Skip to main content

It is the topic of the day (well, that or Rand Paul).  So I thought I (tonight the "I" is would annetteboardman) take a brief moment to look at movies about oil.  Some of them glorify the wildcatters who looked for it, some emphasize the cynical manipulators who destroy worlds as they grasp the oil in their greedy hands, and others (very few) deal with environmental and social circumstances the oil industry impacts.

These are the fictional accounts.  There are many very very fine documentaries out there, but I am a bit obsessed by the view in Giant of how the prairie diappears behind the oil wells.  So this is about oil in fictonal films.

Giant won a best director Oscar and James Dean and Rock Hudson (who was underestimated as an actor, I think) and Mercedes McCambridge were all nominated for acting Oscars.  There Will Be Blood, of course, won two Oscars, including one for Daniel Day-Lewis (and one for Cinematography).  To my taste, a more enjoyable film was 1983's Local Hero.  It is full of moments of great lyrical beauty, as a Houston "wheeler and dealer" tries to buy a beach on which to build a refinery.

An older film dedicated to the glory of the wildcatters is a great big MGM epic, starring Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert, and Hedy Lamarr (Disclaimer: I have never seen it, so this discussion is drawn from the internet discussion).  1940's Boom Town has rave reviews from the viewers at IMDB, but it seems that the politics of it might make me uncomfortable.  It is apparently very pro laissez faire capitalism, not exactly the story of oil I want to hear about these days.  A more cynical presentation of oil's effect on people and countries was 2005's Syriana.  This is my favourite scene, with Matt Damon explaining to Alexander Siddig how the west really is as cynical as he fears.  Unfortunately I couldn't embed it, so the link will have to do.

Let's finish with the spill.  As we come back to it, a very interesting film is the Jimmy Stewart 1953 one about the conflict between offshore drilling and shrimp fishermen who are worried that oil drilling will destroy their way of life.  Thunder Bay does not refer to Ontario in this movie's title.  And finally, for a reminder, take a look at the made-for-tv docudrama Dead Ahead: The Exxon Valdez Disaster.  Or you can watch the news.  Neither will make your day feel any better.  

Originally posted to Friday Night at the Movies on Fri May 21, 2010 at 04:34 PM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site