Originally Posted by Emily
here are two films that confirm what we all know in our hearts -- that the values of the past are much preferable to those of the present, and that it would be wonderful if we could revive traditional, Old World culture in our own day and age.
Thank you for providing such wonderful film suggestions. Just think, for a moment, about much more beautiful the world of the past was to the one in which we live--not only in the "high art" of the time, but even in much-derided "commercial culture."
The following is a page from a wildly popular Coca-Cola calendar from 1901, showing the company's first-ever identifiable model, the singer and actress Hilda Clark. Clark was the only genuine rival to Lillian Russell as the most gorgeous woman of the age, and her look, as you can see, was very similar to Lillian's. (This is hardly surprising, as the turn of the century was still a time when the Classical ideal was recognized and prized as the epitome of beauty.)
The title of this image is Hilda Clark with the Roses.
Observe how soft and full Miss Clark's facial features appear. She clearly was a very well-fed beauty. But she was also universally praised for her attractiveness. Her blonde tresses are luxuriant, her expression gentle and soothing, her peaches-and-cream complexion dazzling, and her outfit is opulent and feminine. Even the setting, with the lovely model surrounded by roses, is gorgeous. This image resembles a work of art more than an advertisement. Were it not for the logo, it could easily pass for an Angelo Asti painting.
Think about the kind of glorious world it was, when beauty such as this surrounded one everywhere one went; where even an ad, even a calendar, featured full-figured womanhood.
Is it really our commercial culture that is the problem today? Or rather, is it the degenerate modern turn that the culture has taken? If all of the magazines on our newsstands, and all of the billboards around us, and all of the films in the theatres, featured models such as Miss Clark--i.e., plus-size models--and dressed them elegantly rather than in next to nothing, and depicted them in a feminine manner, in lovely settings, consider how much more agreeable our world would be. Women would be at peace with their bodies and appetites, rather than starving themselves into androgyny. And stepping out into society would mean stepping into a happier, healthier existence.
The films that Emily mentions have the lead female characters (played by Alicia Silverstone and Meg Ryan) symbolically standing in for the general public today, a public that can choose between the values of the past and the values of the present, and that, as the ladies in the films do, will hopefully embrace the nobler morals and ideals of a century ago--ideals that can be imported into the present, to enrich the contemporary world.
The movies also offer excellent advice on a personal level. Many women, individually, are faced with a choice in their lives between traditional men and modern chaps, and these films break a lance on behalf of the old-fashioned guys--as does the Twilight series.
Let us hope that more than a few viewers heed the films' messages, both from a philosophical and personal standpoint.