Monday, 7 July 2008

Hollywood strikes again.
















1) Hancock - the bad guy in the film played by English actor Eddie Marsan. Film also features a 'funny' nasty scene of child abuse where a blonde , blue eyed young child, a french child, is violently thrown into the air by the 'hero' hancock.


2) Wanted - villain played by Terence Stamp english actor


4) Get Smart - villain played by english actor Terence Stamp (again)


5) Kung Fu Panda - the evil tiger villain voiced by English actor Ian McShane


6)The Incredible Hulk - the villain played by Tim Roth english actor


7) Indiana Jones and the Crystal skull - villains played by English actor Ray Winstone and Cate Blanchett



Not a bad total - of the top 10 movies in the US 6 of those films use English actors to portray the villains or have the villains as english.

But hey, this isnt typecasting or stereotyping is it.

I wonder if these actors ever wonder what the effect on young english people is when they make their careers out of playing constant parts that denigrate the english.

I suppose the money is good and they dont care.










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10 comments:

bob hoskins said...

What about nationalisms greatest ever embarrassing nut-job played by Lee Barnes?

alanorei said...

Let's turn this on its head. (I think I've mentioned this once before.)

Apart from 14K Triads, Fu Manchu and a few other assorted Oriental villains etc., white Caucasian males and females make the best villains* because they are racially superior at this.

*Leader villains that is, anyone can be a hanger-on who takes orders.

It is a tragedy of course when these individuals go over to the dark side (note, even Star Wars couldn't avoid using this 'racist' term for evil, even though in that movie, Darth Vader's helpers were likewise all whites with English accents. But that which is dark and black is always used to denote evil, e.g. 'the guy in the black hat,' it's hard-wired into our psyche, not even Hellishwood will ever change the perception to white and light for that purpose).

But it's tough to be a 'good' bad guy (or girl). It takes ability. The average BME member just doesn't cut it. Can you imagine Lenny Henry in Cate Blachett's role in IJ4? The audience would split its collective sides.

Also, if a slinky 'bad' gal gets 'turned,' it makes for greater love interest if she's Caucasian (because BME members aren't generally leading heroes either, mainly sidekicks). This device is used - e.g. Joanne Whalley-Val Kilmer in the fantasy movie Willow (though it was a good few years ago) and some Bond girls.

It's a variation on the classic 'femme fatale' role. Apart from a few exceptions like Halle Berry (mixed race), BME females again don't usually cut it in this role* (I can only remember one black Bond girl and a couple of Oriental ones).

*Which is why virtually all tabloid pics and lingerie models are white Caucasians, with only the token BME specimen (usually a mulatto, for obvious reasons and most Asians would be too short if photographed next to a white English/American female).

So look upon it as a kind of back-handed compliment, mate.

Note that Mel Phillips has given you some stick again, if you haven't already seen it.

lormarie said...

Let's turn this on its head. (I think I've mentioned this once before.)

Apart from 14K Triads, Fu Manchu and a few other assorted Oriental villains etc., white Caucasian males and females make the best villains* because they are racially superior at this.--Alanorei

This is not the issue. The US media (including Hollywood) shows that American whites are morally superior to whites from Europe and elsewhere. Just watch any good guy/bad guy movie along with CNN, MSNBC, Fox and you will see what I'm talking about. I should add, that the movies with white villains don't often portray Scandinavians, Spanish, or French villains. They are almost always English...again, against the heroic white American guy or girl. So your angst is a bit misplaced.

alanorei said...

Re: "I should add, that the movies with white villains don't often portray Scandinavians, Spanish, or French villains. They are almost always English...again, against the heroic white American guy or girl. So your angst is a bit misplaced.
"


Not 'angst' but observations (and not misplaced), in support of Lee's main comment. Scandinavians, Spanish or French villains are rare because the French and Spanish would only feature in rare period dramas, e.g. the 1940s epic Captain Blood, with Errol Flynn as a vintage example. Other than that, many US citizens are descended from Scandanavian immigrants so it would not be 'pc' to use this breed of villain (I can't readily think of any historical precedent anyway). The French helped the US in the War of Independence and many US citizens are from Hispanic backgrounds, so again the pc constraint applies.

