'Our Mr Sun' Religion and Science in 50s America

How did Hollywood screenwriter Frank Capra get involved in the sort of film projects that in his and other hands filled a generation of American servicemen with a fundamentalist world view? James Gilbert offers an explanation.

Despite the romp of preposterous, computer-generated dinosaurs, the most contrived part of the recent film Jurassic Park by Stephen Spielberg, may well he the jarring juxtaposition of science and sentimentality. With prehistoric beasts roaring about and immensely complex scientific concepts required to explain their presence, the plot devolves into a cardboard romance. Two scientists appear about to fall in love when the cold and distracted male paleontologist discovers that he wants nothing so much as children. Granted, the target of this denouement is an anticipated audience of pre-teens. Certainly the scientific theories relating to cloning and chaos are difficult to understand. But Spielberg is only doing what many film producers and authors of popular fiction have done before him by casting scientific curiosity into a melodrama designed to reinforce traditional concepts of family, gender and – most important – an anthropocentric universe.

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