The Statue of Liberty: Lady Liberty in movies and in comics

The Statue of Liberty: Lady Liberty in movies and in comics

The Statue of Liberty

On 19 June 1885 the Statue of Liberty was completed. For decades it has caught New York people seeking revenge in the New World, towering over the skyline of the metropolis, iron and titanic lady of the New York harbor. The Statue of Liberty is one of the most beloved symbols of the Big Apple, an icon that is now automatically associated with the American metropolis thanks to its presence in numerous films and other works, which have cemented this close relationship between Lady Liberty, as she is affectionately called , and New Yorkers.

And it couldn't be otherwise, as this giant lady safely dominates Manhattan Bay from her Liberty Island marble pedestal. And it could not be otherwise, considering that we are talking about a statue that, including the base, touches 93 meters, but above all a monument that celebrates the American spirit in its best sense, that sense of freedom and equality that should have been the soul of a new nation that took its first steps back in 1776 and that, a century after its birth, was celebrated with this gigantic metal figure. Inspiring principles that still seem to escape American society, as evidenced by recent facts and accusations of films like Detroit or Da 5 Bloods, but which are immortalized within the myth of the Statue of Liberty. And what better occasion than the anniversary of its completion to see how much this titanic has also given to pop culture?

The French who became New Yorker

If you want to be formal with Lady Liberty, call her with the his real name: The Freedom that illuminates the world. And possibly, show off your French with a nice La Liberté éclairant le monde, since this titanic beauty, despite living in New York, has French origins.

Origins due to old friendships between the States and France, which culminated in 1865 in an exclamation of the French intellectual Edouard Laboulaye, who as a liberal supporter of the Union in the conflict of the American Civil War he supported, during a conversion , that

"If a monument in memory of its independence were to rise in the United States, I think it would be natural to give it life with a common commitment, a work shared between our two nations: France and America" ​​

So much so that in the end Bartholdi's project came to life, thanks to the involvement of two excellent French technical minds, the architect Eugène Viollet-le Duc and the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose great intuitions made it possible to realize this titanic undertaking, and then led to the birth of another famous wonder of the modern world, the tower of the same name overlooking Paris.

The construction was long and represented a real challenge but the time, but not least was the transport, since Lady Liberty was built in France and transported by ship, divided into sections, in New York, to be then reassembled on the islet of Bedloe's Island starting from August 1884, being completed in June 1885. From the beginning the bond between the Statue and the New Yorkers was strong, so much so that for the base , due to lack of funds, a public collection was started, which was completed in a few days and which led to the creation of the famous base.

The role of the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of hope and reason, testified by the holding torch, is emphasized by the poem The New Colossus, composed by the poet Emma Lazarus, which was intended to be a hymn to the reception of refugees who arrived at the port of New York, after the author had visited the quarantine areas to which they were destined for the passengers who passed under the watchful gaze of Lady Liberty

«Hold on, o ancient lands, your vain pomp - cries she [the statue] with her silent lips - Give me your weary ones, your poor ones, your chilled masses eager to breathe free, the miserable waste of your crowded shores. Send them to me, the homeless, storm-shaken and I will raise my torch by the golden door. »

Lady Liberty at the cinema

The role of the Statue of Liberty, both as a characteristic element of New Yok which, as the embodiment of an ideal, is such that I often return to cinema. There are several films and series that have seen the Statue of Liberty become the protagonist of memorable and immortal scenes, in which the fundamental features of this statue have been transformed into essential elements of great stories.

It would be enough to think about how in the first film of the X-Men film saga (2000), the Statue of Liberty becomes for Magneto the perfect tool to impose a forced mutation on the greats of the planet gathered on Ellis Island, building an instrument inside the torch of the Statue of Liberty for that very purpose. In this film, Lady Liberty becomes the scene of a clash between the wards of Xavier and the mutants led by the lord of magnetism, with scuffles and battles, including a memorable fistfight between Wolverine and Sabretooth on none other than the crown of the statue!

Duel, the one between Wolverine and Sabretooth, which takes place a handful of years after the one that saw Stallone's Dredd protagonist of a fratricidal brawl with Rico, in Dredd - The Law is me. In the future Mega City where the Judges keep the law, the Statue of Liberty has been incorporated into the gigantic skyscrapers of this sprawling post-nuclear megalopolis.

But with all due respect to X-Men and Dredd - The Law is me, it's up to The Saboteurs, film by the master Alfred Hitchock dated 1942, to give the Statue of Liberty one of its first prominent roles with a intense mother scene when the pathos of the film reaches its climax in a tense and breathtaking battle over Lady Liberty's torch.

The ending of Planet of the Apes (1968) is unmistakable. the Statue of Liberty plays a crucial role. After wandering and looking for meaning in this world populated by super-intelligent primates and men who have regressed to a tribal state, astronaut George Taylor (Charlton Heston) realizes that he has ended up on Earth future and not on an alien planet when he sees, on a beach , the remains of the upper part of the Statue of Liberty, letting oneself go to one of the most beloved and famous verses of science fiction cinema.

