterdays. Not me. I remember the fierce repression and fear in the Ireland I grew up in and am so very glad those days are truly gone.


Wisewebwoman said...

here it is:


Loved it.


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ I was glad to get out of the 1950s and 60s and into the 1970s.

Ah "Revolutionary Road" - yes we did see it when it first came out some years ago. I don't remember much about it now, but I've been threatening to see it again via Netflix. I'll do that!

The movie "Suburbicon" brought to mind for me was "Pleasantville".