Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Last Cigarette|
Director: Kevin Rafferty; Frank Keraudren
Genres: Comedy, Documentary
Christopher Columbus lands in the New World and encounters a Native American smoking on the beach. What do you suppose he s doing? he asks. — His lieutenant observes, He s drawing in the smoke and blowing it out again. H... more »
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From a former smoker...
Timothy P. Scanlon | Hyattsville, MDUSA | 01/31/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I like what a reviewer on the cover of the DVD who compared it with "Atomic Cafe." That was an appropriate comparison.
Smoking has been a solid issue for the last decade or so. I know as my father smoked for many years. When I was a kid in the early 50s, I remember my mother referring to his Chesterfields as "coffin nails." At that age, I thought she meant coughin' nails--of course I didn't know what a "coffin" was at the time. My dad had the wisdom to quit when the study was released in the mid 60s declaring beyond doubt that smoking causes cancer. (When he died at 82, barely a year ago, his physicians said the smoking still affected him, may have been responsible for the malignancy they found a month before he passed).
I started smoking when I was about 17 leading to my heavy smoking when in my early to mid-20s. Then I tried to quit, and did not succeed. Back in 1977 I lived in Asia and found that I wasn't smoking so I just--quit, and have no urge whatsoever to smoke again.
The only "interim" comment I add is that when I was exposed to "patients" at an alcohol "treatment" facility in the early 90s, many of the "patients" while decrying alcohol, declaring it the manifestation of the devil himself, smoked like chimeys. And the center, funded by a tobacco executive, never criticized tobacco like it did alcohol and other drugs, one of those ironies that I could never reconcile.
Anyway, the film might be labled as comedy. It flashes between Congressman Henry Waxman's hearing with tobacco corporate CEOs, film clips from yesteryear romanticizing tobacco, and tobacco ads from not too long ago. It also included clips from those who defend their right to smoke.
I give the tobacco execs the credit for being well-prepared. They used every angle they could, including the RIGHT to choose--pro-choice, you might way, but choice to smoke. They also included how crime would allegedly increase if smoking were banned. (They varied in their ability to skirt the issue the congressmembers were asking about).
In important clip included in the film was something I studied in the early 70s, i.e., that Marlboro had a more feminine, or no gender specific identity until about 1954. Then the marketing pros went to work, made it into a MAN'S cigarette, and the male consumption of the brand increased astromomically.
Indeed, I one criticism I have of the story is I wish the producer/director had covered the later female identity brands. "You've come a long way, baby," etc. Yeah, advertising WORKS or the companies wouldn't spend their megabillions on it.
And I didn't even recall the advertising, probably from most of the 1950s, in which various brands said they were "milder" or less annoying or cough-inducing than other brands.
Interesting, a clip or two showed a scene from what you might call "smoking porn." There are seductive scenes of gorgeous women smoking enticingly. That's all they're doing, and people are paying for these things!
The film was fairly "objective." For example, I had a certain degree of sympathy with a guy who'd had neighbors file suit against him for smoking in his garage. (One of the contemporary, related issues is whether "second hand smoke" is much of a threat. There are two sides of that issue too and, frankly, some of the anti-smoking fantatics use way too much hyperbole for my taste.)
I enjoyed the film, may recommend it to, say, teachers to their kids to think smoking is neat. But I have a feeling they could have done a little more with it. What's more, the trailer, part of the DVD, really did nothing to adequately describe the nature of the film.
See it, though, and laugh. Maybe expose yourself to the Waxman hearings of which you were unaware. Get a laugh or two, and think, maybe, about the "other sides" of the tobacco story(s). But don't anticipate an academy award for documentary."