Scene, that of The Planet of the Apes, which was parodied from Balle Spaziali, where the greedy President Scrocco (Mel Brooks) uses a super vacuum cleaner in the shape of a Statue of Liberty to steal the air of the planet Druidia. To the destruction of the gigantic contraption, a portion that resembles the famous ruin encountered by George Taylor in the finale of Franklin Schaffner's film.

But the first film in which a Statue of Liberty appears in ambiance is not the aforementioned Planet of the Monkeys, but Felix Feist's Deluge, dated 1933, in which the iron lady is overwhelmed by gigantic waves in the most intense scenes of what is considered the forefather of disaster movies à la Meteor or The Day after Tomorrow. And catastrophic films reserve bad fates for the statue of liberty, as happens in Deep Impact and in the aforementioned The day after Tomorrow, while on other occasions, such as I.A. by Spielberg, the Statue of Liberty is limited to being submerged, leaving only the familiar torch to emerge.

The very close relationship between the Statue of Liberty and New Yorkers, on the other hand, is best enhanced in Ghostbuster II (1984), where the team of ghost hunters led by Bill Murray decides to transform the Statue of Liberty into a living symbol of the typical New York positivity, marching the colossal statue through the streets of the Big Apple in one of the funniest and most New York scenes in the history of cinema.

In 1987, at the cinema it's up to Superman to save the Statue of Liberty, when in Superman V, the Nuclear Man (played by Mark Pillow) wants to turn the monument into a weapon and hurl it at the center of the metropolis. The Man of Steel, with the face of the late Christopher Reeve, foils the plan and gently brings Lady Liberty back to her island.

Without forgetting the famous 1997 poster: Escape from New York, in which Jena Plinkssen behind it has the ruined head of the Statue of Liberty. A destruction, that of the famous statue, which is actually experienced in Cloverfield, where we again see the head of Lady Liberty in ruins in the streets of the Big Apple and her mutilated body in the movie poster.

But fortunately, al cinema also respects the historical aspect of the Statue of Liberty, a function initially seen in The Godfather, where both in the first part (1972) and in the second part (1976), the Statue of Liberty has a role of historical contextualization, even if in the second film, being used in the scenes of Vito Corleone's arrival in America in 1901, the coloring of the Statue could not already be so turned to aqua green, having not been exposed for sufficient time to oxidation and bad weather, and should have shown still its original bronze coloring.

Less direct but still important use of the Statue of Liberty is made in The Mystery of the Lost Pages. The adventurers led by Benjamin Gates, in fact, find themselves having to look for a clue of their treasure hunt in the first model of the Statue of Liberty, a reduced version 11 meters high and positioned today in Paris, near the Grenelle bridge, where the small Lady Liberty was positioned in the late 1800s, with her gaze pointing to her overseas sister.

Speaking of history, it is worth mentioning two dystopian television series that rewrote the myth of the Statue of Liberty. .

In Fringe, the parallel universe often visited by the protagonists sees the Statue of Liberty, completely built in hours, used as the control center of the Liberty Island prison. A more radical and effective change is that seen in The Man in the High Castle, inspired by the novel The Swastika on the Sun by Philip K. Dick, where the victory of Nazi Germany in the Second World War is hypothesized, with the consequent annexation of the eastern belt of the States al Reich, celebrated with a decisive modification to the Statue of Liberty: instead of holding the torch of reason, Lady Liberty makes the Nazi salute!

Comics and Lady Liberty

Not even the comics remained immune to the charm of the Statue of Liberty. Especially in the science fiction sector, various works from the world of talking clouds have seen in Lady Liberty a characteristic element to convey the sense of being in a remote but still familiar way, relying on the feeling of familiarity typical of the popular statue.

It is Lady Liberty, for example, who welcomes the chrononaut Valerian to New York in the first volume of the famous saga of the French time traveler, The city of shifting waters. A decidedly short welcome, given that the Statue of Liberty is destroyed in a few moments by a giant wave!

Jack Kirby decides to use the Statue of Liberty also as a starting point for the adventure of his Kamandi, hero created for DC Comics for a post apocalyptic comic, Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth.

And if in Dredd's film we saw that the Statue of Liberty made an appearance, even in the original comic dimension of the granite judge our iron lady makes her appearance, not as the protagonist, but being flanked by a statue that celebrates the figure of the Judges: the Statue of Judgment! >

Those cited are just some examples of appearances of the Statue of Liberty in the world of comics, a tribute to the importance and role that this symbol of the Big Apple has taken on in the world imagination.

If you too have a soft spot for the beautiful Lady Liber ty, we recommend the LEGO ARCHITECTURE Statue of Liberty set

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