Hollywood Dreams and Biblical Stories

By Bernard Brandon Scott | Go to book overview

1 A FLICKERING LIGHT

All life’s riddles are answered in the movies.

Steve Martin, Grand Canyon

SOMETIMES WE SEE AN ERA SHIFT RIGHT BEfore our eyes. The movie Avalon (1990) captures such a moment. The story follows four immigrant brothers and their extended family. The brothers form a kind of mutual aid society, supporting each other, bringing other members of the family over from the old country, providing loans to help start family businesses and enterprises, and finally celebrating and fighting together. On the day the family’s first television set is installed, they all gather around it and stare at the test pattern, unblinking and unspeaking. The elders think the new contraption is silly, but the younger ones are fascinated. A new age has been born. Previously, the extended family, spreading out in rings from the patriarchal grandfather through the brothers and their wives, the sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and assorted children, was the center of life. Now everything revolves around the television set. Dinner is a TV dinner, served on a TV tray. Conversation dies as people stare instead at the screen. The extended family dies with it, replaced by the nuclear family of husband, wife, and child sitting in front of the television set. The mass audience for television consists of isolated groups of two or three individuals or often just a single person.

-1-

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Hollywood Dreams and Biblical Stories
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - A Flickering Light 1
  • 2 - From Graven Image to Dream Factory 19
  • 3 - The Hero 47
  • 4 - The Duke 69
  • 5 - Morally Alone 99
  • 6 - The Poor You Have Always with You 131
  • 7 - Loss of Innocence 157
  • 8 - From the Destruction of the Temple to Mad Max 193
  • 9 - Male and Female 219
  • 10 - I’M Dreaming of a White Christmas 259
  • Scripture and Ancient Source Index 289
  • Author and Subject Index 292
  • Film Index 296
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