It is interesting to consider the impact of American cinema on our culture – indeed on the world’s culture. At times, when reading a British novel or watching a British film, I’m surprised to see allusions to certain Hollywood film stars or movies. The influence of our cinema is undeniable.
Many young people in other lands and cultures form their impressions of America and Americans from our cinematic productions. Sometimes that is positive, sometimes negative. Many poor people in Latin America, Africa, and Asia often have the impression that everyone in our country is rich. Of course, comparatively speaking, we may have an abundance of material things. But rich?
Those abroad also may get the impression that America is a very violent country. There are seemingly countless gangster movies, and shoot-em-up westerns were once a staple. As we Americans know, however, the violence is exaggerated – at least if you don’t live in Chicago’s southside. I have managed to survive 91 years and have had hundreds of family, friends and acquaintances. I know of only one person of my personal acquaintance who died or was wounded by a criminal act, and that was my boyhood chum Hugh Griffin, a state trooper, who was shot in the back while attempting to enforce the law.
Enjoy the movies, my friends, but don’t look to them for reality.