|ATOMIC AGE CLASSICS VOL. 6: LOVE & MARRIAGE
|Copyright 2008 Alpha Video (various dates for films)
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 24 January 2009
- Bob & Mary - Despite being taught about sex with kittens and textbooks, these two somehow grew up into adults who do not equate a marital booty call with the missionary position in a dark bedroom.
- Nora & Jack - They are not sure if they are in love, but, like the crabmeat in the Chinese food that will someday be eaten by their grandchildren, they are willing to pretend it is real because it's cheap.
- Larry & Sue - He is hardly a romantic, and she does not have a clue what an engineer does. Not even industrial strength rubber bands could keep these two together.
- Mr. Hall - "Marriage is like playing foosball. You're playing and playing and playing, and your little guys are flipping over and over and over, but it doesn't matter because nobody is keeping score. God, I love foosball."
- Pete & er...what's her name - Their marriage is likely to survive, despite their parents' blatant attempts to be understanding and supportive.
- Pete & Jane - Do these two have any idea what they are doing to the natural order of things?
- Father Manning - He refuses to utter the filthy word "Protestant" through the same lips that kiss the holy altar.
|I have come to love watching compilations of old educational short films. They are consolidated versions of what we all think of when someone mentions "Leave It to Beaver." Granted, some of the subjects are not as entertaining or amusing as others, but almost anything involving social development and marriage is bound to be worth a few laughs. Men always give their wives a little of their hard-earned money to go shopping, a woman's place is in the kitchen with an apron around her waist, and marrying someone of a different religion is just asking for trouble. Seeing films like this, that really reinforce what we already know about our grandparents' generation, can be just as fun as watching an Ed Wood missed masterpiece.
Another epiphany that watching classic educational films gave me is that there are words that never should have fallen out of common use. Swell, golly, canoodle, darling (as an adjective), and sore (meaning demeanor) are expressions that I would like to hear a lot more often.
Social-Sex Attitudes in Adolescents
Bob and Mary are newlyweds, and obviously well-adjusted kids whose marriage has a high chance of success. It's no accident that they turned out that way. From an early age, Mary's mother taught her about human sexuality. The pair discussed the new baby growing in mommy's tummy, and how it got there. Later, Mary was given access to books describing all of the physical attributes of the reproductive system. Bob's mom was a widow, but she arranged situations so that her son could also learn about sex. The young boy was introduced to reproduction via a cat and her kittens. "See, people are just like cats, except they don't give birth in your closet."
Something else that most people do not do is to start having very loud sex in front of the dining room window during Thanksgiving dinner. Cats are prone to those kinds of shenanigans. They do not care if you have guests from out of town. They do not care that they are brother and sister cats. They just want to make kittens (even if they will be inbred mutants). For a ten-year-old boy (me), the spectacle was far more entertaining than educational. Especially once an adult stormed outside with a broom to put an end to the feline passion.
Suffice to say, I will not be using cats to teach my children about sex.
Despite their robust early education into all things reproductive, Bob and Mary need to experience puppy love, teenage lust, and all the other things that young adults learn in high school. Mary dates a lot, and her parents worry that maybe she dates a little too frequently (and with too much variety). The hidden worry that Mary might come home with a big belly makes her mother say the girl is "being silly." Don't you just love it when things are translated into "Leave It to Beaver?" Bob does a little better. He dates a lot, but devoting himself to football and drawing naughty pictures helps the young man to control the urge to masturbate. When the two finally meet, they have matured into regular, well-adjusted individuals who are ready for more than dirty pictures and rampant canoodling.
Why can't you kids be more like Bob and Mary?
How Do You Know It's Love?
Jack and Nora think that they are in love, but going out to eat on a double date with Jack's big brother and his girlfriend shows the two kids that they do not know the first thing about mature love. Gee, wouldn't it be just swell to go out on a date like that? Where else can a boy listen to an older couple talk about the piano concert they are going to attend? Wait...I know: with his parents.
Are You Ready for Marriage?
