11 June 2008 | SnorriGodhi
TV Movie with a Message
This movie is about the confrontation between a waitress (Raquel Welch) and a high-school history teacher: the waitress is not happy with the teacher instilling antisemitic conspiracy theories into the mind of her daughter (and the minds of her classmates). The final scene is in court, but much of the drama comes from the fact that popular opinion is more favorable to high-school teachers than to waitresses; and, in a small town, it is not good to have popular opinion against you.
It is easy to see that this movie was made for TV. The plot is not too bad, but the acting is less than impressive. Given these limitations, it might seem extravagant to compare this movie to High Noon, but some of the themes are there: a small town, a woman with a reputation for easy morals, and a person who stands for what is right even when everybody else wants to keep it quiet. The fact that it is the woman of easy morals who stands for what is right, is an interesting twist.
However, the main point of interest for me were the classroom scenes. It was fascinating to see how the teacher cajoles the students to look at history the way he sees it (that is, as the unfolding of a vast Jewish conspiracy). What really stuck in my mind was the teacher saying that history is about discovering patterns. In a sense, he was right: without looking for patterns, history is just one fact after another. And yet, we can find any pattern we like in history; that is to say, we can use history to justify any prejudice that we have. This is a dilemma that will keep me thinking, and that is more than I normally expect from a TV movie.