By Bob Mondello, NPR
|The ideal of masculinity, John Wayne|
Tony Curtis used to say that he'd learned how to kiss a girl by watching Cary Grant at the movies. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he wasn't just sitting behind Grant at the theater — while also noting that he's hardly alone in taking instruction from films.
Movies have always offered a window through which audiences, sitting in the dark, can observe human nature without being observed. A movie theater is where many a boy learned how to make things right, the way John Wayne did in so many pictures, with fists or a gun.
Movies taught about sacrificing for the greater good, as Humphrey Bogart did when he sent Ingrid Bergman off with a "here's lookin' at you, kid" in Casablanca. They're a place to learn about standing firm against injustice (with Spencer Tracy in Inherit the Wind), and about standing up for yourself (with Sidney Poitier in A Raisin in the Sun).