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MCCORMICK'S QUICK TAKES ON VOYEURISM, CONSUMERISM, MILITARISM, AND RACISM.

Rear Window (Paramount, 1954). Four decades before Jerry Springer, Jimmy Stewart played the original couch potato turned voyeur in an edgy thriller about the dark pleasures of prying into other people's private lives.

On the surface, Hitchcock has created yet another slick tale about a likeable innocent stumbling into a deadly game of cat and mouse, with Stewart as a convalescing photographer watching his neighbors for entertainment and Raymond Burr as a homicidal husband who would have preferred a little more privacy.

Underneath, however, the master of suspense has fashioned a more disturbing psychological drama, suggesting that Stewart is something of an emotional cripple, and that our shared appetites for gossip may be more dangerous than we think.****

Citizen Kane (RKO, 1941). Arguably the best film ever made, Orson Welles' classic American tragedy follows the rise and fall of Charles Foster Kane, newspaper baron, politician, multimillionaire, and little boy lost.

Replete with newsreels and interviews, this fictional biopic takes a long and not-so-loving look at a life filled to the rafters with everything money could

buy, but empty of anything worth having.

More than John Huston's The Treasure of Sierra Madre or Oliver Stone's Wall Street this is the American parable about our insatiable appetite to have more and more, and about the ultimate folly of this addiction. "Rosebud" doesn't answer our questions about the meaning of Kane's life, but it does show us that he had lost his way a long time ago.****

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Columbia, 1964). Peter was never better than in Stanley Kubrick's dark satire of the Cold War, nor were sterling Hayden or Slim Pickens.

In the blistering anti-war comedy that dwarfs even M*A*S*H* and Catch 22, Hayden is a general who unleashes America's nuclear arsenal and Pickens is a major who rides a bucking bomb into oblivion.

But it is Sellers' triple performance as Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake, President Merkin Muffley, and the inimitable ex-Nazi rocket scientist Dr. Strangelove that provides the centerpiece for this scathingly funny swipe at the insane logic of nuclear deterrence and the ultimate folly of militarism.****

Once Upon A lime When We Were Colored (Republic, 1996). Director Tim Reid's understated film about racism traces the life and transformation of a small African American community in the rural South.

Recounted from the perspective of a young boy who grows up in "Colored Town" in the decades before the civil rights movement, this is a tale about a vibrant and supportive community of women and men whose lives and hopes have been constrained but not defeated by segregation, and who somehow manage to impart a sense of dignity and humanity to their children and grandchildren.

It is also the tale of small and daily ads of grace and courage in the face of America's apartheid, and of the crisis that ultimately leads people to confront and defeat the structures of bigotry.*** 1/2
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Title Annotation:Review
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Movie Review
Date:Mar 1, 2001
Words:494
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