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Violin-hate TV Episode


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Very interesting, thanks for posting. I watched the whole thing. Up until the final scene I thought: this is the old stupid  patriarchy, trying to reify itself and doing a pretty convincing job of it. Then the final scene where the kid smashes the the violin and announces he wants to be a soldier. Completely wrong for the dramatic arch established earlier, but I'd guess the studio exec's insisted on it. Because I suppose they felt like the people they served were threatened by people like us?

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The soldier/artist who was killed, a friend of the violinist kid, the violinist kid thinks his soldier father sent the guy off to be killed. Later you learn he volunteered, which allows the reconciliation with the father.  Possibly what they're handling in 1959 style is a gay affair, and the ending is the kid deciding not to be gay anymore, symbolically smashing his violin to applause.  If that's not what it is, it's so bad that could be what it is :) Or it could be just art vs. military.  Personally I never associated violins with gayness. And the old pioneers around the campfire definitely enjoyed the violin playing, so they'd have to be gay too...

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I think you're right: this is a 1959 pop culture attempt to talk about gays.  Stuff was so heavily coded back then, it's hard for us now to understand what was being said (like: violin = gay? What a weird idea). Reason I think you're right is: we're never told why the violin kid freaked out so much at the death of the guy who was killed. But we are told that the guy painted pictures, so maybe viewers back then would have reasoned: violin = gay and painting pictures = gay, so they must have been an item.

If this reading is correct, I think the film is actually pretty courageous? Somebody made a TV episode in 1959 that was sympathetic to gays. It's obvious that the film should end when the violin kid plays "American the Beautiful" at the officer's mess. But some studio exec panicked at the idea of airing something sympathetic to gays, and insisted they add the violin-smashing scene.

Again I thank you for posting. Semiotics of film is fascinating!

 

 

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