The English fought against the Americans in the above war and in the War of 1812, so to see them as villains in Hollywood is not surprising.

Nor is it surprising to see Americans in heroic roles. Hollywood is in the US. What would you expect? And what would you typically expect from, say, an English movie made at Pinewood Studios, as they used to be? Heroic Germans or Japanese?

But I suggest that Hollywood has traditionally used southern Europeans as much as English (even though many Americans are of Italian descent), as villains in gangster movies, e.g. The Untouchables with Kevin Costner and The Godfather about the Mafia. Moreover, Hollywood has frequently portrayed English or British-born actors and/or characters in a positive light, e.g. Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in the classic Sherlock Holmes series, Leslie Howard (murdered by the Luftwaffe in 1943), Richard E. Grant (English parents), Roger Moore (Bond #2), Michael Caine, Sir Kenneth Moore, Sir Anthony Steele, Richard Burton etc.

I suggest therefore that the archetypal English gentleman stoic is at least as much a feature of Hollywood productions as the English villain, so at worst, it's really a case of 6 and 2 3's.

In any event, your comment really reinforces my point to the limited extent that it is valid, i.e. at the end of the day, posh English villains, e.g. Professor Moriarty (Anthony Andrews) and The Wicked Lady (Margaret Lookwood) are arguably the most superior, superior to blacks, Asians and most other whites.

Thus, the analogy to a back-handed compliment still applies.

P.S. Cate Blanchett was also Queen Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings series. She was a less honourable character in Shipping Forecast but then she also played Elizabeth 1st, which is about as good as female characters get, i.e. 6 and 2 3's again.

lormarie said...

"Not 'angst' but observations (and not misplaced), in support of Lee's main comment. Scandinavians, Spanish or French villains are rare because the French and Spanish would only feature in rare period dramas, e.g. the 1940s epic Captain Blood, with Errol Flynn as a vintage example. Other than that, many US citizens are descended from Scandanavian immigrants so it would not be 'pc' to use this breed of villain (I can't readily think of any historical precedent anyway). The French helped the US in the War of Independence and many US citizens are from Hispanic backgrounds, so again the pc constraint applies."--AlanOrei

Actually, many white US citizens are descendants of the English. I don't think they are a minority. There are still some who believe that England is the mother country of the US. After all, there are plenty of US cities with the same names as those in England. Still, many of the TV/movie villains are English. There is a lot of Scandinavian blood in the Midwest, though. In a nutshell, my observations tell a different story.

"But I suggest that Hollywood has traditionally used southern Europeans as much as English (even though many Americans are of Italian descent), as villains in gangster movies, e.g. The Untouchables with Kevin Costner and The Godfather about the Mafia. Moreover, Hollywood has frequently portrayed English or British-born actors and/or characters in a positive light, e.g. Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in the classic Sherlock Holmes series, Leslie Howard (murdered by the Luftwaffe in 1943), Richard E. Grant (English parents), Roger Moore (Bond #2), Michael Caine, Sir Kenneth Moore, Sir Anthony Steele, Richard Burton etc. –AlanOrei

The gangster movies featuring Italians had legitimate social realities. It just so happened that the mafia at a certain period of time was largely Italian. Those films you mentioned reflected that. The villainous English characters have no social relevance in the same way that the Italian characters did. The English are just convenient to use as villains. Why?

"I suggest therefore that the archetypal English gentleman stoic is at least as much a feature of Hollywood productions as the English villain, so at worst, it's really a case of 6 and 2 3's."—AlanOrei

I don’t think there is a balance between the proper English gentleman and the English villain. "All" of the good guys are American and many the bad guys are "the others." My only question is if that image really hurts English identity as a whole. I would say no. Then again, I’m not English so I wouldn’t know.

"In any event, your comment really reinforces my point to the limited extent that it is valid, i.e. at the end of the day, posh English villains, e.g. Professor Moriarty (Anthony Andrews) and The Wicked Lady (Margaret Lookwood) are arguably the most superior, superior to blacks, Asians and most other whites.

