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After two calm nights she was not permitted to stay in the dormitory , various demonstrations erupted, including cross burnings.

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She was dismissed from the institution by the trustees in order to insure harmony. This action occasioned different kinds of agitated reactions. Some students protested the trustees' action. Democrats campaigning for the presidential nomination were asked what they would do to enforce the court decree if they were president. At the same time, on February 21, " persons were indicted by a county grand jury. The boycott began Dec. In the first week of the film's release, Life carried an essay by Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner, "A Letter to the North," in which he defends the position of going slowly in the integration process.


Although he says segregation is an "evil," "I must go on record as opposing the forces outside the South which would use legal or police compulsion to eradicate that evil overnight" He concludes by asserting "that 1 Nobody is going to force integration on [the Southerner] from the outside; 2 [t]hat he himself faces an obsolescence in his own land which only he can cure: a moral condition which not only must be cured but a physical condition which has got to be cured if he, the white Southerner, is to have any peace, is not to be faced with another legal process or maneuver, every year, year after year, for the rest of his life" The use of language couched in reference to cures and illness is significant.

And the previous year, according to William J.

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  • Harvie, in testimony before the Supreme Court, a Virginia attorney working for delay in integration said: "Negroes constitute 22 percent of. Of course the incidence of disease and illegitimacy is just a drop in the bucket compared to the promiscuity[;]. In addition, according to the New York Times , during that month there were renewed instances of states such as Georgia and Mississippi introducing "nullifying" bills and "interposition" bills. The former type of bill simply denies the application of federal rulings to an individual state; the latter involves states enacting laws to defend their own jurisdictions by countering federal legislation "Miss Lucy v.

    Alabama," 1; "Georgia Adopts 'Nullifying' Bill," In addition, there was movement to "abolish public schools, create gerrymandered school districts and set up special entrance requirements" "School Integration Report," 7.

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    All this is offered not to say that Invasion of the Body Snatchers contains a previously undiscovered allegory about racism but, rather, to suggest that we ought to remember that the film entered a dialogue, to use Lipsitz's phrase, of considerable tension. In this regard, it is interesting to consider several scenes from the original in which the action and language seem pertinent. In the first of these scenes, Miles, suspecting that a gas station attendant who had earlier serviced his car may be one of the invaders, stops his car and discovers two pods hidden in the trunk.

    He pulls them out and sets them on fire. The camera lingers on the flames as they envelop the pods. Burning of alien forces at night in a way that emphasizes the flames against the darkness might well have reminded contemporary audiences of the cross burnings that had recently occurred.

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    Second, as Miles and Becky Dana Wynter watch unobserved from his office, townspeople gather in the square while the pods are being distributed to trucks that will carry them to various communities beyond Santa Mira. As he sees the full implication of the spread of the pods and the infiltration of the aliens into neighboring communities, Miles describes the situation to Becky in terms of a "malignant disease spreading throughout the country. Third, during the frenzied sequence on the highway, Miles tries to stop motorists and warn them. Specifically in a shot in which he virtually addresses the camera he warns: "Those people are coming after us.

    They're not human. You fools, you're in danger. They're after you, they're after all of us. Your wives. Your children. I make no claim that this information about the context of reception for the Invasion will help us understand the film any better. But it may help to define the differences between the two films somewhat more finely and in a way that goes beyond what I submit has not been sufficiently complete. What's at issue is a cultural version of Michel Foucault's episteme or what in another context Ann Kaplan has called the "semiotic field" of a work As scholars and critics making comparative evaluations, we enrich our work to the extent that our positioning of the original in relation to the remake comes to terms with the forces and dialogues that shaped the works as well as those into which it entered.

    In fact, with this kind of comparative approach, we may find ourselves better positioned to comment on the relation between original and remake. The remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers was released December 22, Within the month, events occurred that could not have been anticipated in any way by the filmmakers but that provide a grim background for its reception. Pictures of the more than nine hundred suicides appeared in newspapers and, in color, in magazines like Time and Newsweek. Reports of the suicide made it clear that some of the victims were forced to participate.

    According to Facts on File, "As for the dissenters, some appeared to have been browbeaten into drinking the poison and others appeared to have been murdered by zealous cult members. Guyanese sources told the New York Times Dec. The marks presumably showed that the poison had been injected into these victims by others, since it was very difficult for a person to inject himself in that part of the body" Facts on File, December 15, Such information and pictures must have resonated in those members of the audience aware of it who were watching the weirdly charismatic psychiatrist Dr.

