Cinema: Shading the Past

The '50s weren't the good old days, says a film. But it still sees them through rose-tinted glasses

Ah, the '50s! A decade of picket fences and placid smiles, of front lawns without weeds and a future without care, when children were wise enough to respect their parents--because Father knew best.

Rotten, wasn't it? People did what they were supposed to do, not what they deeply, truly needed to. It was a time of confinement: those wire bras were a chastity belt for bosoms. Haircuts were part of the hypocrisy--boys couldn't hide their ears, but they could, had to, suppress their liveliest instincts. It was the long night of the living dead.

That's the not-so-hidden agenda of Pleasantville, an...

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