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

Seminal Image #145

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The World's Greatest Sinner
(Timothy Carey; 1963)

8 comments :

swac said...

Tom, do you have a copy of this? I've been dying to see it...

Tom Sutpen said...

I did up until a few years ago (long story), but since I'm planning on writing a piece on the thing I ordered an ootleg-bay of it earlier this morning.

One of the purest expressions of madness (in the best sense of that term) in all cinema. No doubt.

swac said...

I first encountered Carey when I first saw Head, and have been fascinated ever since (although his Head appearance makes a lot more sense now that I know more about him).

"Don't ever...NEVER...make fun of no cripples!"

Tom Sutpen said...

I first saw Carey during his Kubrick tour of duty in "The Killing" and "Paths of Glory". I didn't see "Head" until the late 80s . . . that's an unbelieveable film . . . but I noticed Carey managed to come off as more menacing in his scenes than Sonny Liston did in his.

I don't think Carey was capable of giving a performance untouched by his own insanity, though, so it's not a surprise.

swac said...

I always thought Nicholas Cage could get back in my good books by starring in The Timothy Carey Story. Well, a fella can dream, can't he?

Sam said...

I just saw Head online a couple of days ago. I didn't know who Carey was until I saw the cripple line. I actually have used that quote from time to time, in a humorous context, of course.

By the way, the site I saw it on was a public domain site that streams classic films, shorts and more. I never knew Head was p.d.. It's http://www.Americafree.tv . I've been hooked on their comedy shorts channel for days now. Give it a look.

swac said...

Hmmm...Head was a Columbia/Screen Gems production, licensed to Rhino for its current home video release (the original one was RCA/Columbia, which I have on laserdisc), so I'd venture to say that it's definitely not in the public domain. That website might want to be VERY careful...even if the film was PD, the music in it most assuredly wouldn't be, which could still make things sticky.

That Guy said...

When the cleancut young Frank Zappa appeared on the Steve Allen Tonight show to play music on a bicycle, he wedged a monologue/discussion of his score into the air time. The contemporary commposer refused to shut up.