ROUND TWO FILMS (essays due by November 20th)
1) The Front (starring Woody Allen but not directed by him):
What is the role of law in maintaining the “blacklist” of television actors and writers and directors in the 1950’s? Why don’t the protections of the Bill of Rights help Howard Prince or the writers for whom he fronts? What connections can you make between The Frontand Miller’s play, The Crucible, which was read for class? Or, reflect on whether BTL 13.4 helps you to understand anything about “The Front?”
2) Breaker Morant:
Why do the men at the top of the chain of command hide their involvement in the “crimes” for which the three men are tried? Why is the law unable to uncover these facts? Should civilian standards of fairness, honesty, and human rights apply to military justice in time of war? Read, and give the citation for something on the Internet about the USAPATRIOT Act or about the military tribunals for hearing cases of persons labeled by the president as “illegal enemy combatants.” Does your viewing of the film make the use of military tribunals seem more or less justifiable in the war on terrorism?
3) Billy Budd (Terence Stampp):
Did Captain Vere do the right thing in trying Budd on board ship rather than taking him back to port? In insisting on Budd’s conviction by the court martial? What does the film make you think about the connection between law and justice in perilous times? How does Captain Vere compare with Justice Keen in the “Case of the Speluncean Explorers,” or with Judge Danforth in The Crucible?
4) A Man for All Seasons (Paul Scofield):
Was Thomas More’s resistance to Henry VIII’s power selfish and foolish or courageous and righteous? What did More mean when he said “I would give the Devil benefit of law for my own safety sake?” What does this suggest about the importance of due process protections? How does the treatment of individual conscience by the legal system differ in the film and in the Barnette case, which was read for class?
What is the difference between vigilante justice and trial by jury, considering that both are reflections of the views of the community? Is the “rule of law” an improvement over “the rule of man” or does the amount of “injustice” remain pretty much constant regardless of the form of legal process? Compare how the Zinn article, “Conspiracy of Law,” approaches the rule-of-law/rule-of-man question.
FILM THAT YOU WATCHED, and date on which you watched it:
Print Names of all four students who watched the film
and participated in its discussion, alphabetically by last name:
[Sign your initials next to your name only]
Submit this form stapled to the front of your two-page essay. By doing so you indicate that you participated in the discussion of the film and wrote the attached essay on your own. No essay will be accepted without this form. More forms are available from the Legal Studies office, 102 Gordon Hall or on-line at the 250 web page.