The Things You Learn From The Movies

Screenshot of Paul Henreid, Ingrid Bergman, Cl...

Screenshot of Paul Henreid, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains and Humphrey Bogart from the trailer for the film Casablanca. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Birthday Warner Brothers.  This week, courtesy of the Daily Telegraph, I learned that this film studio is 90 years old.  David Grittens’ article suggests that Warner Brothers introduced a grittier sort of realism to the cinema audience of the 1920s and 30s.


For a start their actors – including Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Bette Davis – looked right for their roles, rather than being picture perfect.   You know they have lived a little and will use that life experience, one way or another, as the story unfolds.


Being liberal – and very tongue in cheek – with the concept of realism I would say Warner Brothers offers some personal development pointers too.  Here are three thoughts on the subject.


Casablanca’s Rick would love to rekindle the pre-war romance he had with Ilsa.  However he adjusts what he wants in favour of what the situation (War, Fidelity, Resistance) demands.  He lets her go.  They will always have Paris after all.  That sounds like a simple action to take, but the impact it has for all concerned is huge.


Wile E Coyote will always strive to catch the Roadrunner and will always come to grief doing so.  He doesn’t stop to learn wisdom from the many setbacks he experiences – with or without the help of Acme Corporation products.  He probably needs a coach to support him in identifying realistic options and then to do some effective action planning.


Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight might also benefit from some support, so that Bruce Wayne can look deep underneath the Kevlar body armour and find out what he truly wants.  That might make his life less conflict-prone.

It’s All About The Goals

Michael Owen

Michael Owen (Photo credit: emphasis)

There was an interesting Guardian article at the end of March about Michael Owen’s source of motivation to become the best footballer he could be.  There’s a lot to agree with in the piece and some points on which I take a different view.  On the plus side in the article he says:


“Reaching the top of your profession on your own is nigh on impossible. Doing it with the support of others gives you a small chance.  Having the support of all your family, while being guided by a father like mine made it hard to fail”.


From a young age Michael Owen put a lot of effort into pleasing his father.  Luckily the desire to please his parent chimed with his own growing desire to excel at his chosen sport.


On the other side, I think there is more to be said about the balancing elements of motivating a young person to achieve good results and their own desire to succeed , in sport or elsewhere.


What little I know about developmental psychology comes into play here.  Parents may say ‘you need to be better at this subject’ and the child may believe ‘I want to be better’.  If so, great results are possible.   If the pressure is all external – the parent bearing down on the child – there is a risk that the child will try hard and be unhappy doing so.