It’s one of the oldest plots: to grab the gold, you must renounce love. Here is a sprinkling of morality tales on film.
If you pick up the box that landed on your doorstep, open the button unit and push the button, you will receive one million dollars (tax free, and at early 1970s values in real terms) but at the precise moment of pushing the button, somewhere, someone you don’t know will be killed. Woo Hoo! Give us that box! Many might not believe in the veracity of this bizarre offer but when a gentleman like the one played by Frank Langella (below) arrives to put it, many might.
In this dark little film, there is a moral choice, a decision is made, and consequences ensue, as they always seem to do.
A Simple Plan
Three hicks stumble on a stack of stolen cash and decide to keep mum about it. But what if one of their group wants to start spending the cash? It goes all Goodfellas.
Sometimes we need life to come crashing in to remind us of life’s possibilities; to chip away at our selfish veneers. And sometimes that important message comes from an evil clown.
Lawyers mustn’t shop their clients because they owe them a legal and moral duty: also, a betrayed client might return to complain (with extreme prejudice).
Journalists can and will exploit tragedy but they shouldn’t go meddling in order to sex-up the story.
Cheating (in order to show an erudition one could otherwise get by effort) is one cut-corner too many.
Two wrongs don’t make a right.
“To do a right, do a little wrong.”
“You can’t repeat the Past”
To Kill a Mockingbird; Twelve Angry Men
“Prejudice always obscures the truth.”
Although Hugo initially survives the tenant interview and takes up residence in a swish Edinburgh flat, his legacy of a suitcase full of cash does his flatmates no favours…all that money, with a dubious provenance…’tell me you don’t want any of it…?’ Two flatmates go on a Goodfellas spending spree and the glum one turns into Fafner from The Ring.
A Shock to the System
War is diplomacy by other means. Litigation is business by other means. Murder is advancement by other means and in this war of nerves and morals, Michael Caine decides that he will kick against the pricks. . ‘Bob wasn’t my superior, he was my boss…Bibbity bobbity..boom.’
A Place in the Sun
P (being one of the idle poor) likes this film about the idle rich. Know your place! Finish the old romance before being on with the new! (And by finish, we don’t mean tip her out of the boat and help her under with an oar). The subtext here, in this classic book and film, is class, i.e. knowing one’s place in the world. Class is a lethal instrument (see below).