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In one of the many great lines from Mel Brooks’ magnum opus “The Producers,” the airheaded director tells would-be producers Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder that the whole third act of the one-night flop “Springtime for Hitler” “has GOT to go…they’re losing the war!”
That line is a little less funny when one of my sons returned from a special screening of the Christopher Nolan film Dunkirk telling me that one of the movie goers asked him just “What was this movie about?”
Adult - Children - Everybody - Dunkirk - Papers
Contrary to what my adult children believe, I was not born when everybody knew about Dunkirk because it was in the daily papers. And although the ravages of World War II were well before my time, growing up in a large extended family, with uncles and cousins who had fought in the war, gave me a special perspective. I cut my teeth as a chronicler of popular culture (meaning I watched entirely too much television as a kid), at a time when the television beast was fed by countless old war movies. We couldn’t get enough of them. To be sure, many of these movies were propaganda films made to make the home front feel better, but they were also tailor-made for a young boy growing up in the 1960s, where war was abstract enough a concept to still be considered an adventure and not a cavalcade of horror.
All my kids have, to one degree or another, inherited my movie buff and history geek gene, to the extent that my son rolled his eyes at the person in their mid-forties who had no idea what the fuss about Dunkirk was all about—just another misplaced person in a world where information travels at the speed of light and facts at the speed of the Pony Express. I may not have...
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