If you put six fundamentalist Baptists and six fundamentalist Mormons side by side, you might be hard pressed to determine which were which. Likewise, if you looked at the movies that each owned you’d also find much the same collection.
Although Feature Films for Families is not officially a Mormon company, they produce low-budget quasi-Christian movie fare that is very popular with fundamentalists of both Baptist and Mormon stripes. From the squeaky-clean shenanigans of the Butter Cream Gang to the deformed tenor’s dulcet tones in Rigoletto, these films have long been a staple of fundamentalist film collections.
Perhaps as some have suggested fundamentalists of different religions really do resemble each other more than they resemble the more moderate members of their own groups. At least they would seem to share a taste for the same type of saccharine cinema.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that if a fundamentalist home contains a VCR it must also contain a tape of the Sound of Music. The importance of having this movie on display next to the TV may not be readily apparent to the uninitiated but to fundamentalists it’s every bit as important as keeping Grace Livingston Hill books on the living room bookshelf. Here is why…
Most important is the atmosphere that its presence creates. This is vital. For despite the movie containing Catholic nuns, guitar playing, and dancing, for some reason it is universally accepted as a ‘wholesome’ film in fundamentalist circles. Having it lying next to the TV says to any fundy visitor “We watch good movies in this house. Look, the Sound of Music is our FAVORITE!”
There may also come a time when a church member or visiting evangelist or missionary may be at your house for several hours and a the suggestion of watching a film may be proffered to pass the time. Having The Sound of Music easily accessible saves the danger of opening up the movie cabinet and laying it bare for fundamentalist scrutiny. If the tape is properly positioned, it can be unsheathed and playing in 5.8 seconds flat. On the other side of the equation, one of the joys of being a missionary is the opportunity to watch this classic musical every few weeks and learn every word by heart.
“The hills are alive….”