Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Commies! Fires! Librarian in trouble!!

Not me, as I'm just a faux-librarian (I'm like Anias Nin's Spy in the house of love, which makes things sound way sexier than they are), but Bette Davis! A few weeks ago, I saw a movie I'd wanted to see for some time, Storm Center (1956), one of the few Hollywood movies with a librarian at the center of the plot. I've posted a full summary and review here, but thought I'd post a briefer version below:

Maiden lady librarian Bette Davis (not nearly as kicky as Marion in The Music Man) is attacked by her small town's city council for not removing a book on communism from the shelves. She sticks to her guns, loses the friendship of the town children she loves so much, and is eventually forcibly removed as head librarian. One of the disillusioned kids starts a fire in the library, bringing things to a head. The idea of a movie about libraries and the First Amendment is an interesting one, but it's not really an inherently exciting topic, and this movie's script is muddled, the performances are all over the map (Davis underacts, the firebug kid is good, and his father overacts like he's practicing to play Stanley in a community theater production of Streetcar Named Desire), and the film looks like a TV-movie. Maybe I'll work on a screenplay that will tear off the lid on today's seething libraries: patrons who urinate where they please, naked pictures of Zac Efron or Lindsay Lohan that pop up uncalled-for on computer screens, dejected job seekers who want us to make their resume "pretty." Can we handle the truth?

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