Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Myriads of Men in White

So... I was reading through some blogs on ScienceBlogs about a recent visit to the Creation Museum in KY. One of the bloggers showed a movie poster of a film called Men in White that is shown (apparently on continuous repeat) at the museum. Doing a short search online, I found that there was a British Channel 4 TV show (which I saw a bit of on - I think - G4) called Men in White. Apparently, this title is sort of popular. On IMdb, there are several listings of "Men in White," including a 2007 Singapore comedy about four ghosts returning to Earth; a made-for-TV movie released in 1998; a French drama called Les Hommes en blanc released in 1955, based on the novel by André Soubiranas; as well as a 1934 film starring Clark Gable based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play named (you guessed it) Men in White.

I originally felt that the Channel 4 production of Men in White predated the museum's use of the name. However, I think that the Pulitzer Prize-winning play trumps all of them. Unfortunately, I don't have any publicity poster graphics of either the play or the 1934 film, but you can go here to see more stills of the film.

Finally, I think it is interesting that the museum portrayed their Men in White as the archangels Michael (the general of the army of God) and Gabriel (the chief messenger of God), while much of colloquial English (prior to the release of the Men in Black films) uses the term to refer to either scientists (like in the Channel 4 production) or doctors (like in the Clark Gable film). I can easily imagine that the museum's owners or the writer of the film's screenplay understands the colloquial meaning of the phrase (and therefore chose God's general to break the prevailing understanding of the phrase and chose God's messenger to bring a new understanding to the masses). In a possibly 1984-esque manner, the subtext of the museum's film is trying to change the understanding (and underlying meaning) of the phrase "men in white." Of course, I could be wrong, and the choice of these two was merely because they were two archangels with whom most American Christians are familiar, and the title of the film was solely inspired by the two hit films and animate series in the Men in Black line.

For a little historical fun, from the archives of the NYTimes (wow, but they go back a while!):
"While the Pulitzer Prize play, "Men in White," still is occupying the stage of the Broadhurst, its cinematic offspring is now the attraction at the Capitol. The film, which was directed by Richard Boleslavsky, under the supervision of Monta Bell, may abide by the parent work in certain essentials, but as a whole it pales by comparison with the original. It lacks both the realism and the dramatic vigor of the stage production, and the subject-matter is frequently subordinated to the players, particularly to Clark Gable."
- MORDAUNT HALL (June 9, 1934)

1 comment:

Orcboy said...

Raphael and Uriel never get no love.

Let alone Selaphiel, Jegudiel, and Barachiel....