Thus, the analogy to a back-handed compliment still applies."—AlanOrei

I’ll have to disagree that my comment reinforces your argument. You are using your subjective point of view to make an objective point but that’s another post. I’d have to say, it is not an issue of superiority or marketability, but rather what the media can get away with. Hollywood can constantly make villains out of the English because there won’t be any complaints. That is not the case with the other groups you mentioned.

alanorei said...

"In a nutshell, my observations tell a different story."

Difficult to see why.

"The English are just convenient to use as villains. Why?
"


Because the racial reality is that they make better i.e. more sinister, villains, which was my original point. See also comments at the end.

Note also that in films about the War of Independence (rarer of course than gangster movies), like The Patriot, the English did have a 'social reality.'

"I don’t think there is a balance between the proper English gentleman and the English villain. "All" of the good guys are American and many the bad guys are "the others.""

I didn't mean to imply H'wood was intentionally trying to strike a balance, simply that both types were prevalent in films. Again, re: American 'good guys,' H'wood is in the US. I refer again to the point about Pinewood.

Many nationalities feature as criminals in H'wood but the Americans regularly use their own kind as villains, e.g. Tommy Lee Jones in Under Siege, John Travolta in Broken Arrow, the ring leader in Die Hard 2, whose name I forget and of course Richard Chamberlain in The Towering Inferno, so your generalisation is risky.

"You are using your subjective point of view to make an objective point but that’s another post."

I'm actually drawing an inference based on a sample of fairly well-known movies. Certainly the sample could be greater but practical limitations of time etc. apply.

I have at least provided some specific illustrations.

"Hollywood can constantly make villains out of the English because there won’t be any complaints. That is not the case with the other groups you mentioned.
"


Which comes back to what I said about pc-ness. But reasons why the English make 'good' bad guys include:

Sinister intellectualism: Professor Moriarty

Affected superiority and ruthlessness: the ring leader in Cliff Hanger

'Least Expected' insiders, i.e. posing as 'gentlemen': Hugh Fraser in one of the Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) movies.

i.e. script writers can get a lot of mileage out of an English-type villain. The fact that the English don't complain could also be taken as evidence of a greater, i.e. superior, level of maturity.

Also the English use the English as villains just like the Americans do their own kind. The 39 Steps is a good example, likewise again, Margaret Lockwood in The Wicked Lady and Oliver Reed as Bill Sykes in Oliver.

Once again, these were 'big league' villains who would be difficult for other races to match.

And once again, this is an observation, which is quite independent of any subjectivity on my part.

lormarie said...

"Many nationalities feature as criminals in H'wood but the Americans regularly use their own kind as villains, e.g. Tommy Lee Jones in Under Siege, John Travolta in Broken Arrow, the ring leader in Die Hard 2, whose name I forget and of course Richard Chamberlain in The Towering Inferno, so your generalisation is risky."--AlanOrei

Not risky at all. Here is what I said:

"All" of the good guys are American and many the bad guys are "the others."

I didn't say that Americans never play bad guys. I said that Americans almost always play the good guy but many of the bad guys are foreign. An English, Russian, or Arab villain is not rare in American movies or TV.

"Which comes back to what I said about pc-ness. But reasons why the English make 'good' bad guys include:

Sinister intellectualism: Professor Moriarty

Affected superiority and ruthlessness: the ring leader in Cliff Hanger

'Least Expected' insiders, i.e. posing as 'gentlemen': Hugh Fraser in one of the Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) movies."--AlanOrei

This is where the issue of subjectivity comes in. I'd consider what the viewer may be thinking when they watch those movies. When I watch villains, the foreign ones appear much more frightening to me. This has nothing to do with them being more superior, but everything to do with the lack of familiarity "with their type."

Besides, this doesn't just go for movies, but music as well. Just about every popular musician sings with an American accent...even if he/she is English. So the superiority claim, (while understandable since you are who you are) is subjective.

"The fact that the English don't complain could also be taken as evidence of a greater, i.e. superior, level of maturity."AlanOrei

I disagree. The fact that they don't complain is evidence that this image does not have a negative impact on the English...as least not in the white western world.

alanorei said...

"An English, Russian, or Arab villain is not rare in American movies or TV."

