Saturday, November 22, 2008

One of the Invisible Professions

It occurred to me recently that some jobs are woefully under-represented in movies. As you can see below, this unscientific pie chart that sprang from my brow is meant to represent how the world of work seems to break down in classic movies, at least to me. I suspect that many of us--at least in classic movie terms, might fall into that netherworld of 2%, marked "Other." Please click on the thumbnail pie chart below to see the division of labor--at least according to old movies:
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I've probably forgotten some jobs in my "for entertainment purposes only" schematic that you might feel are germane to any discussion of classic movies or what is laughingly known as "the real world". I hope that you'll let me know some that ought to be there, as I briefly discuss one profession that deserves a better rap in classic and more recent movies. It seems that if you used classic movies as a yardstick, policemen, reporters, gangsters, doctors, lawyers and cowboys are occupations simply teeming with the really important activity in the movies.

While pondering the dearth of many real world jobs depicted on film, those that seemingly don't exist, and the amusing (if not entirely accurate) stereotypes that are shown in many jobs; I realized that all grocers must be played with a spurious Italian accent, and usually by J. Carroll Naish; restaurateurs are usually Viennese, and gemütlich, as portrayed by scene-stealer S.J. Sakall, though an occasional waiter, (played nimbly by Fritz Feld) may condescend to serve you; and most bartenders are very stagey Irish-Americans, often personified by a triumvirate of William Bendix, William Frawley or Irving Bacon, depending on who the casting office might have tracked down that day.


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