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Great Scott!! The “Movie Scientist Blogathon” is Back!

The “Movie Scientist Blogathon: The Good, the Mad, the Lonely” is back for 2017! I am so excited to be co-hosting this event with Ruth at Silver Screenings.

The blogathon is about movie scientists. The good scientists, the mad scientists, and the lonely scientists. The idea originated from a discussion between Ruth and myself about how scientists get into all sorts of trouble because they insist on working alone (like Dr. Frankenstein) instead of getting an outside opinion that might prevent careless mistakes or unfortunate occurrences. The blogathon is not, however, limited to only lonely scientists.

When – September 8-10, 2017

Each day is dedicated to a different subset of scientists.

Day 1 (8th) – The Good

Day 2 (9th) – The Mad

Day 3 (10th) – The Lonely

How – You can sign up by filling out the form below. If you want to do more than one topic, simply fill out a separate form for each topic. Be sure to choose which day your scientist or film fits in. If you have a scientists that could be put into more than one category, feel free to choose the day that works best for you.

On the evening of each day of the blogathon, Silver Screenings and I will put up a recap of the day’s posts. To send us your post, simply paste the link of your post to one of our comments sections or tweet it to us (I can be found at @_cwehner) and we will include it in the recap. If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact either me or Ruth at Silver Screenings.

Rules – Because there are so many movie scientists to choose from, we are not allowing duplicate posts on any film. Once a film has been chosen by one blogger, it is no longer available, unless you would like to compare it to another film (like comparing the 1931 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with the 1941 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). We are also not including television scientists in this blogathon, but there are no limits on what time period the film can be from, from the silent era to 2017.

To help us get the word out, please feel free to grab one of the banners at the bottom of this post, which I want to thank Ruth for creating!

Sign-Up Below

Movie Roster View Sheet – You can also click HERE to open the roster in another window.

 
54 Comments

Posted by on June 17, 2017 in Movies

 

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Frankenstein vs. God?

There’s a joke I once heard as a child (paraphrased by me):

The earth had reached a state of perfection where scientists had solved all their problems: war, famine and hunger, global warming, disease – life was now perfect and ideal. So they sent a delegation of scientists to see God and tell him that they no longer required his services. “We can do anything you can do,” they told him. God listened to them politely.

“Name something,” they said. “Name anything and we’ll show you we can do it as well as you.”

“Why don’t you create life,” God said.

“Oh, that’s easy!” one scientist said and bent down to grab a handful of dust. God stopped them.

“Wait a moment,” God said, “Get your own dust!”

UntitledBut in all seriousness, as much as Frankenstein movies warn about trespassing on the realm of God (and if you think about it, Frankenstein’s not even in the ballpark), I never found they made a very convincing case. The pertinent message ends up being more about scientific ethics and the nature of humanity. Though, admittedly, Frankenstein does have a colossal god complex.

But if the movies had really been about trespassing on the realm of God, there shouldn’t have been any careless accidents (like using the wrong brain?). There should have been divine retribution (the proverbial zapped by lightning). Either that or it simply shouldn’t have been possible to create life. Interestingly enough, in the 2015 Victor Frankenstein, that is exactly what happens. Victor Frankenstein creates a being that breathes, but it has no soul and Frankenstein concludes that what he has created is not really life – just a carcass with a heart pumping (or hearts, in this case).

But in the Frankenstein films, an unspoken question is asked – what makes someone alive?

In the original 1931 Frankenstein and the 1957 Hammer Studio The Curse of Frankenstein, they do succeed in creating a living human being. Both “monsters,” played by Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee, have damaged brains (caused by careless or bickering scientists and their assistants), but they feel pain, suffering, longing, confusion. But the fact that both “monsters” have damaged brains is something of a side-issue in the films. It wouldn’t have mattered if both of them had been fully functioning, thinking adult creations. Their very appearance and the way in which Frankenstein treats them would have caused problems.