    David Kibner Leonard Nimoy inject Matthew Bennell Donald Sutherland and Elizabeth Driscoll Brooke Adams with a "light sedative" that would cause them to sleep and, subsequently, to die as they were taken over by the aliens. The international reaction to the horribly disturbing mass suicide had its counterpart in the national response to the news that, within a few weeks, two teenagers committed suicide in a suburb in New Jersey; they were "the third and fourth Ridgewood, N.

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    Ironically, the December 4 story about Jonestown included a quotation from San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, who, according to Time, "received important help from Jones in his close election [and had] appointed him to the city's housing authority in Said the mayor about last week's horror: 'I proceeded to vomit and cry.

    In a creepy coincidence, the film is set in San Francisco and includes a scene in which Matthew seeks Kibner's help in reaching the mayor by phone. As far as I have been able to determine, the association of the suicides and murders, of Jones, Moscone, and Milk, and San Francisco, and the turbulent atmosphere of death in the month of December seem not to have entered into contemporary reviews of the film.

    Indeed, the opposite seems to be the case if Pauline Kael's laudatory review is examined. She notes: "The story is set in San Francisco, which is the ideally right setting because of the city's traditional hospitality to artists and eccentrics. San Franciscans often look shell-shocked. The hipidyllic city, with its ginger-bread houses and its jagged geometric profile of hills covered with little triangles and rectangles, is such a pretty plaything that it's the central character" Our own period has recently seen a revival of interest in conspiracy theories in regard to the assassination of John F.

    The audience for Invasion of the Body Snatchers during the last week of and the beginning of was learning that the House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations "concluded Dec.

    Kennedy 'was probably assassinated as a result of conspiracy' in The committee also said that on the basis of circumstantial evidence 'there is a likelihood' that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The committee flatly stated that none of the U. The three agencies cleared were, however, criticized for their failings during the assassination and in the investigations after.

    Such information could well have hit a collective nerve in the audiences watching the futile attempts of Matthew Bennell and his friends. It's not that Kaufman gives any evidence of wanting to build in considerations of assassination conspiracy theories; rather, the film, with its frightening depiction of a conspiracy involving the police, the municipal government, and the secret service appears at a time when a major committee is raising the possibility of conspiracies and denying that the highest government agencies.

    The threat of conspiracy in the remake seems, from our perspective, to have even more potential relevance to its audience in than the already fading threat of a communist conspiracy had for the audience of Another dimension of the semiotic field worth noting concerns the pods themselves.

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    Certainly one of the most disturbing scenes in the films occurs when we watch the creatures reproducing while Matthew sleeps. Kaufman examines the creatures with uncompromising and unnerving scrutiny as they emerge struggling from their pods, swathed in weblike mucus and uttering little cries. After being awakened by Nancy Bellicec Veronica Cartwright , Miles uses a spade to attack the pods and, in one particularly gruesome shot, is seen splitting open the head of the one that resembles him.

    In this scene the film enters a dialogue about abortion that was raging then and is even more violent now. Nothing that Kaufman has said even hints at any self-conscious imposing of a thesis on abortion into the film. Just as I linked the earlier film to civil rights, I here try to contextualize the images in terms of the audience's historical and cultural position in relation to the controversy.

    What is clear to me is that such images entered a semiotic field in which the legal and medical status of the fetus had already been hotly debated.

    In , there had been several cases nationally in which "consent" agreements had included provisos that women seeking abortions had to view photographs of fetuses or be given descriptions of them by doctors. According to Facts on File, the law in Louisiana "required the doctor to describe 'in detail' the characteristics of the fetus, including 'mobility, tactile sensitivity, including pain, perception or response, brain and heart function, the presence of internal organs and the presence of external members'" September 29, There was also legal consideration of the fetus's ability to withstand a saline abortion, most immediately in connection with the trial of Dr.

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    William Waddill, a California physician accused of having strangled a twenty-eight-to thirty-one-week-old infant after it survived an abortion Lindsay, Audiences watching the film and Bennell's "murder" of his double might well have been affected by the abortion controversy, particularly since they had watched the character kill something that, recently emerged from its pod, was more "alive" than "dead. I am grateful to Lucy Fischer for suggesting that another dialogue in which the film can be seen engaging concerns in vitro fertilization, a medical phenomenon that had occurred for the first time earlier in In July of that year in England, Drs.

    That same month, a much less happy case of in vitro fertilization was reported. Raymond L. Vande Wiele "deliberately destroyed" the embryo produced in at the hospital "Childless Couple Is Suing Doctor," One concern raised during the trial by lawyers defending Columbia University was that the experiment's outcome was uncertain: "[The Del Zio's] physicians, the lawyer said, had no way of knowing whether their efforts would produce a 'monster birth' or a normal child" "2 Charge 'Jealous' Doctor," 9.

    Shortly after this scene, Kaufman's film does in fact reveal a monster effected by this process.