One of the most repeated quotes in Hollywood history, a witticism sometimes falsely attributed to movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, goes like this: “If you want to send a message, call Western Union.” Whoever said it, be it Moss Hart or Humphrey Bogart, the idea behind the quote is that the cinema is no place for preachy sermons. Movies are here to entertain, the theory goes, not enlighten or educate. And yet, for decades, movies have been ignoring that famous advice, weaving serious themes and important social issues into their plots, along with the laughs, tears, thrills, and chills the audience actually paid for. An intriguing new YouTube video called “10 Famous Movies With Subtle Hidden Meanings,” part of a web series called Beyond The Frame, shows how movies can introduce such heavy themes so slyly that the audience may not even be aware of them.

Take 1989’s The Brave Little Toaster, for instance. On the surface, it’s just a kid-friendly adventure about articulate appliances, but the YouTube video makes a convincing case that the film is really a Christian allegory about characters experiencing “a crisis of faith when they’re left by their master.” RoboCop makes a pretty good stand-in for the Lamb Of God as well. Meanwhile, the Alien franchise is dripping with gooey, viscous subtext. The first film was about rape, the second about Vietnam. David Lynch’s surreal Eraserhead is a treatise on the “prison” of parenthood. “You want to leave,” says the narrator, “but you just can’t.” The socioeconomic ramifications of The Wizard Of Oz are discussed here, too, and no video of this type would be complete with a discussion of the textual labyrinth that is The Shining.

[via Laughing Squid]