Cult film -obtaining cult status

Essay by raotownUniversity, Master's September 2006

download word file, 2 pages 1.7

Occasionally, a film can become the object of a cult following within a particular region or culture if it has some unusual significance to that region or culture.

An example is the cult status of British comedic actor Norman Wisdom's films in Albania. Wisdom's films, in which he usually played a family man worker who outsmarts his boss, were some of the few Western films considered acceptable by the country's communist rulers, thus Albanians grew familiar and attached to Wisdom. Curiously, he and his films are now acquiring nostalgic cult status in Britain. Similarly, the American film It's a Wonderful Life, which features an exploitative capitalist as its villain, was allowed in the USSR, giving it a cult status in Russia.

Another example is the place of The Wizard of Oz in American gay culture. Although a widely viewed and historically important film in greater American culture, it has gained a special meaning to many gay men who see probably unintended gay themes in the film.

Gay men sometimes refer to themselves as "friends of Dorothy". Singin' in the Rain is another film adopted by the American gay subculture which used to regularly be shown at retrospect houses during the 1980s and early 1990s for extended runs.

The 1936 anti-marijuana propaganda film Reefer Madness has become a cult film within stoner culture due to its humorously sensationalized, outdated and inaccurate descriptions of the effects of marijuana. 20th Century Fox and Legend Films released a colorized version of the film on DVD on April 20, 2004, an obvious reference to its ironic appeal (see 420 (cannabis culture)). The World War II-era Department of Agriculture film Hemp for Victory, encouraging the growing of hemp for war uses, has achieved a similar cult status.

British comedies have enjoyed a cult status in America.