I caught a bit of Witness on the telly today, the 1985 thriller starring Harrison Ford as an undercover cop in an Amish community. I had to watch this movie at high school and there are really only two things I remember about it.
The first is that our zany and overly enthusiastic English teacher would stop it every five seconds, beseeching us to ‘just look at that camera angle!’ and ‘marvel at the way the cinematographer has captured the intensity of the moment with just a few quick shot changes.’ It made for incredibly frustrating and uneven viewing, but it was also a great source of amusement for myself and my friends. ‘Just show us that scene one more time will you sir? I’d love to have another look at that close up.’
The second thing I remember is the scene in the barn – the only part I liked when I was made to watch it at school. Harrison Ford and the Amish woman he’s slowly forming a friendship with dance to ‘Wonderful World’ as it’s playing on the car stereo. In my teenage opinion it was the only lively part of the whole movie, and for the two or three weeks that we studied it, my friends and I adopted ‘Wonderful World’ as our new favourite song.
And after seeing most of the film today, I also reckon we must’ve been shown some PG-rated version – I certainly don’t remember Mr. Ford using the f word or the big steamy kiss that went for at least two minutes. How did I not, in my hormonal teenage everything-is-romantic state not remember the big passionate kissing scene? I think there may have been a bit of editing going on just quietly. Either that or we were so captivated by the camera angles that we were rendered deaf, blind and completely unaffected by graphic pashing scenes. Nice work, sir!