Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?
"Shows the modern family enslaved by automatic gadgets in homes and businesses. Family members go through the days with no real person-to-person contact because everything is done automatically. Emphasis is placed on life being more than just a robot existence."
Contains excellent breakfast scene: businessman awakened by alarm clock,
lets wife sleep as he makes own breakfast (cu coffee pot, waffles in
toaster, etc.), businessman backs his late 1950s Cadillac out of driveway;
great LA FREEWAY scenes (oddly, the background audio is a radio show
playing 1920s records; it's truly bizarre to hear a 20s record juxtaposed
with late 1950s LA Freeway traffic). Downtown Los Angeles. CU hand honking
automobile horn. Driver speaks on two-way car radio; pulls into below
ground parking garage. Much more; excellent "slice of life" late 1950s ftg.
Subject: I Enjoyed This
Eventually you realize that no one in the movie has any face-to-face interpersonal contact for more than a moment or two.
But the machines are not to blame. They only allow people to ignore each other more efficiently.
The movie is really about the inability of humans to truly connect with others on a personal level. The machines make this easier and more comfortable, but they are by no means the source of the problem. They only provide the distraction we seize on to escape from revealing our true selves to others.
Subject: The film's concept is clear- but it fails utterly
Subject: Controlled by our things
Subject: An Incredible Film
By the way, the song on the radio when the husband is driving to work is "Paddlin' Madeline Home," and it's the version sung by the Whitey Kaufman Orchestra. That doggone song was an earworm off and on for years, and it took me forever to try to track it down as I couldn't understand any of the lyrics!
Subject: Too late now ...
Subject: Telephone Step Office
Subject: Dark and Darker
I was 10 years old in 1958. My father was an industrial engineer and made good money. We had brand new cars, modern up to date furniture and five kids. My mother wore aprons, but owned her own seamstress design shop. My dad was president of the coin collecting club, very active in the community and my mother as well. She sewed a great deal of our clothes and household decor.
We had a record player, a toaster, a percolator, new washing machine (no dryer yet)...and a radio in the kitchen. We got a television in 1955.
We lived in Ohio.
However, our busy active family DID NOT have the following:
A DISHWASHER!! (though middle-class...they truly weren't affordable yet)
A radio-car phone (are you kidding? Only my uncle the Superintendent of the Cincinnati Water Works had that) I never saw one outside of his and the police.
Did not have two clocks on the bedroom bureau. (my mother was so vigilant and busy....not necessary)
No electric razor.
Most men preferred the old way. I saw dozens of them growing up.
NO TV DINNERS!! I'm not sure where this concept came from....it certainly runs its course as an icon of that time period.
I lived in 5 states by the time I was 16 and I cannot remember a single one in all our homes, or my friends. I had wealthy friends in some cities....very wealthy. TV dinners just weren't the norm. Though it's in this film....even then it was touted as "the thing" to do in modernity I believe.
We had Jiffy Pop and Velveeta. We did consider these products luxurious modern convenience foods.
With five children (and many families had 3 or more back then) it was not practically affordable for a family to buy TV dinners.
We ate home-cooked meat and potatoes meals. Even homemade dessert (though my mother was definitely not a saint...).
We did however have an ice-cream man....he was older, safe and friendly. We went out to get the ice cream without adult supervision.
It was okay back then.
Subject: 1950's ennui
Subject: Depends on the Individual...
Subject: So who - or what - do you love?
No human touches another throughout the film.
Even so, this family is "living the good life". Father drives a new car, the home is furnished in amazing mid-century modern style , and their every convenience is repaired immediately when needed. They're even a "two alarm family"! Food is plentiful and affordable, yet the choices made - or not made - indicate a definite lack of nutritional knowledge or availability.
Interestingly, the mother is told by the doctor that "there is no organic cause" for her "not feeling well". I would hazard a LACK of organics in her life is a major cause. The son is the only one in this film to see daylight, and that only long enough to get an ice cream. He then goes back to the tv. No fresh or colored food is seen. The only animal is one cat frightened by father's car horn. The only time spent "in nature" is when father gets his evening paper off the well manicured and automatically sprinklered lawn. It's not that mother isn't feeling well, but rather that she is having no feelings at all. A simple application of mother's little helper after her next doctor's appointment should fix her right up...
What the son is learning about relationships and family dynamics is appalling, but probably moot as he will most likely die in Viet Nam.
The parents are of the age to have been infants in the latter part of the Depression, and children during the War. Coming out of the Lost Generation, and through the terrors of war may certainly have colored their personalities with unnamed fears of loss and poverty, and instilled the "virtues" of stoic suffering and hard work.
Only one time does the mother even appear to do housework, when she rinses the dishes and puts them in the automatic washer. Yet the house is pristine, organized, and on a certain schedule.
This film is full of wonderful small clips of automated machinery, relays, pulleys, buttons all "working the world" around our hapless players. Very fascinating and fun to see.
Has the change from solid state to digital machinery allowed us to have a better life?
Would this family love each other if they didn't have all these machines? It appears their problems run much deeper than time saving tools! So tell your computer and Xbox that you love them. Then get up and hug your SO!
Subject: Right on!
It would seem that up to this point, a human's will or free will and self awareness always falls secondary to man's will to by hypnotised!
Subject: "Life is just a series of sensations, some to be desired, others to be avoided."
Despite all of the modern conveniences, communication technology, transportation, and entertainment, the family is so dysfunctional that no device can help them or make them happier. They are surrounded with the best of their times (which makes for fascinating historical reference or video sampling), which gives them more opportunity than ever to interact with each other. Yet, they CHOOSE not to. Instead, each of them absorbs themself in some petty device, technology or entertainment -- the husband with his cigarette holder, the boy in the TV, and wife in all of her time-saving kitchen appliances.
The greatest irony of the film comes at the end, as the wife is watching TV, interspersed with shots of the husband eating his TV dinner. The couple on TV talk about how much they love each other, enjoy talking to each other, and how they feel safe together... while the husband and wife in the film coldly walk past each other. They have everything of their time, yet fall short of its idea.
Subject: Life is Nothing but a Series of Sensations . . .
Subject: Automation can alienate
Subject: Early Zombie Flick?
This is a very grim look at technology and automation. Too much so. Its like the mom had a lobotomy!
I do like the final shot, however. **Possible Spoiler** The father's lighter does not work and he has to take out an old fashioned match to get his cigarette lit.
Very depressing and unrealistic.
Subject: A swell film about a not so swell existance.
I like this thing, whatever it is...
Subject: Cold, heartless and fascnating.
Has technology led us to be robots in our normal social lives? Even at the end of the film, when the husband gets a cigarette from a gawdy cigarette carousel, he's not impressed with it at all, it's just there to give him a smoke.
It's a very peculiar subject, which is well documented in this film. This is a MUST SEE on this site, but be warned, it's not upbeat.
Subject: Technology in modern life - the b/w version