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The Male Animal
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come_to_think
Something reminded me of Thurber & Nugent's play (1940), which I saw a long time ago, and the movie made from it (1945), which I saw a few years ago; so I bought the latter.  It is part comedy (male vanity), part satire (academia), part farce, and part propaganda (academic freedom).  The movie was not as funny as I remembered the play being. A professor gets in trouble with the trustees because it becomes known that he means to read a passage by Bartolomeo Vanzetti to his class; also, his wife is going to run off with a football player. There is a charming drunk scene.

The football crowds are meant to suggest Hitler's rallies, which would have been familiar to audiences at the time.  (I googled this, and it seems that Hitler had in fact been inspired partly by US football rallies.)  Thus, when the callow radical student calls the trustees fascists, it is not all in fun.  Of course, the immensely viler use that Hitler made of his shouting crowds only goes to show, as many things do, that there are no world-class sons of bitches in the United States.  (The French, it seems, have a similar tradition of hypnotic crowd chants, but they do them in the streets without a leader.  Maurice Samuel, somewhere, recollects, from 1914: "A Ber-lin! Tous! Tous!" & "C'est l'Al-sace qu'il nous fait! C'est l'Alsace et la Lorraine!" & "Con-spu-ez Guil-laume!".  My father, in the early 1920s, heard, appositely, "Sac-co! Van-zet-ti!".  And in my lifetime I read about "Al-ge-rie Fran-caise!" & "O-S-S as-sas-sins!".)  We did, of course, have lynch mobs, but they did not chant or sing.

My minuscule acquaintance with the cinema nevertheless affords two comedies that are similar in their mixture of farce & cruelty with a stirring speech toward the end: 'The Great Dictator and Revenge of the Nerds.

A stop on the Orange Line on my way to & from Boston is Community College, which (a Duck Tour guide once told us) is on the site of the prison where Sacco & Vanzetti were executed in 1927.


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Oh, and I forgot to mention "Chien-lit, c'est lui!".

Oh, and that should be "qu'il nous faut".

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