Monday, February 21, 2011

Home away from home

The 2008 historical thriller Valkyrie, depicts the plot by German officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler in an emergency maneuver to take control of the country. The cast of seasoned actors features Tom Cruise, Tom Wilkinson, Terence Stamp and Kenneth Branagh. Mysteriously, Cruise portrays German Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg with an American accent, while the others speak British English. There is tension, and a perfectly menacing Hitler, but Valkyrie is unable to transport the audience to WWII Germany.

So many American films venture into exotic landscapes, introducing characters very different from us. Impressive work went into the details of the sets, costumes and locations. Despite that colorful surface, the familiar sound of American language assures we never really leave home.

Meeting cute as workers in a Budapest store;
Margaret Sullavan is Klara Novak, James Stewart is Alfred Kralik in
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

Meeting cute in the mountains of Mongolia;
Susan Hayward as Bortai, daughter of a Tartar leader,
John Wayne as Genghis Khan, Mongol chief and Barbarian.
The Conqueror (1956)

Meeting cute on a Parisian street;
Shirley MacLaine as prostitute Irma La Douce, Jack Lemmon as policeman Nestor Patou in
Irma La Douce (1963)

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