Larry and Sue want to get married. Unfortunately, their parents think that the young adults are too young, and that they do not know enough about each other to get married. Before they run off and elope, the couple seeks the advice of Mr. Hall, marriage counselor extraordinaire. His bizarre collection of literature, graphs, and instruments is what finally convinces Larry and Sue that they need to hold off. Mr. Hall looks a little bit like H.P. Lovecraft (which makes sense; he delves into that which makes ordinary citizens go mad), and the graphs are a riot. I do have a couple of questions about why the graphs depicted the chances of fifteen-year-olds enjoying a happy marriage.
The best weapon in Mr. Hall's arsenal of nuptial killers is the oddball foosball table that helps couples estimate the amount of **BOOIIIINNNNGGGG** in their marriage (I swear, I am not making this up). You do not want to get married if you don't have enough **BOOIIIINNNNGGGG**.
I knew Larry and Sue were not ready for marriage the moment Mary told Mr. Hall how long the couple had been dating. Sue was able to calculate it down to the minute.
Marriage is a Partnership
Some of this film's comedy is due to the situation: the newlyweds live in the same house as the husband's mother. The real reason it is a hoot is that the entire story is narrated by...what's her name, Pete's wife. She never tells us her name. She tells us all about her marriage, her husband, her mother-in-law, but she never tells us her name!
The little lady is a stereotypical new bride. She is proud of her man for going to work every day to put food on the table. She likes going shopping with her mother-in-law, but gets jealous when the old widow joins the group of younger women for a bridge party. She quit her job when she got married! Why? I am sure that cleaning the house every day, cooking breakfast and dinner, packing her husband's lunches, shopping, and eating bonbons sounds like a lot, but surely the wife without a name could contribute something to the household.
Before long, Pete's mother starts to ruin the marriage. The old woman rolls up her sleeves to show the young wife the correct way to clean windows! Pete begins stopping in to visit his mother every day after work, rather than making a beeline to the kitchen to sit down and eat the meal that his anonymous wife spent all day cooking. We can also assume that any marital bliss to be had between Pete and what's-her-name has to be enjoyed in near silence (old houses have paper thin walls, and mom is right upstairs). Keeping your mother awake at night because you are trying to make kittens is not kosher. Nor is suggesting that your mom should take a walk every night at ten o'clock.
Not to worry, Pete and his wife eventually sort things out. Their love avoids burial at the Tomb of the Unknown Marriage, though I still have no idea of the little lady's name; she might as well be Mrs. Jane Doe.
Should I Marry Outside My Faith?
Pete is a nice young boy and Jane is a nice young girl, and both of them are so in love that it causes pain to anyone within ten meters. What could possibly go wrong with the marriage of two people who are so obviously meant for each other?
The hidden pitfall awaiting Pete and Jane is that their relationship is a love triangle, and Religion is the dangerous third partner. There is no way that the couple could ever be truly happy; each of them is already married to a cross-dressing, church-swapping abomination that roars bloody defiance at love's infringement upon its domain.
I do not think that differing religions is that bad, but all of the adults in "Should I Marry Outside My Faith?" portray it like a red-haired and green-eyed demon.
If I had to pick a single protagonist in the film, it would have to be the Catholic faith. Pete's discussion with Father Manning about a mixed marriage is priceless! The Catholic Church requires that the couple sign a prenuptial agreement that any of their children will be raised as Catholics! Pete has to attend Catholic appreciation and indoctrination classes, and Jane must swear an oath to do everything in her power to convert him to Catholicism! Father Manning also tells Pete that his wife, his soul mate, the woman to whom all the doors of his heart will be open, will have to keep religious secrets from her husband's unsanctified Protestant peepers. Oh, and if all that was not enough to make a man red and green with (decidedly un-St. Paddy's) feelings, Jane is barred from ever attending a service at Pete's church!
What in the holy heck? My wife and I are different faiths. She has never woken me up in the morning to ask, "Hunny, do you want to be Lutheran yet?" On the other hand, she is probably worried that starting down that dark path might make me enforce my religious roots. The last thing that my wife wants is me tearing out the phone jacks, covering up the electrical outlets, and building an outhouse in the back yard.