In the original Frankenstein, Colin Clive plays an obsessed scientist – not so much evil as totally consumed by what he is doing. In the 1957 version, Peter Cushing’s Frankenstein is an out-and-out psychopath (like Beauty and the Beast, he’s the real monster in the story). But what they both have in common is a casual attitude towards their creation. In fact, that is part of the problem. They think of the “monster” as their creation – something to experiment upon, study and destroy in a way that wouldn’t be acceptable if their creations were animals. They talk of creating life, but they don’t treat them as life.

this image perfectly illustrates Frankenstein's attitude to his creation

this image pretty much sums up Frankenstein’s attitude to his creation

Actually, it makes me think, of all things, of George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion.” Because Henry Higgins thinks he’s created Eliza Doolittle, the perfect lady, he thinks he can control her and treats her as though she had no feelings. Except in the end she asserts her independence and waltzes out. But she has options in life that aren’t exactly available to Frankenstein’s monster.

So, if they’re not really trying to create life, what are they trying to do? Science for self-aggrandizement and fame – like a Greek hero who wants to be remembered after he has died? To exercise control and power? The thrill of discovery and the challenge? Maybe all these reasons and more? Perhaps they (or at least Colin Clive’s Frankenstein) even once wanted to do good.

But the Frankensteins’ treatment of their creations tends to be little better than their treatment of other people (especially in the case of Peter Cushing’s Frankenstein), who are the little people in their personal drama. Oddly enough, the creation of life ends up resulting in the isolation of the creator (I had to get the theme of loneliness in there somehow!) and a lack of sympathy for those already alive. In Frankenstein, creating life ends up a kind of nihilism.

This is my contribution to the Movie Scientist Blogathon, hosted by myself and Silver Screenings. Follow the links for the rest of the entries: Day 1 was devoted to Good Scientists, Day 2 went to the Mad ones, and Today comprises the Lonely ones.Scientist Blogathon Banners

 
10 Comments

Posted by on February 21, 2016 in Movies

 

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Movie Scientists Blogathon Day 1 Recap – The Good

Mad scientists get all the press. Everyone loves a good mad scientist. But what about a good good scientist? I think it has been proven conclusively today that good scientists abound in film and are every bit as charismatic, brilliant, romantic, fascinating and fun as their mad counterparts.

Thanks everyone for your incredibly thoughtful, thought-provoking, and scintillating entries!

corridors-of-bloodThe Last Drive In explores “The Menacing Altruism of Boris Karloff” in Corridors of Blood.

4301664_origPhantom Empires discussed the dangers of artificial intelligence and science in Colossus, The Forbin Project.

Hong Kong CavaliersThe Midnite Drive-In goes bonkers with The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension.

sis-vivaciouslady-24Sister Celluloid gives us the backstory of Vivacious Lady, while showing that scientists are romantic, too.

ghostbuster-3Blog of the Darned analyzes the Ghostbusters team and what makes them such a great team.

img_7640The Love Pirate shows us what makes a good scientist in Jurassic Park.

c3a2820fdaa3a4728801875b24fa02acPhyllis Loves Classic Movies celebrates The Absent Minded Professor, complete with recipe for making flubber.

DR.-EHRLICHS-MAGIC-BULLET-3MovieFanFare shows how Edward G. Robinson searched for a cure for syphilis in Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet.

x-rays-2Movies Silently gives us science, x-rays and a little spooning from 1897 in The X-Rays.

planet-of-the-apes-kim-hunterSilver Screenings shows the trials of being a good scientist amidst theocratic tyranny in The Planet of the Apes.

meet-the-robinsons5Pop Culture Pundit explores the kind of environment scientists need to create and flourish in Meet the Robinsons.

screenshot-13F For Film feelingly gives us a portrait of Master and Commander’s Stephen Maturin.

paprikaRamblings of a Cinephile gives us dreams and crime in Paprika

highly-dangerous-roy-ward-baker-1950-l-hdbptsThe Wonderful World of Cinema shows how entomology can be thrilling in Highly Dangerous.

 
22 Comments

Posted by on February 19, 2016 in Movies

 

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