Episode 297 - Bright Road

Episode 261 · February 12th, 2020 · 19 mins 51 secs

About this Episode

There is this unexpected plethora of gems coming at me just now in a Mockingbird vein. Last week there was Journey into Light, from 1951; and also The First Legion, also from that year. Today there is Bright Road, also a Hollywood movie, which came out in 1953.

I feel like the surface of the moon that is being bombarded by a meteor shower. How, one asks oneself, did one miss these many, explicitly Christian Hollywood movies? Were they literally hidden from view? Or was I simply asleep at the switch, all wrapped up, for almost an entire lifetime, in Fellini, Bergman and Truffaut -- or whatever one's desired form of coolness might be?

Then again, maybe it's the times. Maybe in this unusual period, when lots of things seem up-ended and little seems able to be taken for granted, new (old) things can rise to the surface again. I don't know what it is exactly, but something is shifting.

Today PZ's Podcast focusses on Bright Road, a modest but transcendent movie about imputation, the setting of which is so counter-intuitive -- because it transcends conventional narratives concerning identity and race -- that it is hard to believe it was ever made at all. Yet it stars Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge, and came right through the Hollywood studio system.

I also talk about -- here's one that should make you laugh -- a short story by the English writer Jerome K. Jerome, entitled "The Passing of the Third Floor Back". Unbelievably, this was turned into a play in 1907 that was the absolute number one of the London season! Then later it was made into a movie, with top stars and production. "The Passing of the Third Floor Back". Yet it is an extraordinarily touching and perceptive dramatization of imputation, Christian imputation, in its fully orbed power.

Podcast 297 is dedicated to Paul Walker.