In 1972, The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment met in Stockholm that June to develop a documented ideology that "considered the need for a common outlook and for common principles to inspire and guide the peoples of the world in the preservation and enhancement of the human environment". This declaration was a valiant attempt at offering ideas for balance between the human need to explore, invent, and prosper as well as letting our natural environment thrive. It goes without saying that now, more than forty years later, balance is a laughable if not depressing concept. If the Native American with a tear wasn't enough, a fringe film would attempt to terrify audiences into reverence for nature.
The frogs are literally everywhere as the camera overwhelmingly cuts to close ups and group shots of very large bullfrogs, a nuisance that the family desperately wants eradicated. The typically stubborn,white, elder patriarch Grandpa Jason Crockett (Ray Milland) even at once states that his money nor technology can't get rid of them. The land that the family has inhabited is theirs. The film cleverly shows us many cuts of different kinds of wildlife, most inherently dangerous (snakes and reptiles) to give us the overwhelming feeling that this movie is about the unwanted encroachment on their habitat. There is more of them than there are of the humans they've surrounded.
|Granpa Crockett (left) & Smith (right)|
In one scene, Bella pours herself a drink and approaches the maid, Maybelle (Mae Mercer) in the dining room insisting she have a drink with her. At first hesitant, Maybelle takes the drink and the women exchange smiles. Bella confesses that her real, full name is Maybelle as well, furthering an engaging exchange. Concluding, Maybelle let's her know and she's willing to offer coffee and conversation anytime she needs. The tone in which Maybelle expresses that she'll take her up on the offer is a wink and nod to Black spectators understanding of a desire for community and kinship amongst those who receive the burden of white supremacy on a daily basis. "Coffee and conversation" is a way of 'talking back,' exercising frustration in a manner that under their circumstances, is socially acceptable.
Whether the Crockett's see it that way or not, Bella's actions dictate a self awareness of her Black womanhood that is not a part of the white Crockett's legacy of wealth and ideological privilege and imposition.
Frogs may seem preachy to the trained eye, but it's a shift from camp and silly looking 70s special effect offers a slightly unpredictable, slightly serious fare that relies much on suspense and your fear of some of earth'screatures... that can kill and eat you.
You can watch Frogs on Netflix Instant Watch now!