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

Sex Education #20


Marlene Dietrich, 1930

Got a light?

4 comments :

Tom Sutpen said...

Damn you, Cooke!!

I have this image. Only I was saving it for a later entry in this very series. Grrrrrrrr.

Dietrich may have been the only woman in history who was every bit as sexy wearing men's clothes as women's. I mean, the word 'androgynous' doesn't enter my mind when I see her in something like this; her femininity (if that's the right word for it) simply transcends everything.

swac said...

Nyah-ha-ha! (I've been watching Beany and Cecil lately...)

Oh well, great minds and fools and all that.

I remember seeing Morocco for the first time at a local rep house in 16mm, and feeling this incredible erotic charge from the What Am I Bid For These Apples? number. When Marlene kisses that woman on the lips...well, that was probably my first clue that there was a lot more going on in early talkies than I was previously aware of (I was probably 18 or 19 at the time).

That closing shot of her running into the desert after Gary Cooper and the sound of the wind howling over an otherwise silent Paramount logo haunts me still...

Tom Sutpen said...

Stephen wrote:

Nyah-ha-ha! (I've been watching Beany and Cecil lately...)

*****
Oh, great. Now I got more Pop Culture remembrances of chilehood flooding in in one big Proustian rush. Thanksa bunch, Stephen!

I remember seeing Morocco for the first time at a local rep house in 16mm, and feeling this incredible erotic charge from the What Am I Bid For These Apples? number. When Marlene kisses that woman on the lips...well, that was probably my first clue that there was a lot more going on in early talkies than I was previously aware of (I was probably 18 or 19 at the time).*****
Well, I'd seen the original "Maedchen in Uniform" when I was about 16, long before I saw that kiss (and got the same charge you did. No growing boy is immune from Dietrich's allure) in "Morocco". So I knew there could be this other dimension to earlier films. I just didn't know how much of it there was until I got to see a large number of Pre-Codes ("Morocco" included) in my early 20s.

Rob said...

I'm continually impressed with Dietrich's chameleon properties, but I think she may have looked sexier in men's clothing! Jeez, that's a wrenching thought. I think she required careful lighting and a kind of static prescence to look good to me in a dress - she was much more eyepopping in this shot. Maybe 'cause she was so good at projecting a kind of sexual subversion. See, I'm subverted so easily.

BCNU