We all know that President-elect Obama has an awfully huge job ahead of him in the next few months. I suggest he brainstorm with Burt Lancaster's character from the 1964 film "The Train" for a few tips. In Hollywood-land Lancaster plays a French train engineer by day and Resistance hero by night. In MacGyver-like fashion he manages to halt a Nazi-led train of French artwork hightailing it for the border. In the moments leading up to D-Day, the real French resistance was a well-oiled machine plotting details as minute as how much draining of oil would be needed to cause a Nazi train to stall just as it rolled onto a soon to be blown up bridge. Director John Frankenheimer mines the wealth of Nazi stereotypes for full glory, creating bad guys who kill in the interest of leaving Nazi "good-will" in their wake. Of course, pre-CGI FX films compel you to shout along at the characters as they stumble and fall into plot twist after le plot twist.
I am bringing up this film because of an e-mail I received the day after the victorious Obama election. A pro-democracy organization urged me to stay vigilant after Obama's victory as even now someone, somewhere was plotting our downfall. Drat! Not one 24 hour period had passed and already the Hollywood-like bad guys were crawling out from under their nearby rocks. I wondered if, similar to the very young witch Tiffany in Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men, I was hopping through hallucinogenic bad dreams, except all of mine were semi-germinating from the plots of early 1960's John Frankenheimer movies?
Follow along with my theory:
1. Manchurian Candidate nightmare. Been there, done that. Phew, we made it through the election with nothing horrible happening.
2. Seven Days in May, where perhaps a maniacal never say-die Ted Stevens, in a last ditch effort to be forgiven by the Republican Party, attempts a coup on the Obama White House lawn. Ted's excuse: he took a wrong turn while big game hunting from a helicopter.
3. Seconds with Pat Robertson as the ailing oldie who mentally inhabits the young body of Jenna Bush, in an attempt to gain the 2012 Republican Nomination.
4. Hopefully these dreams end with Grand Prix and I jet off to race car camp. Now that the price of gas is shrinking it's the only American thing left to do...