Prevailing Despite Physical & Mental Adversity

The physically and mentally deformed did not fit well into Hitler’s ideals for a master race in Nazi Germany. Although most other countries did not adopt genocide as their fate, the “freaks” of the world were often condemned to live as outcasts. I offer two films, in which I will exalt diversity; with a wish for everyone to gain compassion, awareness and understanding.

Freaks was released in 1932. The previous year Tod Browning had directed his smash hit Dracula with Bela Lugosi portraying the vampire role. Riding on that wave of success must have allowed Browning to make a film so daring. Freaks is a story set in a circus sideshow, which was the sad fate of so many people who were born “different” in that era. Tod Browning approaches the project with great love and admiration for his characters, which were represented by the actual “human oddities” themselves. The film was ill received at the time, and practically ruined Browning’s career afterward. It was not till many years later that the film was unearthed and heralded by many as the masterpiece it is.

Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast was released in 1946 after World War II. The film is based on the classic fairy tale. In it a human-like beast lives a life of solitude in his magical castle. He is well aware that he would be feared, and therefore hated by people, if they knew of his existence. Belle, who chooses to live with the Beast to save her father’s life, is at first repulsed by the creature. She later gains admiration and understanding for the Beast. In the end, when he is transformed into a dashing prince (who is reminiscent of a previous admirer) she is rightly disappointed. The film is both magical and poetic. This lyrical masterpiece was offered when the world was in much need of healing. It remains a timeless beauty in and of itself.

Until next time, I hope you have a great viewing experience. Comments are welcomed at livingroomcinema@yahoo.com.


About the Author

Norbert made Murfreesboro, Tenn., his home in 1997. He conceived the Living Room Cinema column in 2006, and submits them regularly to the Murfreesboro Pulse. Aside from his love of films, Norbert is also an avid photographer. He is the very proud father of two, he beats on an old guitar, and plays a dicey game of Chess at best. Like Living Room Cinema at facebook.com/livingroomcinema.

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