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 #177


Winchester '73
(Anthony Mann; 1950)

4 comments :

Rob said...

This was the movie that changed my view of James Stewart forever - when Lin beats the shit outta Waco Johnny Dean, he almost looked psychopathic, something I was unaware Stewart could manage. I prefer his Hollywood Westerns, and Gregory Peck's, above almost all others. Plus, this one had Duryea and the great Millard Mitchell, possibly the best supporting actor ever.

BCNU

Tom Sutpen said...

Anthony Mann was certainly the first director to see dimensions in Stewart that no other had seen before. Certainly Frank Capra never hinted at the psychosis he could project (it might have pushed Stewart's performance in Mr Smith Goes to Washington into the Phenomenal rather than the merely memorable).

But every time I see Vertigo I'm absolutely stunned by his rage in the final sequence. Mann got the paychosis, all right, but Hitchcock tapped into a reservoir of anger I doubt he could have ever repeated

Rob said...

Nice observation regarding Hitch. He could get amazing performances out of anyone. Stewart had more range than just about any other actor I've seen, and nobody had such a varied career, except Fonda. I'm not a big fan of his "earnest boy" period, but as he got older he became much more interesting.

BCNU

Brent McKee said...

I think the standard argument about the change in Stewart is that after the war he couldn't play the sort of earnest boy roles that he had played before the war. He was too old and had seen too much to go back to that sort of part. In a lot of cases - Ronald Reagan was arguably one - going to war was a bad career move, but in Stewart's case he started getting more interesting parts. Certainly he began working with Hitchcock and others in this period, and wouldn't be going back to roles like Pot Of Gold.