Sunday, December 14, 1997

Big City Dreams: Scenes Along the Road from Us to Me

Street Scene & It Should Happen To You

San Francisco Art Institute

Jerome Hiler closes 1997 with two Hollywood classics: “Films set in ‘old New York’ representing the consciousness and attitudes of successive generations. Street Scene (1931, King Vidor) takes place entirely on the front steps of a melt(down)-pot tenament of the early 1930’s. Constant racial tension and enmity are barely relieved by a few kind hearts. The only solution, unforeseen even by the Marxists, is to move to Queens. Years later in the 1950’s, McCarthyism has squelched all political dialogue and it’s safe for young hopefuls to move back to Manhattan in pursuit of fame for lack of dreams. It Should Happen To You (George Cukor, 1954) presents us with a new tool to help unravel the questions of the human dilemma: a 16mm movie camera.” (J.H.)