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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Has Hillary Seen Godfather II?

This classic is among 25 films highlighted in an article listing the best films to address foreign policy issues. I like to show film clips in my classes, so this list may provide a few ideas. A colleague of mine likes to show the bank robbery note scene in Woody Allen’s Take the Money and Run, which is hilarious. Filmed in mock documentary style, Allen, as Virgil Starkwell, unsuccessfully attempts to rob a bank with a misspelled note that reads, “Please put $50,000 in this bag and apt natural, because I am pointing a gub at you.” Instead of fearing the robber, the tellers and bank managers are too busy trying to decipher Virgil’s handwriting to heed its contents. Does anyone else like to use clips in class?

Posted by Kelly Anders on May 6, 2009 at 01:23 PM in Culture, Film | Permalink


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Stanford's George Fisher made brilliant use of film clips in his evidence class when I took it years ago.

Posted by: Response | May 8, 2009 12:45:16 PM

For addressing the torture memos I have used two clips.

1. The torture of Tuco (Eli Wallach at his best) by Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef at his worst) in "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". The way the sections start is actually wonderful as there is a meeting between Angel Eyes and his commander and the famous Andersonville prison camp is mentioned. A Confederal Captain Wirz was military commissioned and hung for the conditions at the Andersonville Confederate Prison Camp. We have a copy of the the complete proceedings here at Toledo.

The progress of Tuco's beating permits one to ask whether we have arrived at torture yet under the definition in the Convention Against Torture and other forms of Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, the US Torture Statute, and the Definition in the August 2002 torture memos. It is a powerful way to demonstrate how perverse those memos are and remain as one sees the conduct that would be sanctioned under the definition there, but not under the US statute, nor the Convention.

2. The full length, "Taxi to the Dark Side." I asked the students ahead of time to vote by secret ballot whether any of them would object to me showing this tough movie. All students voted in favor of it - one of the most wonderful moments in public international law teaching in which we were able to look unsparingly at American practice.

Ben Davis
UToledo College of Law

Posted by: Benjamin Davis | May 7, 2009 9:54:14 AM

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