The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The Art of Cinema #14

(Clarence Badger; 1927)

(many, many thanks to Stephen Cooke for this image)


swac said...

The picture comes from a Paramount release book from 1927, heralding the announcement of upcoming titles that theatres can book, and it's filled with wonderful colour artwork for films like Wings, The Wedding March, Old Ironside, "new Harold Lloyd comedy" (shades of Woody Allen), and Metropolis. A friend of mine found it in somebody's attic and passed it along to me. Some of these films were obviously still in production; an ad for Glorifying the American Girl makes no mention of the fact that it would be a sound picture, perhaps it wasn't at that point (in fact, there is no mention made of the approach of sound pictures....this is just before The Jazz Singer hit theatres).

The most remarkable thing in the book, however, is a mention of an upcoming production of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, which is amazing to contemplate. Ostensibly a C.B. Demille production, it never got past the preproduction stage, but one wonders how far Paramount actually got. Anybody want to hit the archives in California and find out?

Here's what the guide promises for WotW: "Mighty dramatic spectacle that depicts the clash of planet against planet, deeds of courage and terror beyond the wildest imagination and photographic effects that will astound audiences. With a golden romance of youth and love (?) by one of the great masters of literature. Maybe that last sentence says it all.

Tom Sutpen said...

DeMille doing "War of the Worlds" is utterly mind-boggling (I wonder if this production was in partial response to "Matropolis), and I can only assume he didn't go through with it because it was around the time he quite Paramount to fly solo for a few years . . . before landing at MGM.

Wait . . . this is worthwhile info for the main blog page. What in hell are you doing posting it as a comment??

Stephen, you're co-blogger now.

Exercise your franchise, dude.

Ivan G. said...

If DeMille was planning to film War of the Worlds, I'll bet dollars to donuts that at least one of the aliens would have had a Roman orgy fantasy.

swac said...

Heck, you want to see what a C.B. DeMille alien orgy might look like, go find a copy of his semi-musical Madam Satan. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.