Back in 1951, MGM released a fine sequel to the successful Father of the Bride, a motion picture starring Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor, and Joan Bennett; calling it Father’s Little Dividend… a reference to the pregnancy of Taylor’s character. Executive producer Dore Schary presumed that the intelligent metaphor would be ultimately appreciated by movie audiences.
A few years back, I was quite disappointed by Touchstone Pictures’ decision to followup their 1990′s remake of Father of the Bride with Father of the Bride Part II. My reasoning was simple. In the latter sequel, Steve Martin’s character dealt with his daughter’s impending motherhood; not a second wedding. The motion picture was mis-titled in a shameful marketing ploy!
In 2011, Steven Spielberg practiced a similar ruse. In the just-released animated film, The Adventures of Tin Tin (pronounced Tah-Tah), our gallant hero has a fox-terrier named Milou, popularized in Belgian comic books, and created by Georges Remi in the 1920s. Inexplicably, Spielberg translated the name of the furry white canine to Snowy to relate to American movie-goers.
My concerns have more to do with the chance to teach our youngsters another language, than with obvious decisions to reach the public with sure-fire strategies. Provincial marketing of a cute pooch named Snowy should induce monetary dividends at the expense of education, and life-lessons from cosmopolitan attitudes outside the United States. Neither examples of studio decision-making are earth-shattering issues facing our nation. In the final analysis, our society is a little bit worse from these kinds of choices. The dumbing down of consumers does not help us on a global-economic level, and keeps us isolated from our world’s beauty. Plus, I simply believe in the potential classroom qualities provided by the cinematic experience.
This is my humble opinion… Now, I’m waiting for Tin Tin and Milou to help me off my soapbox!
Until next time> “never forget”