Cal. Litig. 2014, Volume 27, Number 1

McDermott On Demand: Ozymandias?

By Thomas J. McDermott, Jr.

Thomas J. McDermott, Jr.

With the upcoming anniversaries of the beginning of World War I (100 years – 2014) and the end of World War 11 (70 years – 2015), there has been much writing about the "special" relationship of the United States to England, the closeness, if you will. It served to remind me that while I was in grade school, each morning we sang "God Save the King." That’s right, the English national anthem. We pledged allegiance to the American flag, then sang "God Save the King," albeit with our American words that started, "My country, ’tis of thee…." In my own lifetime, at least at the beginning of it, we were still that close to England and, I believe, the English system of Justice.

Turner Classic Movies is the savior of the geriatric set because it reminds us that people in movies once were actually good-looking, enjoyed smoking and drinking a lot, had talent, seldom swore, and generally ended up being not murdered. In other words, they were more or less real. TCM put on The Talk of the Town recently, an Academy Award nominee, starring Cary Grant, Ronald Colman, and Jean Arthur. Mr. Grant and Mr. Colman competed for Miss Arthur, a more-than-worthy reward, by arguing the pluses, the minuses, and the vagaries of the English-American legal system. That’s a somewhat oversimplification, of course, but it captures the spirit of the movie’s debate: the written academic side of the law as against the person-oriented reality side of the law.

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