Saturday, September 3, 2011

Up the Down Staircase or Deja Voodoo

Yesterday, recovering from a flu of sorts, I lay in bed for a bit and turned on some Turner BS classic movie.

Of course, I started the film about 10 seconds into it and so wondered what the heck I was watching. This looked like a fun, light and edgy movie from about 1967. Featuring pretty teacher. English teacher. Naive, well-intentioned, determined, earnest.

First day in inner city school home-room. And here come the students. All forty of them. All types. Wild, spirited and not. Angry, silly, in-love, beat up, let down, out-there, anxious, eager, bored, day-dreaming, dangerous.

Enter handsome writer/ English teacher Mr. Barringer who meets the lovely Miss Barrett. And asks her out in a roundabout way.

And enter former student stuck on Mr. Barringer, the plain love-struck Alice Blake who when asked by Miss Barrett why we read books replies because books are about love.

And the sweet slow school dance with Alice and Mr.B.... spurred on by Miss Barrett.

and then...

the famous love letter scene....

Okay. Stop. How do I think I know what this movie is (but I can't think of the title)? And I will not cheat and look it up before it is over. I will go to the end. I will finish it. Plus I really like it for the most part. It seemed to take hold of me for some odd reason that I could not figure out.
What is this?

Okay moving forward to another great scene.

It is the in-class, in-action inspection day for the lovely Miss Barrett. And instead of choosing a sports related topic (apparently a sure way to have a quick inspection) for her class to discuss, Miss Barrett chooses to present "A Tale of Two Cities." (Great choice all around)

She has a student read the first page and introduces the word 'antithesis' and how our world is full of this antithesis. And the catatonic class wakes up.

Enter a disgruntled Mr. Barringer who has a tete-a-tete with 'writing what you know'. Did Dickens know anything about the French Revolution? Did Mr. Barringer know how to terrify a classroom into thinking that writing what you know is stagnant writing.

I think, Mr Barringer that writing what you know means writing what you believe to be true.

Okay fast forward.....

Miss Barrett breaks the rules in the final scene by going against traffic on the stairwell.

And now I know what this movie is. Duh.

But in my heart I knew in the scene when Mr. Barringer asked Alice to come closer as he corrected the grammar in her love letter. Because that was me on stage in middle school living that shy, awkward Alice.

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