Recent Event Highlights: World War II ends, The United States enters World War II, World War I Ends, and 4 more...
Created by aaronfr on Dec 18, 2009
Last updated: 01/11/10 at 07:35 PM
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"Jupiter's Darling," released by MGM in 1955, represented a pinnacle of ideals in Post-World War II America. For one, it featured swimmer Esther Williams, a symbol of both American athletic pride and sensuality. Additionally, the very plot of the film is especially pertinent to the time. The story is a fictionalized account of Hannibal's army camping outside Rome, preparing for an attack, which is deterred due to his romantic involvement with a Roman woman. This plot comes from Robert Sherwood's anti-war play, "The Road to Rome." While the Road to Rome was made after World War I, "Jupiter's Darling" was in partial response to World War II and the Korean War. But, unlike "The Road to Rome," "Jupiter's Darling" is anti-war less in a direct sense, but more in the way it ridicules war and the people who are leading it, a.k.a. Hannibal, Scipio, and the dictator of Rome, Fabius Maximus. Much of the plot stems from the true story of Hannibal's stay in Capua, as accounted by the Roman scholar Livy in "The War with Hannibal." According to Livy, Capua "was wantoning under a long course of prosperity, and the indulgence of fortune: amid the general corruption, however, the most conspicuous feature was the extravagance of the commons, who exercised their liberty without limit." This is reflected in "Jupiter's Darling," as Esther William's character, Amytis, is strongwilled, freewheeling woman who can boss around and manipulate the strong, military man that is Hannibal. Additionally, in Livy's text, the Capuans make a peace treaty with Hannibal in which they say that, "That no Carthaginian commander should have any authority over a Campanian citizen, nor any Campanian serve in war or perform any office against his will: that Capua should have her own laws and her own magistrates: that the Carthaginian should give to the Campanians three hundred captives selected by themselves, who might be exchanged for the Campanian horse who were serving in Sicily." This independence among the Capuans is reflected in "Jupiter's Darling" by how the Romans and Amytis are able to, using their "luxuries," as Livy says, to sway Hannibal to a peaceful path of love, and not war. Livy's text also refers directly to how Hannibal and the Carthaginians were charmed by the Capuans (which is reflected in "Jupiter's Darling by Hannibal's charming by Amytis), as it says, "They began to feast early in the day, and the entertainment was not conformable to the Carthaginian custom, or to military discipline, but as might be expected in a city and in a house both remarkable for luxury, was furnished with all the allurements of voluptuousness." This idea, of defeating war with love and luxury, is very pertinent to the 50's. The American economy was booming, war (at least World War II) was over, and people were getting back to peacetime life. Thus, it makes sense that the story of Capua's luxries and Hannibal's relaxation there would be made into a movie, and a comedic, musical movie, no less. This is in direct contrast to the Roman propoganda movies of World War II and the 30's, likle Mussolini's "Scipione L'Africano."
With the end of World War II, America entered an era of newfound peace and prosperity. Most Americans were ready to put war behind them and embrace the post-war world. It was in this mood that "Jupiter's Darling" would be made in, as the movie war is something thought of as unnecessary, even comical.
As a result of Japan's attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. declared war on Japan. A few days later, Germany and Italy responded by declaring war on the United States, which the U.S. reciprocated. This thus started one of America's bloodiest conflicts, and probably the most prolific war in the minds of Americans watching "Jupiter's Darling" a decade later. Source: Wikipedia
"Scipione L'Africano," also known in English as "Scipio Africanus," was a major propaganda film produced by Mussolini's fascist government in Italy. Like "Jupiter's Darling," "Scipio Africanus" used the story of Hannibal and Scipio as a parallel for current world events. But, unlike "Jupiter's Darling," "Scipio Africanus" was an example of pro-war propaganda, and also was a very serious drama, instead of a musical comedy.
After the cancellation of the 1940 Olympics Games, swimmer Esther Williams joined Billy Rose's Aquacade, a music, dance, and swimming show. While the Aquacade took place before the end of the war, it embodied the post-war ideals of having fun, being carefree, and enjoying oneself that are present in the film she later starred in, "Jupiter's Darling."
Wirrten by Robert E. Sherwood, "The Road to Rome" was a comedic play about Hannibal's failure to conquer Rome. Sherwood put a lot of anti-war subtleties into the play, some of which made into the move that it inspired, "Jupiter's Darling." Source: Wikipedia
The bloody conflict of the Great War, later known as World War I, ends. World War I served as an inspiration for Robert Sherwood's anti-war play, The Road to Rome. Source: Wikipedia