Nor are Americans, as I have indicated with various examples. These increase appreciably if you include TV. Suave and/or tough, white Causcasian Americans are repeatedly cast in these roles, e.g. in Walker, Texas Ranger. The same was true of X-Files.

"
This is where the issue of subjectivity comes in. I'd consider what the
viewer may be thinking when they watch those movies."


Simply a matter of opinion. It doesn't alter the nationaiity of the villain and the type of evil they bring to the plot - as I described.

"Just about
every popular musician sings with an American accent...even if he/she
is English. "


Popular singers sing with Afro American accents, not American accents as such and have done since about 1950, even before rock emerged on the scene.

As American promoter Sam Phillips said, "If I could find a white man who could sing like a black*, I'd make a fortune."

*The 'n' word was used in the original.

He did. The white man's name was Elvis Presley. But this is a genuinely separate topic.

"I disagree. The fact that they don't complain is evidence that this
image does not have a negative impact on the English...as least not in
the white western world."


Again, a matter of opinion, which could be explained by greater levels of maturity. You don't provide an explanation. You simply state that such 'negative impacts' are not expressed openly. But they are in other ways. See comment on Prince Caspian below.

However, this exchange is getting unnecessarily convoluted.

My original point was essentially in agreement with Lee's, but I added the qualification, with examples, that white Englishmen (and even women) make exceptionally good bad characters.

This point you have not disproved. Nor have you refuted any of the examples given. You simply advanced your own opinions, unsubstantiated but which you're obviously entitled to, nevertheless.

The main significance (for this blog, I suggest) is whether H'wood is engaged in a racist, anti-English vendetta to help discredit and even destroy Englishness worldwide*. It probably is, for the reasons Lee cites and as far as possible, English viewers therefore should probably boycott such productions.

That, I believe, is the central issue.

*The recent release of Prince Caspian has received poor reviews in this country in part because the principal characters have American accents. Certainly that kind of casting has 'a negative impact' in England.

LorMarie said...

However, this exchange is getting unnecessarily convoluted.--AlanOrei

This whole exchange was likely convoluted from the beginning. When one attempts to present opinions as facts that should be embraced by all, that's what happens.

"The main significance (for this blog, I suggest) is whether H'wood is engaged in a racist, anti-English vendetta to help discredit and even destroy Englishness worldwide*. It probably is, for the reasons Lee cites and as far as possible, English viewers therefore should probably boycott such productions."--AlanOrei

English viewers should boycott? I'm surprised you would say such a thing when you also made the comment below:

"The fact that the English don't complain could also be taken as evidence of a greater, i.e. superior, level of maturity."--AlanOrei

So should the English refrain from complaining and thus, have a superior level of maturity? Or should they adopt an inferior level of maturity and start complaining? A boycott is basically a complaint taken to a higher level. Also, it appeared that you were politely disagreeing with DOL in your first post. Now you seem to agree with him.

"You don't provide an explanation. You simply state that such 'negative impacts' are not expressed openly."--AlanOrei

I provided no explanation because I incorrectly assumed it would be understood. When I mention negative impacts, I am referring to the following:

1. Are the English subjected to discriminatory practices because people take the movies too seriously?

2. Are English children and teens suffering from a poor self image because of those films?

3. Do those films lead to culturally biased attitudes on the part of Americans toward the English?

I would answer no to all of those questions. But as I said before, I am not English so I wouldn't really know.

"Popular singers sing with Afro American accents, not American accents as such and have done since about 1950, even before rock emerged on the scene."--AlanOrei

Honestly, I think this is going in another direction that is futile. I'd have to say though that you cannot possibly believe this is true. It doesn't connect with the fact that some of the most popular singers in the US are country artists and they don't sound black at all. That is also true of a number of white singers in other genres. Your comment is only true in the case of one musical genre.

Anonymous said...

I think it is simply a matter of the "other." They need a villan who speaks the same language but sounds foreign to we americans. It is the easy way out for Hollywood. We aren't fond of reading subtitles and in amerikan kulture, the villan is clever and articulate. You can't trust those sneaky clever and articulate people! Sadly, our heroes are "everyday joes." There is no aspiration to intelligence or speaking properly. This would hurt wittle feelings of those in the population who ain't talk good.