Bob McPhail 4:30 p.m., Aug. 29
Review: Pink Ribbons, Inc. (And Alfred Hitchcock in Tactic)
Barbara Brenner, highly persuasive breast cancer activist, argues her disease is “the poster child of cross-marketing.” Léa Pool’s gutsy documentary calls into question what exactly the pink ribbon culture does to bring about change. (With billions raised, why have breast cancer rates in North America risen to 1 in 8?)
The film exposes seemingly good guy corporations that exploit cancer to increase sales and frequently spend more money on ads than they do donating to the cause. More importantly, it assigns faces to otherwise anonymous pink ribbons. A must see for those who have ever walked, jumped, rowed, or ran for a cure.
Film history has a way of creeping up on you in the most unlikely of places. A cut to Alfred Hitchcock brought me back almost 40 years to an image long suppressed: Alfred Hitchcock standing to the side of the camera giving screen direction to a pair of actors seated at a table.
I was taking a film class in junior college and one day the professor, a devout Hitchcockain who afforded me my first glimpse of Young and Innocent and the sound version of Murder!, produced a 16mm rarity I have yet to see reproduced in any format.
Tactic, which aired on NBC in May 1959, was the first show on television to openly deal with the subject of cancer. The 20-minute health program was one of six designed to alert people to the fight against cancer.
Lynwood King had the rare distinction of being among the few to direct Alfred Hitchcock as "Himself." William Shatner and Diana Van der Vlis co-star as a doctor and his patient who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Hitchcock stands off to the side occasionally breaking the scene to pass on improvisation tips to his cattle. It's fascinating to watch The Master's philosophy of horror surge to the fore as he tries to coax uncomfortable reactions out of Ms. Van de Vlis.
There is no sign of Tactic on YouTube. Hopefully it will turn up in the special features section of the Pink Ribbons, Inc. DVD.
- Pink Ribbons, Inc. opens tomorrow exclusively at Landmark's Ken Cinema.
- Reader Rating: Four Stars
- Click for showtimes.
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