Set in a Norwegian hamlet, an idealistic physician discovers that the town's hot springs are contaminated. But with the community relying on the spa for tourist dollars, his warning to the powers that be fall on deaf ears.
In a modern version of Ibsen's stage play we meet TV-celebrity Tomas Stockman going back to his native village to produce the world's purest bottle water. The plant will bring new life and ... See full summary »
Set in a Norwegian hamlet, this adaptation of playwright Henrik Ibsen's potent drama stars James Daly as Thomas Stockmann, an idealistic physician who discovers that the town's hot springs are contaminated. But with the community relying on the spa for tourist dollars, his warning to the powers that be -- and a hostile citizenry -- fall on deaf ears. The supporting cast includes Philip Bosco, James Olson and Kate Reid as Daly's resolute spouse. Written by
what a shame - could have been so much better but Ibsen did not know better
In ancient Greece under Perikles (i think) there were some years of democracy, the only democracy that the world so far has experienced as far as we can read history. One might argue that Switzerland too has had democracy for many years but the finances of Switzerland has always been highly dependent on its surroundings and those finances are to a great degree secret to the people, who subsequently do not vote freely if pressured by the banks to do otherwise - the banks referring to that there will be less money if they do not vote their way. In Greece the democracy quickly vanished when the aristocrats lost privileges to the merchants and the craftsmen and "direct democracy (= the only real democracy)", in which the people decided, was changed into "representative democracy", in which the people in government decided, and the privileges of the aristocracy were quickly reconstituted. (Look up these things if you do not know about them).
Charles Bukowski said that the masses are always wrong and Ibsen says something similar in this play. What they both fail to understand is that the reason for this is that the masses are not informed. If you do not understand the issues because you have practically no facts - how can you then come to a sensible decision? In ancient Greece under Perikles (see above), only those were allowed to vote who had taken part in the public debate about the things up for voting. Similarly one could have a direct democracy where only those votes were counted that correctly had answered some basic (very basic!!!) questions about what the vote was about on the same ticket as the vote.
An informed mass is seldom wrong as Switzerland, despite everything said, is a perfect example of, since the people there enjoy maybe the highest living standards in the whole world without having any natural resources like oil, for instance. The public debate in Switzerland is presented in television, sometimes more and sometimes less accurate but still.
I still give this film 5 stars because it still shows what happens when the people are not informed. The good doctor is not allowed to publish his findings and so it goes as it goes. The people is turned into an idiotic mass. But Ibsen forgets about the fact that the people are not informed and his pledge becomes elitist similar to Bukowski's.
Now, some may still argue that the people should make it their business to know about things and here the schools are to blame because in the schools the people are taught that they are only small s-ts and that the state and its high priest scientists know so much better. But these high priests are emperors without cloths and not the inventors that bring about the goods, which only few people who have lived among the "academics" understand. And the people do not have the munition to trust the whistle-blowers. They have succumbed to their roles of spectators and found their false safety there in their desperation and anything that disrupts their beliefs causes panic once their habits have been let to go on for too long. These are the things that Ibsen should have touched upon had he known better but he didn't.
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