Let My People Know

"There is not much difference between Aladdin and Bambi—they even have the same eyes"


Very much like the Greek gods, the Hollywood-style he­roes are ordinary human beings, not too outstanding, in­trinsically not too much of anything, but with some exaggerated prowess, underneath which they are cast in a human mold.

They are glorified simple people, glorified mediocre people.

The striking beauty should be a beautiful version of the boy or girl next door.

Therefore, Hollywood-style beauty occurs always within a certain range of nor­malcy.

Outstanding, startling beauties—Modigliani or Rubens types, for instance—will not work in Hollywood.

The Hollywood hero has to be the simple person glorified, yet still within the norm.

These rules are true in all types of film-making.

These rules even hold true for Disney cartoons, which, even though they do not have human stars, use the same im­ages.

Cartoon characters are created in exactly the same mold as the human stars; in fact, because they are more simplified, they are better.

Aladdin is a very nice example of this: a little bit of miracle, a little bit of humor—but not too much; everything is so very nice and sweet, and very well packaged.

There is not much difference between Aladdin and Bambi—they even have the same eyes.

The Hollywood message, then, is to create for people a well-planned, technically superb daydream, which says softly, "I am all right, you are all right, basically, with small aberrations here and there, everything will be all right."

It hints, "You, too, are a hero. Look at these stars: in your inner heart, you are almost like them. Perhaps you are not as handsome, nor as strong, but you can dream about being like them."

This religion does not demand anything exceptional from its followers, even as viewers.

The messages and im­ages created by Hollywood are not necessarily bad, but they all have shallowness built in Shallowness is intrinsic.

Everything has to be within the audience's grasp, tai­lored to its level of understanding, as well as to its dreams.

‑-Adin Steinsaltz


From Simple Words, p. 140 by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz