Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Watching the movies...

As your homework during vacation, you'll need to view and write about one of the many American Experience films from the PBS website.  I've watched a few during vacation myself.  Here's what I think of the ones I've seen.

The Hurricane of '38: What would it be like to deal with a ferocious storm before radar existed?  You'd have no warning that a storm was even coming.  One morning in September, the people of Long Island and Rhode Island woke up for a day of fishing or sunbathing.  By nightfall, many of them had watched their oceanfront houses float away.  Many more of them would never live to see another day.  This movie gives a glimpse of the lives of fishermen (they lived in shacks right on the beach all winter!) and the rich (they came to Long Island to party in country clubs throughout the summer).  This is my favorite of the films I've seen so far because it gives the best glimpse of what everyday life would have been like for regular people in 1938.

The Civilian Conservation Corps: In the 1930s, over 25 percent of Americans were unemployed.  In many neighborhoods and towns, the conditions were terrible: children had almost nothing to eat and men were desperately discouraged because they couldn't provide for their families.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt promised to do something.  He called for the creation of an "army" of young men who would do environmental work.  The men would live in camps, go to work after breakfast every morning to plant trees or fight forest fires, break for lunch, work more, then come back to camp to be fed a nice dinner every evening.  They'd earn $30 a month--good pay back then--on the condition that $25 of it would be sent back to their needy families.  If you're interested in environmentalism, this movie might be good for you.  Some say that the CCC helped to begin the modern environmental movement.

The Crash of 1929: Many people got excited about the stock market in the 1920s.  It seemed to keep going up and up.  There was wild confidence and a lot of investors thought the good times would never end.  But when the stock market crashed in October, many people's dreams crashed along with it.  This film has some tricky economic concepts, but it would be a good choice for people who are interested in learning more about money and business.

Has anyone watched a film yet?  Want to share a suggestion for your classmates?  Leave a comment.

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