Date: Thu, 28 Jul 1994 12:36:20 CDT
From: Mike Picone MPICONE[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UA1VM.BITNET
Subject: Forrest Gump
Things have been pretty slow here on ADS-L lately. I reckon most people
are away, but for those stay-at-homes whose summer activities have
included a viewing of the new movie version of Forrest Gump, I have a
I'm curious about something. Do the children who were used in the filming
(and seem to me to be among
the few whites in the film who have authentic Southern speech traits)
sound to you like children from the Carolinas (where I believe the filming
was done). They do not sound like any rural Alabamians that I am familiar
with, though the story is supposed to take place in Alabama. Of course some
of them have so few lines that it's hard to tell. Also, whoever coached Tom
Hanks seemed to be using a composite speech model that included the dropping
of post-vocalic /r/ in a way that is upper-crust and is not characteristic
of rural Alabama. And his vowel qualities usually strayed from what one
would expect to hear coming from an Alabamian. Since he's supposed to be
`slow', some of this, I suppose, may be an attempt at creating an idiolect,
but it seems more likely to me that, once more, it is that Yankee audience
that is in mind and must be served up something that resembles their
stereotyped perceptions of Southern speech.
By the way, one of the reasons why the movie was not done in Alabama has
to do with the University of Alabama's refusal of requests for filming on
location at this campus. Aspects of the script was deemed demeaning. For
example, students (other than Gump) were shown to be hostile to attempts
at integration during Wallace's famous "stand at the schoolhouse door"
scene. In fact, majority student opinion at the time favored integration.
(However, this represented a change in opinion from some years earlier
when the first, much less well-known attempt at integration took place
and failed partly because of the near-riotous conditions that prevailed
on campus.) No administrator has said so, but I suspect just as strong a
reason was the less-than-flattering portrayal, however fleeting, of Bear
I will not bore you with my own opinion of the film except to say that I
liked it and that it surely has more to say and much more worth than one would
wrongly be led to believe, as I was, after reading Jerry Adler's superficial
piece on it in the latest Newsweek (Adler even got some important elements of
the storyline confused).
University of Alabama
are away. But for those whose summer activities have included
a viewing of the new movie version of Forrest Gump, here's a query.