Yes, my father was born Amish. Why do you ask?
The only reason Pete and Jane believe that they have a snowball's chance in Hell (Catholic Hell, Baptist Hell - it's all still Hell) of making it as man and wife is another mixed religion couple. The husband, David, is Jewish, and the wife, Evelyn, is...not Jewish. Since Jane and Evelyn appear to be pals, it might be safe to assume that Evelyn is also a Catholic. In any case, the wedded religious chimera is doing just fine. Their love couldn't be stronger. Evelyn just delivered their first child: a bouncing baby boy. It is that child, and his damnable foreskin, that drives a Longinus lance through the heart of David and Evelyn's happiness. David wants a bris, but Evelyn does not. Despite all of their sacrifice and love, the Jewish/Catholic alliance goes down in mohel-fanned flames! They survived rejection by their families, and discrimination by their faiths, but a tiny thing on a tiny baby completely unravels the marriage. Imagine the horror.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Teenage girls have two kinds of phone conversations: those with boys, and those about them.
- In the old days, people wore pajamas that matched their wallpaper.
- If you want your mother to know that you love her, then do the darn dishes and other assigned chores.
- Sooner or later, every girl falls in love with the captain of the football team.
- French kissing is when you attempt to suck the girl's ear off the side of her head.
- A key ingredient of a successful marriage is **BOOIIIINNNNGGGG**!
- Marriage is like riding a train that is traveling at 1 mph.
- Women universally enjoy shopping.
- Catholic women make Catholic babies.
- A Protestant marrying a Catholic is like PETA ordering Chinese food from a restaurant that is next door to a cat euthanasia clinic.
- 1 min - Why do so many people get married in Denton?
- 11 mins - Mary seems to be more popular than a porta-potty at Woodstock, and she might be less sanitary.
- 22 mins - And if you do, what does that have to do with anything?
- 30 mins - Too much of that will give you a yeast infection.
- 35 mins - "Pull out of what?"
- 44 mins - The chance of a happy marriage goes down if you are engaged for more than three years.
- 57 mins - "Your expertise in the bedroom is only exceeded by your artistry in the kitchen, my dear!"
- 85 mins - Protestant interior design is easily recognized by its distinct Easter egg and Jesus themes.
- Ending Credits - I am going to order some Chinese takeout, right now. God, I am hungry.
- Jack's Older Brother: "You young punks go to the movies a couple of times, do a little necking, and you think you're in love!"
- Larry: "We'll go down to Greenville. There's a Justice of the Peace down there. We'll elope, honey!"
Sue: "But Larry, I wanted a church wedding, and all the parties and showers for me, too."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Mary's Mother: "Alan, I'm worried about her. She's getting so silly over the boys. You should hear her on the phone." |
Mary's Father: "I have, but what worries me even more is the way she goes out dancing at these juke joints. She's got nothing in her head but boys, boys, boys!"
||Sue: "But I don't want to marry a girl like me. I want to marry a man like him." |
Larry: "So, even though we're close together here, we don't know how far apart we are there."
Mr. Hall: "That's right. When you two met there was probably an early physical reaction - a romantic attraction that pulled you together. A love appeal that hit you sort of - **BOOIIIINNNNGGGG**!"
Larry: "How did you know?"
||Mrs. Jane Doe: "That first Monday morning I was so proud of my man, going out to earn a living for us, and Pete was so proud of me cooking our first married meal. Then suddenly, it was time for Pete to go to work. He said he didn't want to go, but he was a responsible married man now."
||David: "Now look, Evelyn, I've given into you on everything religious. For all practical purposes I've lived my life as if I weren't a Jew, but this ceremony with my firstborn son...it's steeped - it's part of my roots. Can't you understand?" |
Evelyn: "The only thing I can understand is, if we start out with this Jewish ceremony for our son, it's the beginning of something...something between us."
David: "Maybe the wall is already there, and we just haven't admitted it. Huh?"
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Father Manning tells it plain to Pete. He cannot reign over Jane, unless he signs his name. Otherwise, the big bad sin is going to get them both.
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