Wealth on Screen

Ann Hornaday has written up an essay describing how wealth in America is pictured in recent movies. She notes that, in contrast to the Great Depression, films are more somber now.

“When I grew up, on a day like today, when it was 100 degrees out, you go into a dark movie theater and Fred Astaire is drinking champagne and calling some beautiful girl on a white telephone — you’re transported instantly into a life,” Allen told me earlier this summer. “You get a very refreshed feeling from that. It’s like drinking lemonade. You can go on for another couple of hours or another day or two, having had a breather in a cool movie theater with something nice. Then reality slowly starts creeping in again, and you realize how grim things are.”

There’s this bit I thought was confused:

If the upper class is given a frank but fair shake in “The Queen of Versailles,”

Wealthy, sure. But upper class? The couple is also described as “nouveau riche” and the wife as having a “typical middle class” childhood. In adjectives, at least, class mobility is alive and well. It would be nice to see the terms used more precisely if they’re to have discernible meaning.

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